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Professor in Sport and/or Exercise Science

Heriot-Watt University

Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and leading-edge, relevant research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for innovation, business and industry.  

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages. Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort. 

About our Team 

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) is one of the UK’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity.  We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges. 

The School enjoys facilities consistent with its location in modern, purpose-built accommodation on the Edinburgh campus. The School is well equipped in respect of laboratories for materials, structures, engineering, building services and hydraulics research and teaching.  Our research and teaching facilities in Dubai and Malaysia are contained within purpose-built campuses in Dubai Academic City and Putrajaya, respectively.  

Research within the School is organised into six Institutes: 

  • Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES)
  • The Urban Institute (TUI)
  • Institute of Geoenergy Engineering (IGE)
  • Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE)
  • Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design (CESBD)
  • Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE)

These Institutes support a wide range of research activities of relevance to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society. Institute staff undertake research funded by research councils, charitable foundations, local and national government. Research outcomes are published in leading international and national journals and key findings are widely disseminated through other media and forms of output. Staff in the School are embedded with HWU Global Research Institutes ( e.g., the Lyell Centre Global Research Institute as well as the soon to be formed Net-Zero Global Research Institute).

Institute of Life & Earth Sciences 

The Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES) undertakes multidisciplinary research in the areas of Biology, Geography, Environmental Science, Life Sciences and Sports and Exercise Science. Staff are based both in Edinburgh and at the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) in the Orkney Isles.

Further information can be obtained at -  

About the Role 

Heriot Watt University has expanded its portfolio into sport education and has recently re-introduced a BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science at its Edinburgh Campus which commenced in September 2022. In collaboration with Oriam, Scotland’s National Performance Centre, the launch of the new BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science is an exciting opportunity to develop an outstanding, modern and inclusive programme of teaching and research in Sport and Exercise Science.  As a result, we are seeking to appoint a Professor in Sport and/or Exercise Science, with the vision and leadership credentials to direct growing Sport and Exercise discipline across the university including internationally.  The appointment will be made within the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences of the School of EGIS.  The post holder will be expected to have and to build a further strong international reputation and to develop emerging areas of excellence to address key challenges in Sport and Exercise Science.  We are particularly interested in applicants who have demonstrable expertise in Cell and Molecular Exercise Physiology.

The position will be based within the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES) in the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) at Heriot-Watt University. The successful appointee will be responsible to lead and manage SES, building on the current excellent research work and strategy in place. The appointee will lead SES’ contributions towards delivery of the School’s research strategy and delivery of the University ambitious overarching research goals. 

The successful candidate will develop an independent research portfolio whilst working with colleagues in ILES, as well as other areas of the School and University. The successful applicant will have an internationally recognised profile in their own area of expertise, with the capacity to expand and enhance our School’s research base. The successful candidate will be expected to have a clear strategy for their own research, and be able to demonstrate how this can contribute to the wider ambitions of the Institute, the School, and Heriot-Watt’s Strategy 2025. We particularly welcome applications from candidates who have experience of working in interdisciplinary teams and projects.

The successful candidate will be required to contribute to our teaching programmes.  While the overall strategy and shape of the Sport and Exercise Science Team is developing, the main aims are to firstly develop industry-changing Sport and Exercise Science graduates through high quality teaching that includes utilising technology to deliver from the laboratory to the field, embedding Open Scholarship and ensuring integrate approaches throughout Undergraduate and Postgraduate provision.  Where possible we wish to use problem-based learning techniques, based on societal or industrial challenges, to teach core science. We particularly welcome applications from candidates who can make a positive contribution to these activities.

Key Duties & Responsibilities  

You will be required to make a significant contribution to the design and delivery of the new BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science. Enthusiastic about student-centred pedagogy, you will contribute to the educational delivery, as well as a significant contribution to professional engagement with relevant internal and external organisations, at a regional, national and international level. You will be expected to contribute to the research profile of the School and to meet the qualitative and quantitative requirements for submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Specifically, you will be required, but not limited to:

  • Provide leadership in the planning, organisation and development of learning and teaching activities on a School or subject basis and lead the development and clarification of academic standards for the subject area. Develop the quality assurance framework within the School’s overall framework and encourage the development of innovative approaches to course delivery and ensure that teaching delivery achieves the educational standards. Develop and implement initiatives contributing to and deriving from the University’s wider learning and teaching strategies. Determine academic standards within own areas of responsibility.
  • Establish a portfolio of research and other scholarly activities, independently attract external resources for the purpose, publish original research and scholarship in the international literature, and develop a leading international reputation in research and scholarship. Show a commitment to collaborative research. Lead a research group, including supervision of tutors and postgraduate students. Lead research in learning and teaching methodologies and disseminate best practise within and outwith the University. Make presentations or exhibitions at international conferences demonstrating evidence of esteem. Lead collaborative partnerships with other bodies, and lead bids for consultancy additional funds, which may involve complex negotiations. Advise external bodies. 
  • Chair and participate on internal committees and contribute to University decision making and governance. Independently devise and implement major strategic initiatives leading to substantial and long-term business benefits to the University. Take a lead role in senior external groups, such as editorial boards and committees in learned societies. Lead and develop on internal and external networks to foster collaboration and share information on the subject. Promote the work of the School in the subject area both nationally and internationally.
  • Exercise academic leadership for all subject area teaching and scholarly activities. Act as line manager for staff recruitment and allocation of resources according to skills and capacity. Appraise and advise staff on personal and career development plans. Expected to be involved in the recruitment and induction of new team members, coaching and mentoring to enhance performance and sharing own knowledge and experience.
  • Responsibility for initial resolution of student issues within and outwith standard procedures. Take responsibility for the overall welfare of staff drawing upon advice and support as required.

Please note this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve. You will be measured against the essential criteria, not by the key duties and responsibilities.

Education, qualification and experience

Essential criteria

  • PhD in the wider field of Sport and/or Exercise Physiology, with demonstrable expertise in the discipline at professorial level
  • Clear demonstration of leadership in their research area managing and coordinating substantial research teams
  • A clear personal research focus, and proven experience of attracting substantial external research funding and leading a research team in relevant area(s) of Sport and Exercise Science; 
  • Experience and track-record in authoring high-quality publications in international journals and presenting at conferences; 
  • Experience and track record in the delivery of high-quality teaching, in a higher education environment; 
  • Track record in working in close collaboration with other disciplines;  
  • Emotional intelligence, with a positive collegiate attitude and demonstratable interpersonal skills; 
  • Track record of motivating colleagues, and encouraging innovation and resilience in teams;
  • Proven interpersonal and communication skills. 

Desirable criteria

  • Demonstrable expertise in molecular biology research techniques applied to Sport and Exercise Science and ability to lead research and teaching activities based on this expertise
  • Membership of appropriate societies and/or British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences accreditation; 
  • Ability to draw on industrial and professional networks to develop and enhance the teaching portfolio;
  • Ability to operate at cross-disciplinary boundaries;
  • Proactively involved with professional bodies and/or other external, relevant networks;
  • Experience in, or enthusiasm for, teaching innovation and adopting novel pedagogical approaches, for example in the context of online and blended learning.

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on date 4th of December 2023.

Include the specific agreed submission format for the role, an example: Please must submit via the Heriot-Watt on-line recruitment system (1) Cover letter describing their interest and suitability for the post; (2) Full CV that includes the list of publications (3) Research and teaching statements, showing their strengths in one or more of the research areas above.

For informal discussions about the position or the subject area, please contact Professor Muhammed Basheer, Executive Dean ( or Dr Mark Ross (

At Heriot Watt we are passionate about our values and look to them to connect our people globally and to help us collaborate and celebrate our success through working together. Our research programmes can deliver real world impact which is achieved through the diversity of our international community and the recognition of creative talent that connects our global team.

Our flourishing community will give you the freedom to challenge and to bring your enterprising mind and to help our partners with solutions that can be applied now and in the future. Join us and Heriot Watt will provide you with a platform to thrive and work in a way that also helps you live your life in balance with well-being and inclusiveness at the heart of our global community.

Heriot-Watt University values diversity across our University community and welcomes applications from all sectors of society, particularly from underrepresented groups. For more information, please see our website here and also our award-winning work in Disability Inclusive Science Careers . Heriot Watt have a number of family friendly policies, for more information please visit here We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options.

Use our total rewards calculator here to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £66,856 + (negotiable based on experience and skills)
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent
Placed On: 7th November 2023
Closes: 4th December 2023
Job Ref: 3342
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