Group Leaders – Generative and Synthetic Genomics

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Do you want to help us improve human health and understand life on Earth? Make your mark by shaping the future to enable or deliver life-changing science to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

About the Role:

We have an exciting opportunity for up to three Group Leaders to join our new Generative and Synthetic Genomics Programme.  Research in the programme aims to combine large-scale data generation and artificial intelligence to lay the foundations for predictive and programmable molecular biology and the routine synthesis and engineering of genomes. We are seeking to recruit faculty working on Generative Biology, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, and Synthetic Genomics.  Research in the programme is supported by very generous core funding and the Wellcome Sanger Institute provides unique opportunities to generate and analyse data at scale. You will support and mentor a growing team and be supported by the institute’s exceptional scientific, IT and management operations teams.

Role Responsibilities:

We are seeking scientists across any level of the Faculty model to join as a Core Faculty member leading a research team in Generative and Synthetic Genomics, and contributing to the Institute’s scientific portfolio. Positions carry a significant core package of salaries and support, which are backed by rewarding and flexible employment terms including excellent benefits and relocation support.


Group Leader 1-

GL1 Faculty positions are designed to be a researcher’s first or second group leader role and are the equivalent of a Lecturer at a UK University or Assistant Professor at a US University. You are focused on developing new and complementary areas of research within a Programme, and at this level, you will have already contributed to research in an independent, original, and significant way with a strong trajectory and developing publication record. You should have an understanding and have contributed to the development and delivery of a coherent Programme strategy, and will have built up networks of research contacts and be proficient in giving findings at conferences. Forward planning the work of your own group including how you will mentor and motivate your line reports is expected. These positions are six year posts.


Group Leader 2-

During the course of their tenure, these Faculty roles become the equivalent of an Associate Professor and are intended to provide opportunities to develop an internationally recognised research portfolio and will have a track record of scientific publication, evidence of external recognition and other outputs leading to scientific impact and advancement of your discipline nationally and/or internationally. You will be able to reflect on and influence the Programme strategy, contributing to its development and delivery, coherence and agility. You will be able to show effective management of a research team, including planning at a larger scale and higher level of complexity. This will include leading a team including providing support for the development, proactive mentoring and motivation of colleagues and line reports. These positions are for eight years with a promotional review during the sixth year.


Group Leader 3 –

GL3 Faculty positions are the equivalent of a Professor at a UK university or a Full Professor at a US University. These positions provide significant internal and external leadership, scientifically and are designed to oversee and develop Sanger’s long-term research strategy and play a central role in the development of the Institute’s five-year research plans. Our GL3 Faculty have an outstanding international research profile and reputation and are leaders of a major research field or group. You will have the opportunity to demonstrate strategic research leadership, making a significant contribution to the delivery, coherence and continuous development of the Programme to become a world-class research unit. You are used to collaborating with and contributing to peer review bodies/committees, professional organisations, learned societies, Government committees, etc and will be experienced in guiding a team including mentoring and motivation of colleagues and line reports with evidence of impact. These positions have a rolling tenure but have a review every six years.


About Us:

The Generative and Synthetic Genomics Programme combines genomics, biophysics, mechanistic modelling and artificial intelligence at scale to lay the foundations for predictive and programmable molecular biology and the routine synthesis and engineering of genomes. Creating a global hub for Generative and Synthetic Genomics

A key objective is to bring together computational labs developing and applying predictive and generative  models with experimental labs developing assays and generating data at scale. Indeed, we believe that co-locating modellers and experimentalists is crucial to making rapid progress. There is also a huge translational potential for Generative and Synthetic Genomics, and we expect the programme to become a global hub for biological engineering.


Programme Support:

The programme is supported by a dedicated operations team that works to deliver a backbone of operational support to our Generative and Synthetic Genomics Faculty. The administration team includes PA support for all Faculty and assistance in managing complex large-scale projects. The informatics team develops, maintains and operates informatics pipelines, data and software resources and analytical infrastructures, to support large-scale computational analyses. The operations teams also provide a key interface with central Institute functions including the core Sanger pipelines within Scientific Operations and the Management Operations teams. The Administration team provides day-to-day administration including core and grant funding finance management, identifying third-party funding opportunities, and ensuring regulatory and legal compliance in collaboration with central Institute teams.


Application Process:

Applications should be accompanied by:

  • Curriculum vitae, a complete list of publications and details of three referees
  • A two-page cover letter summarising

​ – your scientific and leadership achievements to date

– your contribution to the wider research community and society, you may wish to include diversity and inclusion initiatives and public engagement events

  • which Faculty level you wish to be considered for and why
  • A three-page outline of your future research plans indicating how these fit with the Generative and Synthetic Genomics Programme, and the wider Institute. Please include a short abstract at the start of this document (no more than 250 words) summarising your plans. Please upload with your Cover Letter.


Your application will be reviewed and considered across all three faculty levels focusing on your scientific achievement, experience, and personal suitability in line with our core behavioural competencies; collaboration, communication, leadership, integrity, results-driven, and innovation.

We understand that the global impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown period may have negatively impacted your research, as you may have had to adjust your working pattern, had reduced access to research facilities, and/or taken on additional responsibilities, such as childcare or caring for others. As part of our recruitment process we would like to better understand your experiences and how COVID-19 has impacted on your research progress and any research outputs, so that we can take this into consideration when we review your

application. Please use the application form to tell us more.


Interview format:

  • Pre-Meets – you will be invited to attend Pre-meets with representatives from our Director’s office, Scientific Operations, Generative Genomics and Synthetic Genomics Programme and Visa and Immigration teams. This will be an opportunity for you to find out more about our science, what it is like to work at Sanger and also to discuss relocating to Cambridge/the UK (if applicable).


  • Talks – Talk on your past research which will be open to everyone in the Institute to attend. Talk on your future research which will be given to a select committee of representatives from across Generative and Synthetic Genomics, Director’s Office, HR and our Group Leaders from across our Scientific Programmes.


  • Interview – Panel interview that will focus on our Behavioural Competency Framework. The interview panel will have representatives from across the Institute.


Talks and Interviews are likely to take place in January 2024 over Zoom.

  • 1:1s –  After your interview, you will be invited to attend 1:1 chats with stakeholders including our Group Leaders and Associate Faculty.


For further details about the opportunity, please visit:

Closing Date: 1st December 2023



Working at Wellcome Sanger:


Our flexible-hybrid working environment is designed to support a healthy work-life balance. This means you can work flexibly with a combination of working from home, and working from our Campus to allow you to focus on being productive and part of the team while enjoying the benefits of working flexibly.


We aim to attract, recruit, retain and develop talent from the widest possible talent pool, thereby gaining insight and access to different markets to generate a greater impact on the world. We have a supportive culture with the following staff networks, LGBTQ+, Parents and Carers and Race Equity to bring people together to share experiences, offer specific support and development opportunities and raise awareness. The networks are also a place for allies to provide support to others.


We want our people to be whoever they want to be because we believe people who bring their best selves to work, do their best work. That’s why we’re committed to creating a truly inclusive culture at Sanger Institute. We will consider all individuals without discrimination and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, where everyone can thrive.


Our Benefits:


We are proud to deliver an awarding campus-wide employee wellbeing strategy and programme. The importance of good health and adopting a healthier lifestyle and the commitment to reduce work-related stress is strongly acknowledged and recognised at Sanger Institute.

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