Sign In
 [New User? Sign Up]
Mobile Version

Scientific Director (Ref: IRG_DiSTAP_2017_001)

Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology

Singapore, 138602
Job Type:
Job Status:
Full Time
  • Design/Development Engineering
  • Management
  • Nanotechnology
  • Research
Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology
  • Save Ad
  • Email Friend
  • Print

Job Details

Scientific Director (Ref: IRG_DiSTAP_2017_001)

Disruptive, Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision (DiSTAP) Interdisciplinary Research Group


Overview of DiSTAP


Food security is a growing global concern. Singapore, as an island city-state with little to no arable land, is almost completely dependent on other nations to feed its population of >5M. Additionally, 15% of the world’s 7.4-billion-person population currently lacks access to sufficient calories or micronutrients and is malnourished. The ability of traditional agricultural practices to meet the world’s growing nutritional demand (with the global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050) is further threatened by climate and political instability as well as increased demand for energy and water. Novel methods and technologies for the efficient and sustainable production of foodstuffs are needed to ensure both Singapore, and global food security.


The Disruptive and Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision (DiSTAP) program will develop a suite of novel analytical, genetic and biosynthetic technologies that will fundamentally change how plant biosynthetic pathways are discovered, monitored, engineered and ultimately translated to meet the global demand for food and nutrients. As a part of the DiSTAP program we will: (1) develop new tools, based on single walled carbon nanotubes and Raman spectroscopy, for the continuous measurement of important plant metabolites and hormones for novel discovery, deeper understanding and control of plant biosynthetic pathways in ways not yet possible, especially in the context of green leafy vegetables; (2) leverage these new techniques to engineer plants with highly desirable properties for global food security, including high yield density production, drought and pathogen resistance and biosynthesis of high-value commercial products; (3) develop tools for producing hydrophobic food components in industry-relevant microbes; (4) develop technologies for rewriting the genome of important industry-relevant microbial strains, to enable the introduction of long heterologous pathways, free up cellular resources, increase product yield, and improve safety and robustness; and (5) apply these technologies to improve urban farming.



Roles and Responsibilities


The Scientific Director will provide the day to day scientific oversight to the interdisciplinary research group (IRG) and assist with the development and integration of the IRG’s scientific vision, goals and objectives. The Scientific Director is responsible for the daily scientific direction and operation of the IRG. The Scientific Director reports to the Lead Principal Investigator, MIT Professor Michael Strano. The Scientific Director provides overall leadership for a diverse workforce that includes research scientists, post-doctoral students, graduate students, and technical staff. He or she will receive SMART PI status.

  • Responsible for the day to day scientific operation and management of the IRG;
  • Assist the Lead Principal Investigator to ensure that all the IRG projects are scientifically productive and are operating consistently with the descriptions in the principle investigator’s proposal;
  • Provide leadership and technical direction in carrying out the IRG’s research objectives, including helping researchers to plan and conduct relevant experiments;
  • Provide mentorship and career guidance to post-docs and graduate students;
  • Work with Singapore collaborators to strengthen and enhance the research projects;
  • Responsible for ensuring and maintaining a strong safety culture;
  • Assist with securing significant research funds from governmental and industry sponsors;
  • Represent the IRG at meetings with governmental agencies, industry sponsors or visitors;
  • Work with the intellectual property offices to ensure SMART IP is protected and/or licensed.
  • Work to bring the MIT culture to the IRG


  • Ph.D. in an engineering or science field.
  • Proven scientific contributions or experience in one or more of the following fields: carbon nanotube sensor development, polymer chemistry, Raman spectroscopy, microbial fermentation, genetic engineering, or plant biology.
  • At least 3 years of research management in a large-scale research centre or academic laboratory.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead a multi-disciplinary research effort
  • Strong interpersonal and relationship-building skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
  • Demonstrated experience in proposal writing
  • Ability to solve difficult research problems, especially in the scientific areas outlined above
  • An alumnus of MIT or previous MIT research appointment, strongly desired.



To apply, please visit our website at: . Interested applicants will have to submit their full CV/resume, cover letter and list of three references (to include reference names and contact information) via the stated website. We regret that only shortlisted candidates will be notified.