Call for the Scientific Lead(s) in Planetary Biology Capability at SciLifeLab

Application deadline

January 20, 2022

Call for the Scientific Lead(s) in Planetary Biology Capability at SciLifeLab

SciLifeLab aims to build a capability for Planetary Biology, connecting the unique competencies of SciLifeLab’s infrastructure platforms, technologies, and data-driven life science with the research communities in the field of planetary biology. SciLifeLab seeks a Scientific Lead and/or co-leads to plan and guide this endeavor.

We like to consider planetary biology as a diverse, dynamic and evolving research area with strong global impact. We encourage an inclusive definition ranging from single molecules and cells to individual species, species communities, ecosystems and their services for the planet and suggest the lead(s) to define an appropriate focus and strategy in the SciLifeLab context. SciLifeLab has recently established an MoU with the EMBL, where one area of joint interest is planetary biology. EMBL has defined planetary biology as follows: Planetary biology aims to understand, from the molecular to the population level, how microbes, plants, and animals respond to each other and to their environment.

Planetary biology topics were already mentioned in the 10-year roadmap for SciLifeLab in 2019. In addition, the international advisory board (IAB) has encouraged SciLifeLab to venture towards Planetary Biology topics that have been traditionally under-represented in research activities as well as infrastructure services. The newly launched SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS) will focus on data-driven evolution and biodiversity as one of its key application areas. Therefore, along with the high-throughput, comprehensive and data-intensive technologies available at the SciLifeLab infrastructure platforms, this opens up powerful opportunities to launch a planetary biology capability.

The appointed Scientific lead for Planetary Biology will plan synergies arising from existing opportunities, such as: i) the existing SciLifeLab infrastructure and the platforms, ii) the present and potential future scientific communities in this field that could be defined, iii) the DDLS program and the relevant research areas, iv) opportunities provided by international links, such as EMBL, as well as grant programs nationally and in the EU. In addition, as SciLifeLab also has similar capability programs underway in pandemic laboratory preparedness and in molecular precision medicine, it is possible to link up planetary biology research with e.g. human health, such as along the one health concept.


We seek senior scientist/group leader/professor level experts who either alone or together with individuals with complementary expertise, can plan the SciLifeLab national strategy for Planetary Biology, and to help launch research capabilities within this field. Thus, it is possible to use these funds for a single 50% FTE assignment or divide the role between a lead and one or several co-leads, who will jointly lead the program (in total 0,5 FTE/yr assignment). SciLifeLab will compensate the host department of the selected candidate(s) with a fixed sum as support for the assignment according to commitment. There are also some funds available to support a part-time coordinator for this capability. In addition, SciLifeLab platforms are asked to nominate a contact person to work with the Scientific lead.

The call is launched on December 15, and the deadline for applications is on January 20th. Selection process and interviews with top candidates will take place in January-February 2022, and the candidate will be nominated to the SciLifeLab Board by March 2022. The planned start of the assignment is on April-June 2022.  The nomination will be initially made for one year, but a successful candidate is hopefully able and interested to continue for the duration of the current government budget cycle i.e. until the end of 2024.

We expect the ideal candidate to have:

– Interest and ability to devote a part of his/her time over several years to the launch and execution of the Planetary Biology Capability at SciLifeLab. Existing appointment is required at any of the Swedish universities.
– Basic knowledge of one and ideally more than one technology, infrastructure unit or platform at SciLifeLab.
– Documented expertise and interest in one or more areas in relevant molecular aspects of planetary biology (e.g. biodiversity, molecular ecology, microbial ecosystems etc)

We also value:

– Expertise on team science collaborations and a solid track record of research funding.

We offer:

– An exciting environment, working with the entire SciLifeLab organization and major national stakeholders, such as universities, government organizations and funding agencies
– An important national role, with high visibility
– Opportunity to interact across the nation, in collaboration with major research programs, such as DDLS
– Some support to coordination tasks, meeting arrangements, communication and data support (via DDLS) to support the tasks involved
– Ability to influence decisions on calls for equipment and technology development projects  at SciLifeLab.


Please apply via through the form below. The call opens on December 15 and closes on January 20th. Note: It is possible for a several people to coordinately apply as co-leads, but each person should apply separately and will first be individually evaluated. The total assignment time available for this task is about 0.5 FTE total.

Your application should include:

  • Cover letter (0,5-1 page) summarizing your personal motivations for this assignment, as well as education, experience, research area etc. that make you a strong candidate for this position. Your present role and position in your organization.
  • Whether you apply as a single person for the full 0,5 FTE assignment, or for a smaller FTE share. Please indicate if you have particular co-leads in mind. Note that it is not necessary to define the co-leads at the time of application.
  • Short description (max 1 A4 page) of initial ideas and plans on how you would focus and structure planetary biology capability at SciLifeLab
  • CV of a maximum of 5 pages (including publication list, selected papers only)

Please, contact
Application is now closed

Last updated: 2022-01-21

Content Responsible: Alice Sollazzo(