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EMBL Job Opportunities

Administrative Director


Heidelberg, Germany

Staff Category:

Staff Member

Contract Duration:

5 years



Closing Date:

3 August 2014

Reference Number:

Job Description

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is a European intergovernmental organisation with twenty one member states and two associate member states. EMBL carries out world leading basic research in molecular biology. EMBL also provides scientific services to the life science community, engages in technology and instrumentation development, advanced training and technology transfer. EMBL is headquartered in Heidelberg (Germany), with additional sites in Grenoble (France), Hamburg (Germany), Hinxton (UK) and Monterotondo (Italy). Currently, EMBL employs appr. 1800 members of staff from over 80 nations and has annual expenditure of €200 Million.

EMBL seeks a replacement for the Administrative Director. The successful applicant will be directly responsible to the Director General for the non-scientific administration of all parts of EMBL. The appointee will be supported by the Heads of the units reporting to him/her such as Human Resources, Finance, Legal Services, Purchase, Facility Management, Health & Safety, Social Services, Library, and Laboratory Animal Resources. Furthermore he/she is supported by the Administrative Director´s Office and the Council Secretariat. There is a close working relationship with the internal and external auditors.

The ability to work effectively with research scientists and their staff and to understand and be responsive to their needs is essential. The Administrative Director represents the Laboratory in dealings with the Laboratory’s Staff Association. Outside the Laboratory the appointee will be responsible for maintaining close working relationships with national and local authorities in the host countries of the EMBL Units (Germany, France, United Kingdom and Italy). A critical working relationship is with the governing Council and in particular it’s Finance Committee, which decides the Laboratory’s general policies, budgets and terms and conditions of service. The Administrative Director will be expected to maintain and further develop close working contacts with the Council delegates and to take responsibility for developing and presenting policies and papers to the formal six-monthly meetings of Council and Finance Committee.

Qualifications and Experience

Applicants must have high-level managerial experience in a comparable organisation. Previous experience in financial planning, budgeting, the development of legal agreements, human resources management and high-level committee work are strengths that the selection committee will be looking for. Drafting and negotiating skills, clarity in oral and written presentations, the ability to undertake and deliver long-term strategic administrative planning, the ability to accept and discharge responsibility and a constructive and timely response to change are essential requirements. Flexibility of approach with fairness and consistency of delivery are key attributes. Applicants must be fluent in two of the three languages English, French and German and have a working knowledge of the third, taking into account that English is the common working language of the Laboratory. Although not required to be an expert, the Administrative Director should take a lively and informed interest in the research carried out in the laboratory.

Application Instructions
Please apply online through sending a CV and a motivation letter.
Additional Information
Questions concerning the role should be sent to Iain.Mattaj[at] and any queries regarding the terms and conditions should be sent to Elke.Jagomast[at]
EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation.

Please note that appointments on fixed term contracts can be renewed, depending on circumstances at the time of the review.

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