Interim Director-General

Ref: 7359



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Role coordinated by:

Erik Hafner

Research Associate

t: +31 202 404 379


Primary Practice Group: Higher Education and Research

Salary & Benefits: Salary is commensurate with the seniority of the position

Closing Date: 19/07/2024

EMPHASIS began as a H2020 project called EMPHASIS-PREP in 2017, aiming to reach the maturity needed for a sustainable European infrastructure for plant phenotyping. Now, during the Implementation Phase (EMPHASIS-GO) under Horizon Europe, EMPHASIS is progressing towards becoming an ERIC. The establishment of EMPHASIS ERIC is still underway, and a leader is needed to guide the ERIC application process and prepare for the operational phase.

The EMPHASIS Interim Director-General is a critical position requiring a blend of robust scientific background and managerial experience in a complex multi-stakeholder ecosystem. The appointed individual will be responsible for the strategic development and expansion of the EMPHASIS research infrastructure, aligning scientific programmes with financial and operational objectives. Moreover, the role involves extending the reach of EMPHASIS by forging new partnerships across Europe and beyond, willingness to travel and diplomatic skills.


The successful candidate for the role of EMPHASIS Interim Director-General should possess a diverse skill set, encompassing the following areas:

Technical and Scientific Expertise:

  • Scientific background in plant phenotyping or a related field.
  • Demonstrated expertise in plant phenotyping, or an ability to quickly understand all aspects of the subject matter.
  • Proven experience in collaborating effectively with scientists and government entities, emphasizing the ability to bridge the gap between scientific expertise and practical applications.
  • Familiarity or ability to quicky understand the European Research Infrastructure landscape and a keen understanding of the various avenues for deploying EMPHASIS services within this context.

Administrative and Leadership Skills:

  • Capability to establish a long-term vision for major projects and chart a course towards successful realization.
  • Proficiency in building and nurturing communities, fostering a shared sense of purpose, and promoting collaboration among diverse stakeholders.
  • Aptitude to address complex issues in a diplomatic manner and make challenging decisions that align with the pursuit of sustainable and successful outcomes.
  • Proven experience in delivering successful results from intricate projects within both European and international settings, with a proven track record in managing multifaceted initiatives.
  • Deep understanding of interactions with governmental institutions and funding agencies, coupled with a track record of successfully navigating these environments.
  • Proven skills in team management, which includes fostering motivation, collaboration, and high-performance among team members.
  • Proven experience in managing an organization at a senior level, with competence in overseeing budgets, resources, and personnel.

Communication and Diplomatic Negotiation:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with the ability to articulate complex scientific concepts and the impact to diverse stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated success in leading negotiations, highlighting the capability to reach agreements and establish beneficial partnerships.
  • Awareness and adaptability to effectively engage with individuals from diverse nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
  • Excellent proficiency in the English language, given its pivotal role as a common medium of communication within the international scientific community.

Appointment Process and How to Apply

An executive search exercise is being undertaken by Perrett Laver to assist the Selection Committee in identifying the widest possible field of qualified candidates and assisting in the assessment of candidates against the requirements for the role.

Informal inquiries and questions can be directed to Erik Hafner on +31 0202 404 379 or at Applications can be uploaded at, quoting reference number 7359. The closing date for applications is 09.00 CEST on Friday 19th July.

Applications should consist of a detailed CV and a cover letter addressing suitability against the person specification and motivation for the role.