Executive Director, Alabama Life Research Institute

Job description

The University of Alabama is seeking a visionary founding Executive Director of the new Alabama Life Research Institute (ALRI). The Executive Director, reporting directly to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, will hold a tenured, full professor faculty position in an appropriate academic department at The University of Alabama (UA).

UA, having doubled in size since 2002, is the nation’s fastest-growing flagship university. UA currently enrolls more than 38,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, and now attracts more than half of its students from out-of-state. Additionally, in recent years UA has invested $2.5 billion in campus buildings and infrastructure, including over $400 million in world-class research facilities. As part of the Peter Bryce Campus acquisition, the University also has significant land and facility holdings available for allocation to the research mission as needed. External grants and contracts for research, instruction, service and fellowship reached record levels for UA in fiscal year 2018, and have grown by 85 percent over the last five years.

Building on this momentum, with a forward-looking focus on growth in faculty and research prominence, UA plans to significantly increase the size of the tenured and tenure-track faculty in the coming years, with an eye toward research synergies and addressing our national and global challenges. These investments create exciting opportunities, perhaps unique in the nation, in terms of the potential for research advancements over the coming decade.

ALRI is a vital component of UA’s plan to increase research productivity and impact, and is a foundation of UA’s new Strategic Plan to “Increase the University’s productivity and innovation in research, scholarship, and creative activities that impact economic and societal development.”

In fulfilling its strategic mission, ALRI will serve as a focal point for interdisciplinary bio-psychosocial research that seeks to investigate the human condition at all levels, from the molecular to the environmental. All ALRI research efforts – from the study of genetic anomalies to governmental policy, from drug discovery to prosthetic design, from education to behavior change – seek to improve life, whether through the reduction of morbidity and mortality, the elimination of health inequity, or other quality-of-life improvements.


ALRI will embrace the University’s strategic objectives by:

• Leveraging the University’s strengths to create new opportunities for cross-disciplinary life research, scholarship, innovation, and creative activities with economic and societal impact.

• Investing in infrastructure that promotes a thriving life research enterprise.

• Cultivating, supporting, sponsoring, and conducting research that enriches the University’s life research.


ALRI is an umbrella organization, consisting of a set of core facilities and member research centers and institutes. Current affiliated centers and institutes include the Institute for Social Science Research; Rural Health Research Institute: Alabama Research Institute on Aging; Center for Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems; and the Institute for Business Analytics. In addition, ALRI will also serve as an incubator for the development of new institutes and centers. ALRI is currently having new innovative research and office space outfitted on UA’s Peter Bryce Campus.

To achieve success, ALRI must collaborate across the University, as well as with peer institutions, healthcare organizations, corporations, governmental agencies, community-based organizations, and other concerned individuals.


The ALRI Executive Director will have the following responsibilities:

• Provide a coherent vision for collaborative life research through effective leadership that embraces the full range of disciplines represented by ALRI.

• Develop ALRI’s national and international profile.

• Partner with staff and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development to identify, promote, and contribute resources to strengthen ALRI and manage its portfolio. This includes identifying and supporting opportunities for research within existing funding streams and, where possible, through multi-disciplinary collaboration and partnerships across the University and beyond.

• Work closely with existing centers and institutes within ALRI to ensure their growth and success.

• Stimulate the development of new research centers that are consistent with the ALRI research focus, taking advantage of unique research and clinical resources within the University.

• Foster and support high quality research and scholarly activities within ALRI by ensuring a stimulating, collegial, and well-managed environment.

• Attract, lead, retain and develop faculty and staff who will promote academic and research excellence within the ALRI and will contribute to the successful development of the ALRI and University.

• Manage resources effectively to ensure the ALRI is self-sustainable.

• Engage a range of internal and external stakeholders to collaboratively identify research opportunities and partnerships.

• Oversee regular meetings of the ALRI Advisory Board; ensure that the Advisory Board receives regular ALRI progress reports and that any plans for the future of the ALRI take the Advisory Board’s counsel into consideration.

• Assess gaps and meet the need for common resources and facilities across ALRI centers and institutes.


Required Qualifications of the Executive Director:

• Strong academic record and eligibility for the rank of Full Professor in an appropriate academic department at The University of Alabama.

• A terminal degree. Although a PhD, MD, or MD/PhD is strongly preferred, candidates with other science or health-related terminal degrees (i.e., PharmD, DVM) having other relevant training and experience will also be considered.

• Extensive research experience working in an academic, industrial or government research setting.

• At least 10 years of experience leading successful cross-disciplinary research teams, as evidenced nationally and, preferably, internationally.

• Experience, or at least the firm understanding, in the full range of scientific disciplines represented by ALRI, including but not limited to: biochemical and biomolecular science, genetics and genomics, drug discovery and development, psychosocial science, health disparity and inequity, patient care, and health policy.

• Strong evidence of being a trusted and effective colleague.

• History of successful and effective staff management and professional development.

• Proven capacity to successfully train and develop early-career researchers

• Acute understanding of the priorities, operation, and strategies of securing externally-funded grants and contracts to support research.


Preferred Qualifications of the Executive Director:

In addition to meeting the required qualifications, the preferred candidate will have one or more of the following:

• Extensive research experience at a research-intensive university.

• Successful and sustained record of achieving high levels of research-based funding as a Principal Investigator.

• Existing externally funded research in areas of science represented by ALRI and the desire to maintain funding while serving in the Executive Director position.

• Experience developing and leading successful partnerships with any or all of the following external partners: peer universities, healthcare organizations, corporation, governmental agencies, community-based organizations, and concerned individuals.

• A record of pursuing and supporting technology transfer and licensing, and economic development activities.


The planned start date is June 1, 2019, but is negotiable. Only applicants currently legally eligible to work in the United States will be considered.

This is an open, national and rolling search. Review of applications will begin immediately as they are received. Candidates meeting all of the required qualifications may be contacted immediately for inquiry and an interview. It is possible that a preferred candidate may be selected as other applications are still being received. Therefore, the most serious and qualified candidates are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible. To receive full consideration, applications should be submitted prior to April 15, 2019; however, the position will remain open until filled. Applications submitted after April 15 will be reviewed and considered as long as the position remains unfilled. Application materials should include: 1) a full and updated resume, 2) cover letter summarizing the interest in the position and how the minimum qualifications and any preferred qualifications are met, and 3) a list of four references with full contact information. However, references will only be contacted after written consent of the candidate.

All applicants must apply online at http://facultyjobs.ua.edu/postings/44444

Nominations, questions and/or other inquiries should be directed to the Search Committee Chair, Dr. John E. Lochman, Interim Director, Alabama Life Research Institute and Saxon Professor Emeritus of Psychology at [email protected]

Location of position:

Tuscaloosa, AL

Applications should be sent to::





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Job No:
Posted: 1/14/2019
Application Due: 3/15/2019
Work Type: