Further particulars relating to the Post of PROFESSOR/ ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF BIOTECHNOLOGY
The Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology at Rhodes University has a long track record of research and supervision in Biotechnology and was indeed the first institution within South Africa to offer courses in Biotechnology. The teaching of Biotechnology at the University commenced in 1986, with the first Honours course offered at a South African University established in the Microbiology Department by Professor Peter Rose. A chair in Biotechnology was established in 1995 with Peter Rose appointed as its first Professor.
Since then Biotechnology at Rhodes University has penetrated all levels of the value chain in this field from teaching and postgraduate supervision to technology transfer, product development and job creation.
At RhodesUniversity and locally, biotechnology is vested within the newly established School of Biotechnology which provides for a dynamic cross-disciplinary and cross-cutting approach to biotechnology research within Rhodes and regionally. This encompasses the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology, the Research Institute for Environmental Biotechnology Rhodes University (EBRU), and local biotechnology Industry. Additional affiliations within the School of Biotechnology include Investec Business School, the Nanotechnology Innovation Centre in Sensors, the Centre for Chemico- and Biomedicinal Research, the Research Niche Area in “Biomolecular Interactions: Fundamental Studies and Biotechnological Applications”, the Institute for Water Research, Department of Botany, and the National Bioinformatics Network (NBN) node at RU.
The Department’s Vision and Mission statement is “To be an international centre of excellence in teaching and research in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology". The department aims to maintain the highest standards in the undergraduate and postgraduate teaching of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology as fundamental scientific disciplines. The approach to the teaching and research of Biotechnology is directed towards fundamental, applied and industrially significant programmes of activity.
Teaching of Biotechnology
Biotechnology as a degree programme is offered at the Honours, Masters and PhD levels. At the undergraduate level Biotechnology courses are taught within the formal Biochemistry and Microbiology degree programmes offered at the second and third year level.
At Rhodes, biotechnology research is broad based (covering the fields of nanobiotechnology, biosensors, bioremediation, wastewater treatment, biofuels, stem cell research, infection and disease, biomedical biotechnology, process biotechnology, plant biotechnology, drug design and development and neuroscience etc) and with a strong emphasis on the linkage between fundamental research and Biotechnology applications in these areas. This has resulted in the scale-up development of a number of processes from fundamental studies through to fully industrial processes including Mycoroot, Makana Meadery, Synexa Life Sciences. Of note is the Institute for Environmental Biotechnology which was first established as a research field station under the auspices of the department before gaining status as an independent institute. Several processes including the Rhodes BioSURE have reached commercial scale production.
The Department also hosts the South African Biotechnology Conference “Biotech SA” which is held in Grahamstown.
The Department is administered in the Science Faculty and has an establishment of 9 full-time academic staff who are actively involved in teaching and research. A technical and secretarial staff of 12 supports practical teaching and administration of the Department.
The Department is located in the Biological SciencesBuilding at Rhodes University. The department has access to the following facilities:
Nanotechnology Innovation Centre, DNA Sequencing Facility, QCMD facility, Confocal Microscope Facility, 600 MHz NMR facility with protein capabilities, Atomic Force Microscopy Facility, Electron Microscopy suite and comprehensively equipped Molecular Biology facilities.
Other equipment includes Raman spectroscopy, voltammetry, FTIR, XRD, ICP, HPLC, GC, AA, CE, TOC analyzer, amongst others.
Each staff member has a laboratory at their disposal for postgraduate research activities. A dedicated biotechnology laboratory including student and postdoctoral office space is available for the new incumbent.
Grahamstown is a small historical city with a well-developed infrastructure. It is situated within half an hour’s drive of the South East coast of South Africa (Port Alfred and Kenton), within around an hour’s drive of Port Elizabeth, a major industrial centre, and within 15 minutes of both private and national game reserves set amongst the unspoilt backdrop of malaria free Eastern Cape. As an educational centre within the region, the city boasts some of the country’s top private and public schools and hosts the internationally acclaimed National Festival of Arts and Culture, Scifest Africa, Africa’s largest science festival, amongst others. Grahamstown is also home to the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (formerly the JLB Smith Institute for Aquatic Sciences), SAEON (South African Environmental Observatory Network) and publishing groups including NISC SA and African Journals online.
Rhodes University offers academics a collegial working environment in which its small size contributes to the quality of work life experienced by staff. The Research and Development office headed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development actively assists researchers while the Centre of Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning headed by the Dean of Teaching and Learning supports academics in Quality Assurance in teaching.
New staff are offered the following benefits:
- payment of reasonable relocation expenses by the institution (further details are provided with an offer of employment);
- transit accommodation for at least six months, possibly up to one year, at reasonable market-related prices, subject to availability of such accommodation;
- possible transferral of academic leave credits (further details are provided with an offer of employment);
- competitive medical aid benefits (Rhodes University runs its own in-house medical aid scheme which has resulted in it being able to offer benefits that compare favourably with other service providers at a lower cost price) and an employer contribution of 50% of medical aid costs;
- competitive pension/provident fund options with an employer contribution of 15%;
- payment of a service bonus (further details are provided with an offer of employment); and
- housing allowance or subsidy (further details are provided with an offer of employment).
In the remuneration offered for this post, a cash component (salary) is quoted for the pension fund and the non-contributory provident fund. In the case of the Non-Contributory Provident Fund all monies (22.5%) are paid directly to the provident fund on behalf of the employee. As a result the cash component of remuneration is lower than for the equivalent cash amount on the pension fund. In the case of the Pension/Provident Fund, the employer contributes 15% to the fund.
The cash component/salary is the basic cash portion of the salary excluding any other payments (e.g. company portion of medical aid, UIF, HoD allowances, employer Pension fund contribution, employer Provident fund contribution, housing allowance etc). This basic portion includes the employee portions of contributions to pension and medical aid. The total remuneration package offered includes benefits outlined in points 4 to 7 above. The total remuneration package may vary slightly due to the extent of the medical aid benefits utilized.
Rhodes University is currently engaged in reviewing its remuneration strategy for academic staff. The University’s current remuneration strategy is to pay academics at the 50th percentile of the Higher Education market. This positions the institution in the “middle” of this employment market. From January 2008 the remuneration packages of current academics were adjusted to ensure that all the remuneration of these staff were clustered around the 50th percentile. The remuneration packages offered to prospective staff have also been adjusted accordingly to be competitive at the 50th percentile. An offer made to a prospective staff member will seek to ensure parity with current staff members.
Application and selection process
The closing date for applications is 13 February 2009. Short-listing will take place on 24 February and short-listed candidates will be contacted shortly thereafter. Interviews for short-listed candidates will take place during the course of 16 March 2009. On the same day candidates will be required to give a seminar on their research interests and vision to staff and postgraduate students of 20 minutes duration, followed by five minutes of questions and answers.
The completed application, accompanied by a curriculum vitae, must be received by the Recruitment & Selection Section, Rhodes University, P O Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140 or by email@example.com by aforementioned closing date.
Prospective applicants should consult the University’s home page http://www.ru.ac.za/bmb.