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Sainsbury Laboratory


Group leader opportunities

As a principle investigator at SLCU, you will be joining a world-leading research centre for interdisciplinary plant developmental biology with a collaborative and family friendly environment, financial support and freedom to advance your own original research programmes.

As a member of the SLCU leadership team, you will contribute the collegial and collaborative research environment of the Sainsbury Laboratory. We have a flat leadership structure and all Group Leaders contribute equally to day-to-day decisions and informing the strategic direction of the lab. Our Group Leaders work very closely together: they meet weekly to discuss SLCU-related business and have monthly science lunches to discuss ongoing projects and grant applications and receive feedback.

Group Leaders also develop affiliations with different University of Cambridge departments, including Plant Science, Genetics, Physics, and Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. This has supported the establishment of a range of collaborations. also engaged in interdisciplinary University efforts such as Cambridge Computational Biology Institute (CCBI), Cambridge Centre for Biological Physics and Cambridge Morphogenesis Seminar Series.

As SLCU is a non-teaching research institute, there is no teaching requirement formally specified for Group Leaders. However, Group Leaders are strongly encouraged to supervise postgraduate research students (MPhil and PhD) and offer undergraduate research projects. Through their affiliations with teaching departments and colleges, Group Leaders can also participate in the teaching and supervision of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

SLCU offers a generous remuneration package, which includes additional central research funding and relocation support. You will also find that SLCU’s professional services, technical support, equipment and facilities are exceptional and far exceed what is offered at other institutes. 


“SLCU provides a unique and international research environment fostering collaboration and cross-talk and interdisciplinary research. It turned out to be the perfect place to study how microbes rely on and modify plant development. Really a unique place to be as a plant scientist.”
Dr Sebastian Schornack, Research Group Leader



Group leader careers

Group Leaders hold five-year Gatsby Fellowships, which include a competitive salary and an annual unrestricted research budget of £250,000-£300,000. This generous internal research funding is a unique benefit to support fundamental plant science research. Additional funding is encouraged and supported.

Towards the end of the five-year Gatsby Fellowship and review process will determine whether funding is renewed for an additional five years. If it is, the Group Leader will be offered a position to retirement age within a University of Cambridge department, providing that they meet the minimum standard for appointment to such a University post.


SLCU has an incredibly bright and engaging scientific community, where experimental and computational researchers actually interact with each other. These interactions really helped me move into plant development and evolution, which is a new field for me. The fantastic support staff made moving to the UK and starting a group so much less stressful.
Dr Renske Vroomans, Career Development Fellow



David Sainsbury Research Career Development Fellows

Career Development Fellows were established to provide an opportunity for early career researchers to develop their own research programme and establish their first research group. They are five-year awards, with a competitive salary and an additional 30% Gatsby distinction award, benefits and £70,000 p.a. of unrestricted research support. As Career Development Fellows progress towards independent researchers, they will be encouraged to apply for external funding.

The Fellow will be assigned a mentor, who will support them in their development as independent researcher, providing advice on grant writing, research group management etc. Fellows will also have access to the full range of career development resources offered by the University and will be supported in seeking out wider training opportunities, including additional funding for attending professional development programmes, including to attend the EMBO Laboratory Management and Leadership Course for Group Leaders.


SLCU has been a fantastic place to start my lab. The facilities are second to none and the collaborative and supportive environment has made the transition from postdoc to leading my own research group a lot of fun.”
Dr Chris Whitewoods, Career Development Fellow



More information

SLCU Director Henrik Jönsson and Group Leaders Edwige Moyroud and Alexander Jones recently hosted an online Q&A Information Session for people to ask questions about the application process and find out more about working at SLCU. They talked about what it is like running a research group at SLCU and Cambridge, the facilities available, environment and culture, and collaboration opportunities.



If you want to learn more about SLCU and the positions we are offering, please contact