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Group Leader - Wine and Viticulture Research and Innovation


Based at East Malling in Kent, NIAB EMR is an internationally renowned plant science organisation conducting research on horticultural crops and their interactions with the environment, with particular emphasis on perennial and clonally propagated fruit crops. NIAB EMR is part of The NIAB Group, the UK’s fastest growing crop science organisation, with rapidly expanding research capabilities in plant genetics, agronomy, farming systems and data science, the largest national field trials capability, and strong research links with industry, Government and academia. Employing more than 400 people across the UK, NIAB provides scientific research, technical services and practical advice to improve the yield, efficiency and resilience of crop production across the arable, forage and horticulture sectors.


NIAB EMR has a permanent vacancy for a Group Leader post in the rapidly expanding UK viticulture and wine sector. As the leader of the Viticulture and Wine group at NIAB EMR, you will be responsible for guiding the direction of the science programme, leading the development and submission of new research proposals, overseeing the establishment of the new Wine Innovation Centre at NIAB EMR, and maintaining close links with industry through the East Malling Viticulture Consortium. The appointee will also collaborate with colleagues across the NIAB group to develop grant proposals and deliver the Growing Kent & Medway project which has recently been awarded £18m by the Strength in Placed Fund.

You will be able to demonstrate a proven track record of winning innovative research grants as a Group Leader, and a commitment to ensuring that the outputs from these research projects help to support the industry. You will have keen analytical skills and an interest in developing digital and AI-based solutions.   

You have a degree in plant-based sciences, or an equivalent qualification, and be comfortable presenting ideas, applied science, and practical outputs to a range of audiences.  Previous experience of working closely with industry partners to deliver science into practice is essential, as is a driving licence (or access to independent means of travelling) so that work at other sites including remote locations can be carried out.  The essential requirements for this role are:

  • A commercially astute, articulate, technically strong, dynamic, insightful and influential leader with the ability to operate at both strategic and operational levels.
  • Track record in the development and delivery of research and services.
  • High integrity and openness combined with commitment to science-based services and decision making.
  • Exceptional communication skills at all levels.
  • Ability to handle high levels of pressure and critical decision-making.
  • Energetic, highly motivated, with an enquiring mind and passion for excellence and innovation in pursuit of business growth and success.
  • Ideally 5+ years’ experience of developing and delivering research programmes and services and information based on scientific research in the viticulture and wine sectors.
  • PhD in relevant discipline.
  • Track record of publication and knowledge exchange in relevant journals and of public presentations at high-profile conferences/to relevant stakeholders.

Additional desirable experience and skills include the following:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the operation of funding bodies, and evidence of influencing the national and international science agenda.

The salary for this role is in the range of £37,727 up to £49,780 per annum, dependent on skills, experience and qualifications.

Further details and an application form are available at: or from the HR Office, NIAB EMR, New Road, East Malling, ME19 6BJ, Tel No. 01732 523791, Email:, quoting Ref No:  SV/A1258

Location: East Malling
Salary: £37,727 to £49,780 per annum, dependent on skills, experience and qualifications
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent
Placed On: 21st October 2020
Closes: 30th November 2020
Job Ref: SV/A1258
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