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School of Technology


The Head is the principal academic officer of the School and Chair of the Council of the School of Technology (the senior decision-making body). The Head is responsible to the Council of the School, the General Board and the Vice-Chancellor for the overall running of the School, including use of the funds made available by the General Board and implementation of the academic and financial plans approved by the General Board.

The duties of the Head are influential and varied. As well as chairing the Council of the School, the Head represents the School and its staff (academic and non-academic) on the General Board, and other central Committees. The Head also has a formal responsibility to further the academic interests of the School both internally and externally. The post of the Head of School is offered as a 60-80% secondment from the post-holder’s normal duties and the School will make provision (subject to need) for appropriate cover (details are attached in Appendix A). In addition, there are a Deputy Head of School and a Director of Education to support the role holder in discharging the duties.

The priority responsibilities identified by the School are:

  • Take a strategic overview of the academic activities in the School of Technology, lead the School effectively as the School’s academic principal officer in teaching, research and fund-raising activities and implement the School’s academic vision;
  • Work in partnership with Heads of Institution and senior members of the School
    (a)  to contribute to the governance of the wider University as a senior member, influencing the deliberations in central bodies, based on practical experiences of working in the academic community, and
    (b)  to adopt an outward-facing approach, influencing external stakeholders, funders and policy makers to enable and facilitate innovative and entrepreneurial developments in the strategic interests of the School;
  • Recognise the importance of cross-school working and the benefit from all the Heads of Schools working together for the good of the University rather than solely as representatives of their own individual constituencies; and
  • Engage in the development of the University Finance Transformation Programme to seek a rational, fair and coherent outcome that will enable academic excellence to thrive in all the institutions of the School.

An abstract of the role of the Head of the School of Technology is attached in Appendix B.

The person appointed is expected to be at professorial level. The role will be effective from 1 October 2022. The normal length of tenure is four years.

The deadline for candidates to express an interest in the role is midnight 30 October 2021. Expressions of interest should consist of a CV and a statement of interest in the role and ambitions for the School, and be emailed to the Secretary of the School, It is expected that interviews will take place in the fortnight commencing 6 December 2021.

If you would like to discuss the role of the Head of School with a view to making an expression of interest, please do not hesitate to contact one or more of the following for further information and informal advice:

Name Title Email
Professor Dame Lynn Gladden Chair, Search Committee
Professor Richard Prager Head of Dept of Engineering
Professor Clemens Kaminski Head of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology
Professor Ann Copestake Head of Computer Science & Technology
Professor Mauro Guillen Director Elect of Judge Business School
Ms Clare Shine Director and CEO of CISL
Professor Nigel Peake Head of School of Physical Sciences
Professor John Dennis Current Head of School
Dr Shui Lam Secretary of the School

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

Person Specification:

Demonstrable vision, leadership and advocacy to help shape the strategic agenda for a highly devolved School characterised by a consensual style of governance.

The ability to identify and prioritise key areas of opportunity, challenge and risk, and spot key issues or situations which may warrant strategic, governance, or financial, management or intervention.

Knowledge and understanding (or the ability to rapidly to gain those) of key contemporary issues relating to the School, the wider University and the national higher education sector, as well as the relevant industrial sectors to the School of Technology.

Demonstrable ability to maintain effective working relationships with a variety of senior colleagues across a highly varied set of disciplines and professional functions.

Proven leadership experience and ability. This should include outstanding interpersonal skills including the ability to inspire confidence, to manage conflicting agenda and to motivate staff and co-operate with colleagues in a team spirit, as well as the demonstrable ability to lead by example.

Strong negotiation and communication skills. This should include proven ability to persuade peers and senior management (e.g. Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellors) to the merits of one’s own views.

Shui Lam,
September 2021


Appendix A: Extract from General Board paper “Heads of Schools”

As regards the duties of the Head of School, the Council and the Board envisage them falling into two broad areas: first, the duties as Chair and, where appropriate, acting on behalf of the Council of the School; and, secondly, playing a crucial role, as a member of the major bodies of the University, not only representing the interests of their School but in the academic governance of the institution as a whole. Specifically, the duties would include:

(i)     representation of the School on the General Board and central committees
(ii)    consequential duties arising from membership of the General Board e.g. chairing committees, Department Reviews
(iii)   liaison with the senior officers in the central administration concerning, and where appropriate, launching major projects, reviews etc.
(iv)   acting as budget holder for the School, subject to delegation to Head of Institution level for annual budgets
(v)    monitoring the School's financial performance and where necessary taking corrective actions
(vi)   active promotion of strategic developments in the School, including the production and annual update of the School's strategic plan, and fund-raising
(vii)  presentation and defence of the School's strategic plan to the General Board, working with Heads of Departments, arbitrating on issues such as conflicts of interest, deviations from agreed University policy on research collaboration agreements, personnel and performance issues
(viii)  taking decisions on any matters as may be delegated to them by the Council of the School
(ix)    involvement in recruitment to senior posts within the School, including advising on recruitment packages
(x)     responsibility for the operational activities of School-level staff.

The above list is not exhaustive and it is recognized that the balance of duties and the arrangements for discharging them will vary from School to School.

3. Remuneration

The Headship of a School carries a pensionable stipend based on Point 83 of the salary spine (£108,977 at 1 August 2017 rates) pro rata to the time commitment. The actual stipend for a Head of School will be (i) Grade 12, Point 83 reduced pro rata to reflect the time commitment as Head, plus (ii) the basic salary for the University office held by the Head, reduced pro rata to reflect the time commitment to that office, plus (iii) any contribution payment, payment for clinical responsibility, or market supplement in full. For a Professor the uplift in total stipend would be x% (Point 83 – Point 68) where x is the time commitment to the Headship. On completion of an officer’s four-year period as Head of School, he or she is eligible for additional leave granted by analogy with the arrangements for Heads of Department to enable them to re-engage fully in their personal research.

Additional elements of the package, such as the provision of research and/or administrative support and buy out of time in his/her Faculty or Department is a matter for the Council of the School to determine and fund.


Appendix B: Abstract of the Role of the Head of the School of Technology in the University of Cambridge

A Head of School has two main areas of activity. First, to work with the School Office to support the departments and ensure that they have the appropriate financial, physical and human-resource context in order to excel in education and research. Second, to work with the other School Heads, the Pro-Vice-Chancellors and the Vice-Chancellor as a member of the senior management team of the University. These activities interact, in that the Head of School can use knowledge of the broader university context to help in the development of departmental strategies that are consistent with, and supportive of, the overall strategy of the University.

Not all the duties are directly relevant to the School. A Head of School is generally required to take on broader leadership activities, such as those listed below. These can often be focused to have a synergy with other activities across the School.

The Head of School does not have a great deal of direct power, but generally is able to exert considerable influence. He or she has the right to comment and put forward a reasoned argument in a wide variety of contexts. The level of influence is dependent on the quality of the argument put forward. This is a challenging and interesting dimension of the job. If used with care, it enables the Head of School to make a significant and valuable contribution. The job involves considerable committee work; the current Head is a member of about 60 committees. This is time-consuming and requires organization and self-discipline. It does however provide the context and background information that enables the Head to function effectively and exercise balanced and informed judgment.

The six heads of schools increasingly act as a coherent team rather than just representing the interests of their individual constituencies. Some of the activities in this area are mentioned in paragraph 12, below. When all six Heads of School act together they carry considerable weight and, with due coordination and planning, have the ability to steer the academic policy of the University to a significant extent.

Technology is a very collegial School; the five departmental Heads work together with the Head of School with diligence and efficiency. The School exists to further the academic endeavour of its departments, and the departments contribute in an insightful and collegial way to the broader context of the School and the wider University. The School has sought to add value to departmental operations by helping to organize and facilitate links with other parts of the University. This is particularly important with the increasing tendency for funders to call for large bids, which not only embrace technology but also, for example, the impact of that technology on society and its social or ethical consequences.

The work of the Head of School falls broadly into the following groups of activities.

1. Research – University Research Policy Committee and associate activities. School Research and REF activities.
2. Human resources – Pay, promotions, initiatives, equality & diversity, cases and issues.
3. Estate – New buildings, refurbishments, estates planning and strategy.
4. Resources – Establishing a financial framework with the University and using it efficiently.
5. Fundraising – Making sure all parts of the School are fully engaged in this fast-growing area of activity. Facilitating communication between academics in the School and fund-raising professionals in the Development Office.
6. Education – University and school-level initiatives. Access and recruitment.
7. The school office – Maintaining responsiveness and efficiency. Staff development.
8. Departmental committees and advisory boards – Remaining in touch with the departments of the School.
9. Information services – Helping to guide the university towards a more viable way of organizing this important service.
10. Council of the school and the school away-day – Maintaining an appropriate focus on strategic planning rather than only on short-term constraints.
11. University companies – Maintaining good integration between the parts of the university that make money and the more traditional academic activities.
12. Working as a team with the other five Heads of Schools – An opportunity to have a strategic impact on the University as a whole.
13. University committees – A time-consuming, but necessary, way of maintaining the influence of the School in University governance.
14. External meetings – Helping to maintain the national and international profile of the University, School and Departments.

A longer version of this document is available from the Secretary of the School (email:, which provides greater detail about each of these areas of activity.

John Dennis
July 2021