NIAB - National Institute of Agricultural Botany

Vacancy information

Head of NIAB CUF Potato Agronomy Group

Reference number: SV/A1231
Closing date: 12/08/2019
Location: Cambridgeshire
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Job details

The NIAB CUF Potato Agronomy Group, based in Cambridge, UK, is a leading centre for research and knowledge exchange on potato production, operating in the UK and internationally. Working closely with growers and the entire supply chain, our activities include detailed studies of plant development, crop management, variety evaluation, disease assessment and potato quality, including crop modelling, data handling and analysis.

With the previous jobholder stepping down after many years, we are seeking to appoint a new Head of NIAB CUF. Responsibilities include leading the Group, overseeing activities, developing and implementing strategy, managing key industry and research relationships (including the Cambridge University Potato Growers Research Association), securing funding, knowledge exchange and networking. NIAB CUF forms part of NIAB Agronomy, which delivers agronomy research and information, field trials, laboratory and consultancy services for a range of crops, and the appointee will work closely with group heads across NIAB.

The essential requirements for this role are:

  • PhD in applied biology or agronomy. Applicants with a relevant degree / MSc only may be considered if they can demonstrate that they have equivalent skills and training;
  • 5-10 years of postdoctoral (or equivalent) research experience in crop physiology, pathology and/or agronomy, or similar employment in a technical role in industry;
  • a track record of securing project income from a variety of sources, and of managing a group, staff and projects;
  • extensive knowledge of potato production in the UK, Europe and/or North America;
  • specialist knowledge of research methods and techniques to develop research objectives, projects and proposals;
  • competent user of Windows and Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) software;
  • influential leader, with the ability to operate at both strategic and operational levels;
  • diplomacy when dealing with customers and stakeholders;
  • commercially astute and technically strong, accompanied by accuracy, consistency of approach and good attention to detail;
  • excellent communication, presentation and planning skills, and proficient at financial management;
  • able to handle pressure and critical decision-making;
  • full driving licence as travel to sites around the UK is required.

The desirable requirements for this role are:

  • experience in physiology, pathology and/or agronomy research specific to potatoes;
  • knowledge of potato variety development, evaluation and/or breeding;
  • conversant with potato production systems and supply chains in the UK;
  • knowledge of collecting, analysing and applying ‘big data’;
  • competent user of Genstat statistical analysis software.

Starting salary for this full-time, permanent role will depend on experience, skills and qualifications, but is likely to be in the range of £55-70K per annum. Further details and an application form are available at or from the HR Office, Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0LE, Tel: 01223 342282, Email:

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