Applying for faculty positions at NCBS

NCBS is keen to consider applications from candidates with proven excellence in their field of research for faculty positions.We do not have a fixed number of ‘posts’, neither do we search for targeted research themes.If your track record demonstrates that you possess the requisite intellect, technical capabilities, commitment and potential, please do apply to us. Applications will be accepted throughout the year.

1. Faculty positions available

We normally consider candidates with 2-6 years of postdoctoral experience for a Reader (Assistant Professor) level position. If you are a senior independent investigator, we can consider you for positions at the Associate Professor or Professor level. For some early career applicants our Young Investigator Programme may be more appropriate.

2. Who can apply?

Currently the interests of our faculty range across scales of biology from single molecule biophysics to population biology and ecology. Modern biology is interdisciplinary and we are happy to consider applicants with backgrounds in the medical, physical sciences, chemistry or mathematics with strong research proposals in biology. We are also looking to hire in the areas of Neurosciences, Biodiversity and Conservation, Computational and Theoretical Biology/Data Science, Infectious Diseases/Epidemiology/Human Immunology, and Chemical Ecology.

Your research interest need not match the existing areas pursued at NCBS. While, we usually tap the large pool of internationally trained Indian scientists, people of any nationality are encouraged to apply.

3. What goes into a research proposal?

The research proposal is a key part of the application. It is expected that the candidates will present a reasonably detailed plan of the research that their labs will pursue. This proposal should describe a program, rather than a few projects. Plan to write with at least a five-year timespan in mind. We expect proposals to be ambitious rather than safe and formulaic, and should aim to address important basic questions in their field of interest.

4. How to apply (NCBS is now accepting online applications- Click here)

You will need your CV with a list of publications, and a 1-2 page summary of your research accomplishments.You may upload PDFs of your recent research papers to accompany your application.In addition, please send us a 3-5 page research proposal describing your plans for future research over a 5-10 year period.  Ensure that you bring out the importance of your general area of research, and of your specific projects in this context. When writing, please keep in mind that your application will be perused by biologists trained in diverse fields, potentially different from yours. You will also have to provide the names and addresses (including email) of eight referees who can comment on your application and on your abilities. If you experience any difficulty in this process please write to 'dean [at]'.

5. After you apply

Your application will undergo a preliminary screening together with others received, and we may write to your referees for their advice. If selected, you will be invited to visit NCBS.You may prompt your referees to send in their letters, but ask them to wait for our letter because we ask them specific questions about you.

Your application will be considered further only after you visit and will normally be kept “alive” for 6 to 8 months.

6. When you visit

You will not have to undergo a formal interview. You may instead be invited to give a research seminar and thereafter a chalk talk and during the visit, you will also have one to one interaction with faculty members. It will be nice if you can plan on spending at least one and a half days at NCBS, if you are invited.

The seminar: Give this the importance it deserves and provide some knowledge on relevant background in the area. We find that excellent talks are given by those who have practiced beforehand.Target your audience well; remember that it will have widely varied backgrounds and you could plan a slightly longer introduction if you feel your work is very different from what an audience at NCBS might be used to listening. Remember that presenting too much data can be counterproductive if you lose the audience early on. Make it obvious that you have not only the ability to produce data, but also the capability to think wisely about it. You have one hour; make the best use of it.

Meetings with individual faculty. We will schedule a series of meetings with a section of the faculty.The meetings with individual faculty will be informal and interactive and give you a chance to discuss your research interests in more detail.You will also have an opportunity to learn the research interests of different faculty members. Faculty members will be keen to find out how your experience and research abilities will enrich NCBS.

Faculty members will also describe their own work to you. If you have taken the trouble to find out what each one works on, so much the better.

Meetings with the Dean and/or NCBS Director. Come prepared with a list of all that you would need to get started at NCBS, if you were to be selected.Make sure you have thought about all you need to be productive in as short a time as possible in NCBS.

NCBS has been rather generous in providing start-up funds for new investigators it wants.

7. Then what

Your application will be looked at closely by the faculty search committee and based on the recommendation, your case may be presented to and be discussed by the whole faculty. We feel it necessary that the faculty be generally enthusiastic. Upon a positive response from the faculty, your application will be steered through an internal committee and the NCBS Management Board. All this can take a few weeks, but we inform you soon of the outcome of the faculty deliberations.

8. Tenure

All positions are ‘tenure-track’; when you join NCBS you will be assigned a committee of mentors who will ensure that you understand the tenure process. The tenure process is initiated no later than 5.5 years after you join NCBS and its granting is dependent on your proven ability to have established a research program at NCBS.

Sanjay P. Sane
Dean of Faculty, NCBS
dean at ncbs dot res dot in