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Department of Genetics


Opportunities for starting your research group in the Genetics Department

Our vacancies for academic staff ("faculty positions") are advertised widely when they arise. In addition, we can host a small number of externally funded PIs, mostly (although not exclusively) at junior level, offering a supportive and stimulating environment that supports you to develop your independence, and progress your career to its next stage. We welcome informal enquiries from potential PIs, either directly to the Head of Department, Prof Steve Russell, or via existing academic staff members in your area.

What do we look for?

Outstanding scientists with an exciting and innovative research vision of the calibre to be competitive for schemes such as a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF), Wellcome Trust early career awards, European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants, and Assistant Professorships across the world. Fellows are supported to win permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships.

The Department is committed to the Athena SWAN Charter to provide equal opportunities and to advance the representation of women and other under-represented groups in science. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender or ethnicity but, as women and individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are currently under-represented at this level, we strongly encourage applications from such candidates.

We look for colleagues who are a good match to Departmental interests, interactive, and for whom we feel that we can provide the best support for fellowship applications and progression to the next stage of their career. Our support involves a substantial commitment and is not just light-touch: a good fit between person, project and environment is a key element. Your track record is important too, since it provides evidence of potential and is essential for competitive external funding. As a signatory of DORA ( the Department is committed to assessing research on its own merits, and we assess you as an individual and your potential, not your metrics.

What can we offer?

  • Full Principal Investigator status, research space, in an interactive Department with many links to other biological, physical science and clinical departments.
  • Access to state-of-the art laboratory space and facilities, shared infrastructure including imaging, cell culture, Drosophila, media.
  • Support for well-being, including possibilities for part-time work (subject to funder agreement), Athena Swan Bronze award, and an active Equality, Diversity and Well-being committee. The Department fully embraces the University Research Culture Action Plan:
  • Administrative support for grant application/management, HR, purchasing, etc.
  • Access to graduate students as a principal supervisor; with co-supervision arrangements to allow recruitment of graduate students with projects lasting beyond fellowship tenure.
  • Mentoring and training in research group leadership and management.
  • Formal biennual progress reviews
  • Access to a network of junior PIs that provide peer-to peer mentoring and the exchange of early PI experiences across the School of Biological Sciences:
  • Towards the end of your fellowship, we aim to make the transition to the next stage as smooth as possible - many fellows manage this in Cambridge, some move to posts elsewhere.
  • Experience in teaching and academic administration, with a light-touch commitment well below that of permanent academic staff

Current fellows

  • - Michael Imbeault Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellow
  • - Hansong Ma Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellow (Based in the Gurdon Institute, who have a separate route for Fellow recruitment)

Past Fellows now in Assistant Professorships (formerly Lectureships) in the University - including some links to personal testimony

Please note that Assistant Professor positions are advertised openly with competitive recruitment, with no distinction between internal and external applicants.

Other recent fellows with subsequent posts

  • - Cristina Pina (2015-2019) Lecturer, Brunel University
  • - David Turner (2017-2019) Group Leader, University of Liverpool
  • - Chris Illingworth (2013-2018) Senior Lecturer, Centre for Virus Research, Glasgow
  • - Yuu Kimata (2011-2018) Assistant Professor, Shanghai Tech University

How to proceed?

If you like us enough to explore possibilities here, please try to approach us 6-12 months before any application deadlines, or before a prospective move if you already have funding to bring here. Approaching us any later may not leave enough time for us to assess your application, and for effective administrative and scientific support of your funding application(s).

Please inform yourself as far as you can on the main opportunities, eligibility, and deadlines from appropriate funders. These include Wellcome Trust, UKRI, individual Research Councils, Royal Society, the ERC, and other more specialist funders. We can also offer advice on the basis of our experience with different funders.

After initial scoping conversations with the Head of Department, you may then progress to a Departmental seminar, and individual conversations with several existing PIs and the Head of Department. The final decision on whether to support you to apply for external funding, and how the Department can contribute to this, is made by the Head of Department.


This information reflects Department policies at the time of writing. Detailed procedures may evolve according to University and School policies - but we always remain committed to support, mentoring and career development of our Fellows.