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Assistant/Associate Professor in Sustainability (Brewing and Distilling)

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.

The School of Engineering & Physical Sciences has an international research reputation and close connection with the professional and industrial world of science, engineering, and technology. 

Job Summary

The successful applicant will be based in Edinburgh and the role will require you to collaborate with colleagues in EPS as well as other schools at the Edinburgh campus, and potentially our overseas campuses in Dubai and Malaysia. There will be administrative responsibilities associated with the role and the role holder will support the programme leader in the co-ordination and management of the delivery of the MSc in Advanced Sustainability for Brewing and Distilling. The candidate should therefore demonstrate that they can work in a team, and that they have good organisation and communication skills.

Detailed Description

Candidates should demonstrate that either they have the drive and ambition to become a leading international researcher within the field of sustainability and sustainable/biobased manufacture, or that they are already established in an area complementary to our existing iNetZ+ strengths. The vision of iNetZ+ is to address the climate emergency though accelerating collaboration, bringing together excellence from the whole spectrum of expertise (engineering, industry, manufacturing, policy, business) to address the multi-disciplinary and multi-stranded challenges faced at a local, national, and global level, in achieving our net zero ambitions. The successful applicant will be expected to develop an independent research portfolio that enables them to deliver novel, collaborative research and build a research team. This will require the development of a clear strategy for research plans which communicates how this aligns with the landscape of iNetZ+, EPS and Heriot Watt University as well as the broader national and international landscape. The successful applicant will be encouraged to deliver research-led teaching. For established independent researchers a proven ability to attract research funding and a good track record of publishing is required. For researchers looking for their first independent position an excellent research track record and definitive plans for future research and funding is required.

The role holder will be expected to lead and contribute to the delivery and assessment of undergraduate and postgraduate courses relevant to sustainability and brewing and distilling. Our teaching is underpinned by our vibrant research programme which forefronts the biochemical, microbiological, process engineering and sustainability aspects of brewing and distilling, especially cereals, including malting and fermentation. Our strong links with businesses, both large and small, provide graduates with industry exposure that complements their studies. Typical key teaching topics may include but are not limited to sustainable production practices from raw materials through to packaging and logistics, energy source and usage, and equipment as well as sustainability legislation, governance, and reporting as they apply to alcoholic beverages. There will be the opportunity to contribute to other relevant areas of teaching according to the expertise of the appointed individual as we further embed sustainability across all our programmes. The successful candidate will also be expected to supervise laboratory and desk-based student research projects at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The successful candidate will also be a personal tutor to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Candidates should therefore clearly describe what teaching experience they have, their teaching philosophy and how their expertise enables them to teach courses relevant to sustainability.

Key duties and responsibilities

The post holder is required to:


  • Contribute novel sustainability research within the newly-formed iNetZ+ Global Research Institute 
  • Actively pursuing research funding through the development and submission of high-quality grant proposals 
  • Engaging in research and actively contributing to the university’s research profile, including managing, supervising, and mentoring research-active staff where appropriate 
  • Delivering novel research that has demonstrable impact 
  • Developing collaborations within Heriot Watt University, and externally 
  • Publishing research and review articles in peer reviewed journals 
  • Representing the institution and disseminating research activities using different approaches (e.g. at conferences, delivery of outreach)  
  • Contributing to School, Institute and research group strategic planning where required, as well as carrying out general research administration 
  • Actively participate in, and be an advocate for, iNetZ+ 

Learning, Teaching and Scholarship 

  • Leading the design, preparation and delivery of teaching (e.g. lectures, tutorials, practical classes, fieldtrips) covering topics relevant to sustainability   
  • Inviting external experts to deliver teaching 
  • Ensuring students are engaged with the learning materials 
  • Providing leadership in the planning, organisation, development and growth of teaching activities relevant to sustainability  
  • Assessing courses (e.g. designing and marking coursework and exams) 
  • Carrying out course related administrative tasks (e.g. contributing to exam boards and participating in relevant committees) 
  • Being a personal tutor for undergraduate and postgraduate students 
  • Supervising lab and desk-based research project students 
  • Delivering research-led teaching 
  • Demonstrating innovation in teaching 
  • Enhancing and developing courses in response to student feedback  
  • Reviewing the content of courses and updating teaching materials when required 
  • Liaising with colleagues in Heriot Watt University and externally to support the delivery of the MSc in Advanced Sustainability for Brewing and Distilling and other programmes 
  • Contributing to decision making and finding solutions to problems 
  • Undertaking continuous professional development (CPD)  
  • Advancing teaching practice, theory and innovation via scholarship activities 

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of activities 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. 

Essential Criteria 

Applicants must have:

Learning Teaching and Scholarship 

  • A degree (PhD level or equivalent expertise) in a relevant discipline  
  • Willingness and capability to develop and deliver teaching for sustainability and brewing and distilling, as well as programmes relevant to the expertise of the role holder 
  • Excellent oral and written communication, team working and organisational skills 
  • Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues 
  • Willingness to demonstrate versatility and flexibility  

Research and Professional Experience  

The successful applicant should also demonstrate that they are 

  • Ambitious and realistic future research plans  
  • Have ambitions to establish/grow a strong research group 
  • Have a good track record of publishing research in peer reviewed journals 
  • Have experience of delivering novel, collaborative research  
  • Have the ability to establish and maintain internal and external collaborations 


Learning Teaching and Scholarship 

  • Experience of teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students 
  • Experience of demonstrating innovation in teaching  
  • Evidence of demonstrating leadership in teaching  
  • Previous supervision of research project students 
  • Delivery of web-based learning (e.g. virtual learning environments such as Canvas, and Blackboard) 

Research and Professional Experience 

The successful applicant should also demonstrate that they have: 

  • Experience of delivering multidisciplinary research, commensurate with level of experience  
  • A track record of securing research funding 
  • An international reputation in their research field  
  • Experience of supervision of PhD students and research associates’ work 
  • A willingness to be involved in collaborative research 

About our Team 

We are looking to recruit an assistant (G8) or associate (G9) professor to join the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) at the Edinburgh campus of Heriot Watt University. The successful applicant will contribute novel sustainability research within the newly-formed iNetZ+ Global Research Institute, as well as relevant teaching within the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD), contributing to the development, delivery and growth of the new MSc in Advanced Sustainability for Brewing and Distilling.  

EPS is a community of over 340 staff and around 3,000 students across three campuses in Scotland, Dubai, and Malaysia. The School is recognised as an international leader in education, research and the application of knowledge to benefit society globally. We are striving to establish ourselves as partners of choice for world leading institutions, consistently delivering an environmentally and financially sustainable growth by aligning to the opportunities and requirements of our modern times to address local and global needs. 

We provide world-class education to our students across six undergraduate programmes: Chemistry; Physics; Electrical, Electronic & Computer Engineering; Chemical & Process Engineering; Mechanical Engineering and Brewing & Distilling and have recently added Aerospace Engineering to our undergraduate programme portfolio. We also offer a range of postgraduate taught programmes. In the recent The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, our Chemical Engineering is the 6th in the UK (the 2nd in Scotland), Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering is the 7th in the UK (the 1st in Scotland) and General Engineering is the 9th in the UK (the 1st in Scotland). 

The University has undertaken a significant programme of investment to enhance student-facing services. These include the alteration and refurbishment of the James Watt Centre into a modern state of the art learning and teaching facility, the modernisation of the Student Services Centre and the development of a training room for Assistive Technology.  Recent investments have included a £6M refurbishment of the library, £19M to build and establish a Global Research, Innovation, and Discovery (GRID) building with a focus on innovative teaching for students in EPS and in Mathematics and Computer Science, and a recently opened the National Robotarium, a £22M research facility for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. 

Our research ranges from fundamental sciences through to engineering applications, all of which are supported by strong external funding.  We have over 210 full-time academic staff who drive this research activity and are based in 5 research institutes:  the Institute of Chemical Sciences, the Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences, the Institute of Mechanical, Process & Energy Engineering, the Institute of Sensors, Signals & Systems and the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics & Bioengineering. In REF2021, our Physics was top in the UK for world-leading research outputs. Our joint submission to Engineering with the University of Edinburgh was ranked 1st in Scotland and 3rd in the UK for quality and breadth of research (based upon the standard Research Power formula as used by the Times Higher Education).  

The successful applicant will join the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering (IB3), and will deliver novel research activities relevant to sustainability within IB3 and iNetZ+. Through iNetZ+, our Global Research Institute for Net Zero and beyond, HWU are pioneering ground-breaking solutions that will redefine environmental stewardship and propel us toward a carbon-neutral future; achieving net-zero carbon emissions and innovating for the future.  

Since 1989 the brewing and distilling interests of Heriot Watt University have been incorporated into the ICBD, which has received substantial financial support from the industry. The ICBD is based in IB3 within the School of EPS and supplies the industry with services, expertise, and facilities consistent with the standards required in local, national, and international markets. Through our broad curriculum we comprehensively cover the subject from raw materials and fermentation to chemical engineering, packaging, and business aspects.  

Heriot Watt University holds an Institutional Athena Swan Bronze Award, as does the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, recognising excellence in championing employment of women in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, staff engagement forums, campus facilities and services to support staff from different backgrounds. 

For all criteria, further details and how to apply: 

Heriot-Watt University is committed to securing equality of opportunity in employment and to the creation of an environment in which individuals are selected, trained, promoted, appraised and otherwise treated on the sole basis of their relevant merits and abilities.  Equality and diversity are all about maximising potential and creating a culture of inclusion for all.

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 and also our award-winning work in Disability Inclusive Science Careers

Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £45,585 to £64,914 (salary dependent on experience and qualifications)
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent
Placed On: 28th February 2024
Closes: 4th April 2024
Job Ref: 3640
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