Head of School of Science

University of Derby


Job details


College of Science and Engineering

Responsible to

Deputy Dean (Science and Engineering)


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus


£64,000 to £80,000 per annum (For exceptional performers, there is scope for further progression up to £92,000 per annum)

Closing date

Sunday 24 September 2023

Contract type


Post type




About the role

Located in the heart of England, the University of Derby is the only university in Derby and Derbyshire, and offers industry-relevant, expert teaching, from foundation and undergraduate degrees to postgraduate study and research. A Top 50 UK University (Guardian University Guide 2023), the University of Derby boasts world-leading research that demonstrates real-world impact.

We have a long and proud heritage of using our knowledge and innovation to support the prosperity of the city and region. We welcome, support and challenge all our students to develop the blend of academic knowledge and practical skills they need to succeed in their chosen field. The University benefits from strong industry links, expert academics, and real-world classroom facilities to prepare, engage and support students and researchers across our institution both in the UK and overseas.

Evolving with the rich opportunities of this environment, the College of Science and Engineering is expanding in order both to enhance the integrity of its disciplinary clusters and ensure these accurately reflect the appositeness of its offer externally. The new Head of the School of Science will lead a newly formed School with marked strengths across the three core disciplines of Environmental Science, Biomedical Science, and Forensic Science, and join a vibrant new College Senior Management Team poised to deliver STEM solutions to pressing national and global challenges through education, research, and knowledge exchange.  

The successful candidate will be an engaging leader, strategically astute, with a track record of effective management, driving quality across education and research. They will demonstrate deep understanding of how the disciplinary bases of the School intersect with social and industrial requirements and market dynamics, and the ability to contextualise strategic aims to academic delivery, driving a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. They will recognise the particular opportunities of the School for external partnership and knowledge exchange, and work with others to foster an environment geared towards delivering real-world impact.

Critically, the Head of School will share in our determination to apply curiosity in order to develop usable knowledge that, through transfer, collaboration and exchange, will deliver solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges. Derby is an inclusive University that is passionate about social mobility and affording all our students the best possible opportunity to excel. The new Head of School will share in this core value, demonstrating deep commitment to enhancing practice to ensure that we offer all our students the opportunity to benefit from our vibrant academic community, and foster a positive team spirit and high staff engagement.

This role closes at midnight on 24th  September. Perrett Laver have been exclusively retained for this appointment. For more information or to apply, please visit www.perrettlaver.com/candidates  quoting reference 6737. Informal enquiries regarding this opportunity are welcome, and should be made to Eljoh Adrian Balajadia, Research Associate on [email protected]  or 020 7340 6287.

Principal accountabilities
Strategic Management

  • As part of the College’s Senior Management Team, ensure the success of the School and areas for which the post holder has direct responsibility, aligning with the overall strategic and operational goals of the College and University.
  • Translate strategy into tactical and operational delivery in a way that is contextualised and meaningful to the School’s academic disciplines.
  • Ensure effective management and deployment of resources (i.e., human, financial and physical).
  • Academic Leadership

  • Lead the School’s Senior Management Team, forging strong collaborative working practices within the School, College and across the University.
  • Ensure the School’s academic provision inspires and positively challenges students, is informed and led by vibrant and current research with innovative delivery models that meet the highest quality standards, including Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRB) accreditation(s).
  • Ensure that the School delivers outstanding learning, teaching and assessment practice, which reflect in student performance metrics and rankings such as Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), National Student Survey (NSS), and Graduate Outcomes, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) and Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES).
  • Lead the curriculum development for the School, identifying trends in student demand, anticipating emerging requirements and ensuring the promotion of employability, enterprise and inclusion across programmes.
  • Develop and foster academic research and scholarship within the School to inform and lead the curriculum, enhance the standing of the School’s discipline areas and deliver strong research outcomes that further advance Research Excellence Framework (REF) returns and align to the Institutional Academic Themes.
  • Ensure that good practice is shared across all colleagues and be open to innovation from inside and outside the School.
  • Embed the University’s core values with specific emphasis on academic quality, social opportunity and inclusion.
  • Ensure that necessary business and commercial development takes place for the School, and College, aligned to the University’s strategy.
  • Inspire a culture of innovation and knowledge exchange where the value of research is realised and the impact of thought leadership delivered.
  • Ensure that the work of the School has a demonstrable and measurable external impact in ways that support the College and University strategy regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • Undertake cross-College role(s) in leading activities required to support the achievement of strategic goals.
  • Management

  • Provide strong leadership creating positive team spirit and staff engagement resulting in a vibrant academic community.
  • Ensure that there is effective communication with staff across the School underpinned by appropriate enabling mechanisms.
  • Ensure effective management and planning of the School budget, seeking both income opportunities and operational efficiencies.
  • Agree School targets and objectives, using management information and active performance management.
  • Ensure that the School sets and achieves realistic student recruitment targets.
  • Manage and deploy resources effectively and within budget to achieve the planned targets.
  • Ensure the allocation of appropriate workloads within the School.
  • Operate effectively within a matrix-management environment in a manner that strengthens cooperation, collaboration and flexible responsiveness without recourse to bureaucratic central control.
  • General Duties

  • Deputise for the PVC Dean and/or the Deputy Dean as required.
  • Lead the College on cross-University business activity as agreed with the PVC Dean.
  • Contribute in a flexible and constructive manner to other responsibilities that may be assigned from time to time.
  • Undertake academic research, innovation and knowledge exchange within subject discipline.
  • Ensure the health and safety of staff within the School and a positive culture of equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Person specification
    Essential Criteria

    • Hold, or be close to completion (e.g. within 6 months), a PhD/Professional Doctorate or alternatively demonstrate equivalent standing in professional practice or expertise.
    • Higher Degree level qualification or its equivalent in a relevant academic discipline.
    • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
    • Relevant professional qualification/ membership of a professional body where appropriate for the School.


    • Significant management experience in an HE institution of a similar or larger size.
    • Demonstrable experience of creating, interpreting, and implementing business focused strategic plans.
    • Experience of using effective leadership and management competencies to create a high performing team.
    • Demonstrable teaching experience in HE and a good understanding of the HE sector and current challenges and opportunities.
    • Experience of external engagement, building effective networks and identifying strategic partnership opportunities.

    Skills, knowledge & abilities

    • Evidence of working effectively in matrix management structures enabling cross-function collaboration.
    • Evidence of sustained personal record of accomplishment in research, innovation, knowledge exchange and high-quality taught delivery.
    • Flexible and adaptable, willing to challenge and innovate.
    • Ability to drive innovation and improvement within a HE context.
    • Knowledge and utilisation of quality assurance and enhancement policies and procedures.
    • Able to work collaboratively with students and staff (academic, technical, and professional services) to ensure optimum student experience.
    • Self-confident and resilient with well-developed influencing and persuasion skills.
    • A commitment to live and promote the University core values.

    Business requirements

    • Evidence of Continuing Professional Development.
    • Occasional evening and weekend working.
    • Willingness and flexibility to travel and work between University sites and external sites in a cost effective and timely manner, including occasional overseas / overnight travel for School/College/University duties.

    Desirable Criteria

    • Experience of delivering successful bids through external funding.
    • Successful development of international collaborations, recruitment of international students and internationalisation of the curriculum.
    • Experience of successful inter-disciplinary developments.

    How to apply

    Perrett Laver have been exclusively retained for this appointment. For more information or to apply, please visit www.perrettlaver.com/candidates  quoting reference 6737.

    Informal enquiries regarding this opportunity are welcome, and should be made to Eljoh Adrian Balajadia, Research Associate on [email protected]  or 020 7340 6287.

    Important information

    Applications from job seekers who require sponsorship to work in the UK are welcome and will be considered alongside all other applications.

    Whilst this role is eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker Route, we recommend that you assess your individual eligibility before applying for this position.

    Visit https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa for more information.

    To be eligible for sponsorship you must provide evidence that you hold all essential qualifications listed on the job description. Please note, equivalent experience will not be accepted as evidence of the essential qualifications.

    DBS check

    If you are successful, you will be required to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. The post for which you are applying is exempt from Section 4(2) of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 requiring any spent convictions to be declared. Any information you provide will be treated in confidence and only used when considering your suitability for the post.

    To enable us to process your DBS check please ensure you are able to supply the documentation listed on the DBS website at interview stage.

    Equality, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing

    The University of Derby is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. However you identify, we actively celebrate the knowledge, experience and talents each person brings.

    A university that celebrates youA university that celebrates you

    Further details

    Download Head of School of Science job descriptionDownload Head of School of Science job description

    Why join Derby?

    Challenging, interesting and constantly changing, the University of Derby is an extraordinary place to learn and an incredibly rewarding place to work.

    Find out more about working at the UniversityFind out more about working at the University

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