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Deputy Director: Research Strategy, Innovation and Academic Standards at Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust

  • Full Time
  • Blantyre
  • Salary: 00

Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust

Job Description


The Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Research Programme (MLW) has a vision of research driving health.  We conduct research to benefit health and train the next generation of researchers and leaders.  MLW is one of the largest and most successful research partnership in Malawi, hosting 6 Research Themes, 4 Research Support Units, a Policy Unit and 9 Operations Departments.  It is a research affiliate of the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS) and is funded by a core grant from the Wellcome Trust.  The focus of MLW research spans the breadth of basic, clinical and social science. In the next 5-10 years, MLW will host approximately 200 projects at any time, with a grant portfolio spending approximately £20m per year.  MLW at this scale will host more than 200 postgraduate trainees (from pre-MSc to postdoctoral scientists), linked to national and international centres around the region and the world.

Main Purpose of Role

The Deputy Director: Research Strategy, Innovation and Academic Standards (DD – Research) supports the Director in all aspects of leading MLW.  The role of the DD – Research will focus on leading researchers in delivering the academic vision of MLW, promoting and leading strategic, innovative initiatives to manage the anticipated growth in research and the expansion of postgraduate training programs. The DD – Research will work closely with the Director, DD – Culture and Chief Operating Officer (COO) and will be fully supported by the MLW Senior Management Team (SMT) and Executive Committee (ExCo).   The DD – Research is a key member of SMT and ExCo supporting effective overall management and leadership of MLW.  The DD – Research deputises for the Director in all areas as needed.



The DD – Research will:

MLW Leadership

  • Work closely with the Director to provide institutional leadership within MLW.
  • Deputise for Director when required in all aspects of the Director’s role.
  • Support the Director in developing and delivering MLW’s vision and strategy.
  • Support the Director to ensure the financial and scientific sustainability of the institution including preparation for core grant renewal.
  • Develop effective strategies for grant management and funding, including identifying new funding opportunities and maintaining robust relationships with key funders, particularly Wellcome.
  • Collaborate closely with Operations Departments to align research strategies with operational capabilities, fostering an integrated and efficient approach to achieving MLW’s research and administrative goals.
  • Promote MLW values and enhance MLW reputation internally and externally.
  • Provide leadership to SMT and support ExCo.
  • Lead and attend MLW Committees as required.
  • Lead by example in the development of an inclusive, positive culture in which all stakeholders have the opportunity to thrive and achieve to the best of their ability.

Academic Direction

  • Actively promote MLW as a world-leading centre of excellence.
  • Conduct internationally leading innovative research in their specialist area, supervise and mentor trainees.
  • Provide leadership and work collaboratively within SMT in the development of institutional strategy.
  • Work closely with the Director to provide leadership in the sustainable delivery of the research and training strategy to ensure research excellence and training are the clear focus of MLW.
  • Provide leadership and guidance to the Research Strategy Group (RSG) including:
    1. Chair RSG.
    2. Ensure RSG Terms of Reference are reviewed annually to be fit for purpose.
    3. Ensure RSG members know their duties and are diligent in their discharge.
    4. Ensure RSG decisions are clearly and effectively communicated to Operations Departments, such that planned, new and ongoing projects are well supported by Operations.
  • Convene an Academic Standards body at MLW, together with HR and with partners (KUHeS, LSTM, UoL) to ensure all MLW academics and research trainees have appropriate supervision/line management, clear objectives and rigorous annual feedback on progress against agreed targets.
  • Monitor the academic performance of MLW against sector expectation and set effective strategies to drive sustainable improvements where necessary.
  • Work closely with MLW Operations Departments to ensure operational and infrastructure services are aligned with academic plans and priorities and foster an integrated collaborative approach.
  • Maintaining clear communication channels with Wellcome, LSTM, UoL and KUHeS leadership on all matters pertaining to research excellence and capacity strengthening.

Enterprise, Innovation and Translation

Work closely with DD – Culture to champion enterprise, innovation and translation activities, including development of links with industry, business partners and policymakers for science impact.



Qualifications and Knowledge

  • A senior academic, or health sector specialist having international standing in their area of expertise.
  • In depth knowledge of global public health and medicine including funding, policy and research landscape, within Malawi and internationally.
  • To be actively engaged in research at MLW.


  • Extensive experience in a senior management role within a research institution or similar, with financial and operational delivery.
  • Proven financial management experience, capable of successfully managing large budgets.
  • Successful track record of winning competitive grants and securing funding over a prolonged period.
  • Demonstrable impact in effective strategy development and implementation.
  • A track record in enhancing academic performance, including impactful outputs.
  • Experience in supervising and mentoring early- and mid-career researchers and senior colleagues.
  • Experience of leading teams and managing performance to deliver successfully in line with organisational priorities.

Skills and Abilities

  • Financial management and budgeting.
  • Strong leadership skills, able to inspire, engage and mentor others to contribute to organisational goals through leadership, coaching and mentoring.
  • Commercial acumen and ability to commercialise research outcomes.
  • Strategic insight and critical thinking.
  • Capable of working effectively under pressure in a complex, dynamic international research institution.
  • Communication and influencing, skilled negotiator.
  • Can work effectively in culturally diverse situations.


The DD – Research role is not a full-time stipendiary position, but a remunerated role in the terms laid out by Wellcome for the Major International Programmes (MIPs) Directors and Deputy Directors.  Details of this remuneration are available from LSTM Global Director of HR.  Appointment of the DD – Research will be through open competition, with approval from the MLW Director and ExCo.

MLW recognizes its responsibility in safeguarding and protecting communities, research participants and patients with whom MLW is working. Please note that the successful candidate will be requested to undergo a safeguarding check prior to appointment and at regular time points during employment.

Method Of Application

Suitably qualified candidates should forward their applications with copies of relevant certificates, 3 traceable professional referees and a detailed CV to [email protected] not later than 14th June 2024. Please ensure that documents are in one (1) pdf file format and to be marked, “DEPUTY DIRECTOR POSITION-RSIAS”.

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