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15 July 2022

BRBC Director

About the project and the mission

The Italian government, the Region of Sicily and Italy’s National Research Council, initiated a partnership with UP and UPMC in 1997, first, to manage ISMETT in Palermo, one of Europe’s leading transplant and high-specialty centers. This successful public-private model was expanded, and they founded the Ri.MED Foundation, located in Palermo, in 2006.

The Foundation mission was to promote, support, and lead research projects with an emphasis on translating innovative results into clinical practice. Ri.MED has since broken ground on the Biomedical Research and Biotechnology Center (BRBC), which will investigate the most contemporary topics in biomedical research and is expected to become a scientific focal point for researchers from all over the world. The center will be in Carini, a few kilometers from Palermo airport. The BRBC will allow Sicily to take a leading position in the development of new generation drugs, vaccines, and medical devices, attracting leading researchers to Palermo and retaining the best Italian doctors and scientists in our country.

The BRBC, which will be funded by the Italian government, will be managed by UPMC with support from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and in conjunction with the Ri.MED Board of Directors. Construction of the 25,000 square meter research facility is slated to be completed by early 2024. It is expected that research at the BRBC will focus broadly on neurobiology and diseases of aging, infectious disease and immunology, oncology, and cardiovascular diseases.

When fully operational, the BRBC is expected to employ 50 principal investigators and the associated researchers, technicians, research fellows, students, administrators, and service personnel on a campus that will eventually include an affiliated new hospital. Ultimately BRBC will employ up to 600 people.

The BRBC is expected to develop research partnerships with other Italian centers, as well as European and American scientists interested in the same lines of research. Representing a management model of public-private partnership, the BRBC will be able to dialogue with universities and research institutions on the one hand and with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on the other to develop strategic alliances and attract funding and investment for scientific research. It will also host a business incubator, where small companies, spin-offs and startups in the sector can find space and thus, able to overcome the information asymmetries between research and the potential market, with considerable positive effects on the entire Sicilian economy.

The role

Efforts are underway to recruit the first Director of the BRBC. This visionary leader will develop, implement, and execute the research strategy of the BRBC in the pre-opening phase and after the opening, during the BRBC operating phase.

The BRBC Director will lead the BRBC Scientific and Administrative Management Teams in accordance with guidance from the Ri.MED Foundation Board of Directors and the Scientific Committee and will be based in Carini (PA) – Sicily.

The role requires a full-time commitment and is not compatible with affiliation to any other organization.

Key responsibilities before the BRBC opening

  • Drafting the three-year research plan
  • Selecting scientific programs to be submitted for approval to the Scientific Committee
  • Making recommendations on strategic directives, guidelines, and internal policies
  • Managing the process of selection and recruitment of researchers in the phase preceding the opening of the BRBC
  • Periodic reporting to the Ri.MED Foundation Board of Directors and Scientific Committee

Key responsibilities during the BRBC operating phase

  • Managing the BRBC Scientific and Administrative Teams
  • Setting the scientific priorities for the BRBC
  • Managing/monitoring the BRBC budget, including research budgets, and the use of research resources
  • Implementing the BRBC strategy by providing oversight of the research activities of principal investigators and their teams
  • Promoting highly significant research leading to major discoveries – this is likely to involve national and inter-national collaboration with other higher education institutions or industry
  • Actively investigating funding opportunities, including submission of research grant applications from external sources
  • Identifying and fostering the development of cutting-edge technologies for the BRBC
  • Assuring that the research at the BRBC leads to high impact publications
  • Increasing the visibility of the BRBC through scientific presentations by BRBC faculty at national and international venues
  • Overseeing the conflict-of-interest process for faculty and staff
  • Preparing and submitting to the Ri.MED Foundation Board of Directors and Scientific Committee strategic, technical, scientific, legal, budgetary, and administrative assessments as well as annual activity plan and activity reports
  • Recruiting and retaining top scientists and key research and administrative staff
  • Implementing a career development program for faculty and staff

About you

  • Proven experience in leading a major program or institution, managing budgets (research grants, contracts with the private sectors, etc.), and monitoring project progress and budget
  • Outstanding scientific track record in academia or other public/private biomedical research organizations and/or industry
  • Experience in the start-up, management, and development of successful health, biological or biomedical public, private, academic and/or industry research centers/facilities
  • Demonstrates broad experience in leading, motivating and developing interdisciplinary health, biological or biomedical research teams to address complex research problems involving multiple stakeholders (i.e., executive staff, members of the academic, clinical, professional, and industry sectors, and the general community)
  • Knowledge of neurobiology, diseases of aging, infectious disease, immunology, oncology and cardiovascular diseases, with in depth expertise in one or more of these areas
  • International mindset and accustomed to work in an international environment
  • Inspirational, passionate leader with gravitas, charisma and ability to communicate and influence effectively
  • Excellent relationship management skills, with demonstrated ability in liaising at a high level with the academic community, government bodies, industry, and other stakeholders
  • Strong personal networks in European and international health, biological and biomedical research, and industry communities
  • Strong collaboration and influencing skills, effectively engaging stakeholders and driving alignment across multiple functions to achieve results, engaging in joint decision making and resolving conflicts
  • Fluent in English
  • Familiarity with the Italian language (preferable) or willingness to acquire linguistic skills in Italian

If you believe you match these values, send your application to the following e-mail:

BRBC@egonzehnder.com