School of Informatics

Head of School

The School of Informatics is now looking to appoint a new Head of School.


The University of Edinburgh

For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.

The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

We are one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 35,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 13,000 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment. See our University Initiatives website for further information.

The City

Edinburgh is a major European capital. Named the best place to live and work in the UK, it is a beautiful city, notable for fine Georgian and Victorian architecture, striking parks and gardens.

Here, you’ll find a royal palace, a cliff-top castle and an extinct volcano - all in the heart of the city. You’ll also find the Scottish Parliament, housed in an iconic piece of modern design.

With its stunning Georgian and Victorian architecture, and winding medieval streets, it’s easy to see why Edinburgh has been listed as a World Heritage Site. The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland look after a wealth of properties in the city, all of which are available for you to explore.

With four universities, major international arts and science festivals, world class galleries, theatres and concert halls, Edinburgh has a modern dynamism within its historic streets. People from all over the world have settled here, resulting in a strong ethnic flavour to the bars, cafés and restaurants. It has all the advantages of a major European capital, yet is small in scale - only half a million people - and safe.

A city of culture, Edinburgh is also a city for business. It is the second largest financial centre in the UK with a thriving, diverse economy and a highly educated, motivated workforce. Several major global financial institutions - banks, insurance companies, investment houses and brokers - have their HQs in Edinburgh.

This is a city where Dolly the Sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal, was born, a city that is home to the most powerful computer in the UK (here in the University), a city that has developed the country’s most vibrant bio-sciences sector. The University of Edinburgh’s School of Mathematics is well located to take advantage of this atmosphere of innovation and collaboration.


Beyond the city boundaries, Scotland is a land of rugged beauty, one of Europe’s last great wildernesses with mountains, lochs and seven thousand miles of stunning coastline.

Within only a few miles of the School lies the gently rolling countryside of East Lothian, with beaches, villages and famous golf courses just waiting to be discovered. Scotland is, of course, the home of golf and its birthplace, the ancient town of St Andrews, is less than a couple of hours from here.

The landscape of this striking, diverse land could have been made for the outdoor sporting life. Skiing, surfing, hiking, mountain biking and kayaking are just some of the exhilarating activities on offer.

College of Science and Engineering

The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor Dave Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy). Informatics is located in the University’s Central Area near George Square, with the other six 2 miles further south at the King’s Buildings. The College has over 3,000 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, over 1000 taught postgraduates and more than 2,000 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research collaborations.

College of Science and Engineering website

School of Informatics

The School of Informatics at The University of Edinburgh is a world-class centre for computer science and informatics research and education and the leading institution in its field in the United Kingdom. Applications are invited from academics of international standing for the position of Head of School.

Research and teaching within the School covers the full breadth of Informatics and Computer Science. The School’s research is structured into six institutes.

ANC (Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation)

ICSA (Institute for Computing Systems Architecture)

LFCS (Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science)

CISA (Centre for Intelligent Systems & their Applications)

ILCC (Institute for Language, Cognition & Computation)

IPAB (Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour)

The School is a community of around 600 academic staff, post-doctoral researchers and research students with a taught student cohort of over 1100. It is based in the modern, purpose-built, Informatics Forum on The University of Edinburgh’s city centre campus. Dedicated teaching space is provided in the adjacent and newly refurbished Appleton Tower. The new Bayes Centre for Data Technology is contiguous with the Informatics Forum and is due for occupancy in summer 2018. The Bayes Centre will facilitate increased interaction and collaboration with other Schools and divisions of the University and with industry partners.

Bayes Centre

The School is experiencing a period of significant growth in both staff and students. This growth is just one driver of change, both internal to the University and externally. The School requires a strong leader with a strategic vision and the management skills to ensure that the School continues to build on its existing success and to steer a course through the many opportunities available.

Research within the School is embedded in the rich environment of a world top 30 University that stimulates wide and deep interdisciplinary interactions. The School continues to pioneer the development of Informatics as “the study of the structure, the behaviour, and the interactions of natural and engineered computational systems.”

The School hosts three EPSRC-funded Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Data Science, in Pervasive Parallelism and in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (the latter in conjunction with Heriot Watt University). The University of Edinburgh is one of five joint venture partners of the UK-wide (link) The Alan Turing Institute and the School of Informatics plays a leading role in this relationship.

CDT in Data Science

CDT in Pervasive Parallelism

CDT in Robotics and Autonomous Systems

The School’s taught programmes  are in high demand and the School is increasingly developing new ways of enhancing student learning and the student experiencing through innovative approaches to teaching and to delivering teaching at a distance.

Informatics undergraduate degrees

Informatics postgraduate degrees (taught MSc)

The School has a strong track record of industry engagement and commercialisation, with its own business development team and business incubators. The School has been responsible for over 70 start-up and spin-out businesses over the past 10 years. The School’s ‘Informatics Ventures’ team organises the annual EIE ‘Engage, Invest, Exploit’ investor showcase which has connected growing companies with more than £400m in investment since 2008.

The School and Industry engagement

Informatics Ventures


Appointment of Head of School of Informatics, and Chair

Candidates for the Head of School position will be expected to demonstrate an international research reputation, a commitment to teaching excellence and significant management experience. Candidates will be of exceptional calibre, able to provide both academic and executive leadership and to act as the external advocate of the School to a range of stakeholders, nationally and internationally. Candidates will be committed to strengthening and further developing the School’s research activities; to maximising the quality and effectiveness of its teaching; and to broadening teaching activities through eLearning and online teaching.

The successful candidate will be appointed to an open-ended Professorial post within the School, and a five year term as Head of School.

The University of Edinburgh aims to ensure equality of opportunity for all. The School of Informatics holds an Athena SWAN silver award.

For an informal discussion, potential candidates are invited to contact Professor Dave Robertson.

Professor Dave Robertson

Head of College of Science and Engineering

Contact details


Role profile

The Head of School will be expected to strengthen and further develop the School’s activities in research and impact; maximise the quality and effectiveness of its teaching; and enhance eLearning and online teaching initiatives that builds on the University’s existing strengths in online education, as well as act as the advocate of the School to develop its presence and reputation both nationally and internationally. Candidates will provide strategic leadership in all areas of the School activity by articulating a clear vision and responding to opportunities that will build, strengthen and grow the School. The School is expected to play a major role in a number of current University projects and initiatives. These include the Bayes Centre for Data Technology, the University’s participation in the Edinburgh Region City Deal and initiatives to deliver distance learning at scale.

The Head of School reports to the Head of the College of Science & Engineering and is expected to act with autonomy in relation to the activity of the School and execution of the strategic plan. Other key relationships within the institute include:

  • Principal
  • Other Heads of School
  • College Registrar and other members of the College Strategy & Management Committee
  • Heads of Support Groups and the Heads of Support Services
  • Senior Vice-Principal, Vice-Principals, and Assistant Principals

Within the School, key relationships include the senior academic leadership team, Directors of the Research Institutes, the Director of Professional Services and other professional managers.

Candidates may come from a variety of backgrounds, but must have an international research reputation and significant management experience, in order to provide both academic and executive leadership of the School.

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide strategic leadership in all areas of School activity by articulating a clear vision, and responding to changes, opportunities and threats in the environment so as to further strengthen the School.
  • Ensure that the management structure in the School is fit for purpose and that responsibilities and expectations are communicated, applied and monitored to optimise the use of all of the School’s resources. Ensure corrective action is taken where required.
  • Continue to improve on the quality and quantity of research and development of research collaborations and partnerships within the College, wider University and externally.
  • Foster and cultivate innovative delivery of teaching and learning activity for all students. Ensure that the highest standards of student satisfaction are attained across all areas of School activity and lead the development of the School’s online master’s programmes and use of eLearning technologies.
  • Personally promote a positive, inclusive and collegiate environment and sense of community in the School in which individual members of the School are engaged and their contributions are encouraged and recognised.
  • Lead and manage change ensuring that it is effectively communicated and resourced and that members of the School understand the need for the change and their role in achieving its aim.
  • Provide strategic leadership in realising the School’s vision for new estate through fundraising and leadership of the School.
  • Act as an advocate and ambassador for the School to develop the School’s presence and reputation nationally and internationally, with a view to growth in international students, collaborations with national and international partners, and collaboration with other parts of the University.


  • An outstanding personal record of University-level teaching, research and research funding awards; internationally recognised in at least one of the School’s core disciplines.
  • Significant experience of operating in an academic environment and an understanding of the demands of world-class research scholarship and teaching across the range of disciplines present within the School.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide visionary, academic, strategic and operational leadership, and demonstrated ability to foster a collegiate work environment.
  • Successful track record of leading change.
  • Comprehensive understanding of the sector, including the national and international context in which the School’s disciplines and University operate.
  • Established reputation with appropriate external funding, academic and policy-making agencies, and experience in development and fundraising.
  • Able to operate successfully in a collegial and consultative environment while being decisive and firm and demonstrating strength of purpose internally and externally.
  • Successful track record of leading initiatives which foster and embed a strong student-focused culture that enhances teaching quality and the student experience, as well as in the development of innovative teaching methods with a particular focus on online education and other forms of knowledge exchange.
  • A successful track record in people management and budgetary responsibility in a demanding and complex organisation would be advantageous. (Desirable)

Personal Attributes

  • Strong leadership and management skills with the ability to empower, enable, motivate and challenge.
  • Able to provide firm and decisive leadership whilst respecting the consultative traditions of the University.
  • Excellent interpersonal, influencing and brokering skills with the ability to build partnerships internally and externally.
  • Sound judgment, diplomacy and tact.
  • Energy, self-motivation and commitment to delivery.
  • The ability to maintain the strong, cohesive community from the diversity of talent within the School.

Application Procedure

The appointment of the Head of School of Informatics will be guided by a selection panel chaired by Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

All applications must apply online via vacancy website by clicking the "apply" button at the bottom of this page. The application process is quick and easy to follow and, you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments. You should include, by way of attachment, a full curriculum vitae and a covering letter to include a personal statement which addresses candidates’ relevant experience and personal qualities as set out in the Job Description. Applicants must also provide, via the online application form, the names, positions, organisations and contact details (email preferred) of five referees who can supply information based on first-hand knowledge of candidates’ suitability for the role. If not otherwise provided as a named referee, the names and contact details of employer(s) for the last five years will also be required. Please make it clear if referees can be approached before interview or not.


The deadline for applications is 5pm GMT on 27 October 2017 - Interviews will take place on 14th December 2017.

The selection panel will subsequently decide upon the field of shortlisted candidates and these individuals will be invited to meet with members of the School prior to interview. Formal interviews will take place on 6th December 2017 and candidates are requested to keep the two days prior to interview free for visiting the School.

As part of the interview process, candidates will be invited to make a presentation to the School, which all members of the School of Informatics will have the opportunity to attend. This presentation may inform the selection panel in their deliberations.

We would wish to allow members of the School to see short-listed candidates’ CVs. If you do not wish to allow your CV to be made available for members of the School to view, please advise us of this in the covering letter accompanying your application. If we are so advised, your CV will remain confidential to members of the short-listing and selection panel.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.