CONTACT: Mike Kelleher

2Blades is seeking exceptional candidates for an exciting opportunity as 2Blades Group Leader at Norwich BioScience Institutes (NBI) to help the organization make a positive impact on global agriculture and promote food security and climate adaptation. 2Blades’ research group is set within NBI, a research park with four international centers of excellence: Earlham Institute (EI), John Innes Centre (JIC), The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL), and Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB). These institutions have outstanding track records and resources in molecular plant science and microbiology, world-leading technology, and a community of >2500 scientists. 2Blades has a long association with TSL.

Background: 2Blades is a unique, non-profit, agbiotech organization with leading international expertise in plant science that contributes to the global value chain by advancing and delivering genetic resistance to the major unmanaged pests and diseases of major crops. Improved varieties that we develop extend a plant’s ability to recognize pathogens and activate its natural immune system to ward off disease. We work globally with the public and private sector to provide value by improving farmers’ productivity and incomes by reducing crop disease and yield loss, thereby contributing to more sustainable agriculture. We work on behalf of both large-scale and smallholder farmers, and to date have produced successful resistance in wheat, soy, potato, tomato, and citrus.

Group Leader NBI position: 2Blades seeks an entrepreneurially minded scientist to lead an exciting new position at 2Blades in order to establish a 2Blades’ research hub at the NBI. The Group Leader will develop new programs based on genetic resistance in legumes and solanaceous crops with the aim of delivering value to commercial partners and smallholder farmers. The group builds on 2Blades’ resources on key pathogens established in earlier 2Blades programs run at TSL, our deep knowledge of plant-pathogen interactions, proprietary tools for accessing disease-resistance genes, and a global network of public and private partners. The 2Blades group will leverage the strength of the NBI partnership and 2Blades’ strong reputation in the commercial seed industry, non-profit crop improvement organizations, and others.

The Group Leader NBI position is new, and the individual filling the role is expected to contribute their vision and creativity to build a successful program.

Job Function: The Group Leader will be responsible for establishing and overseeing programs for genetic resistance to pests of soybean and potato, as well as developing new leads and technologies needed to advance 2Blades’ mission. The group leader will: establish, lead, and develop a lab group; manage and support relationships with scientific collaborators; and advance resistant varieties for delivery partners. Cutting-edge research is a key part of the effort, as will be the successful execution of programs for field-scale exemplification of resistant, pre-commercial varieties in the field.


  • Craft and execute a high-caliber, international program, making use of 2Blades’ resources for resistance gene discovery
  • Exemplify 2Blades’ mission and core values of Trust, Autonomy, Professionalism, and Responsibility
  • Provide leadership and continuous development of the members of the 2Blades group
  • Ensure alignment with the wider 2Blades organization
  • Foster existing and establish new partnerships between key institutions to define product-focused project objectives, work plans, milestones, budgets, and inter-institutional arrangements
  • Oversee and maintain regular communications and visits with program partners
  • Analyze and troubleshoot program challenges
  • Develop and oversee project budgets
  • Participate in on-going funding support of programs
  • Represent 2Blades at conferences
  • Foster, cultivate, and grow a spirit of collaboration between 2Blades, the NBI, and other partners through mutually beneficial activities and interactions in research and training
  • Stay current with relevant scientific research
  • Participate in 2Blades management team and advance 2Blades mission


The candidate: We seek a candidate with strong scientific training and a focus on translation and practical applications in agriculture. The successful applicant will have an entrepreneurial spirit, a desire to build a strong culture of excellence and work-life balance, and the drive to deliver real-world impact in a unique science environment. Key experience and skills include:

  • A pro-active, creative, problem-solving mindset; ability to prioritize, focus, and meet targets; flexibility and willingness to learn
  • A track record of scientific excellence in molecular plant-microbe interactions in academia or industry
  • A PhD in Molecular Biology, Plant Breeding, Biotechnology, Plant pathology, or adjacent field
  • Experience in grant writing
  • Excellent use of English
  • Ability to clearly define goals, objectives, and relevant level of research investment
  • Ability to apply foresight to promote research activities on potential high-impact opportunities
  • Approachable; able to give and receive feedback constructively
  • Entrepreneurial, curious, able to spot opportunities and recognize risks in both short and long term.
  • Experience with management, and ability to address challenging behaviors in a direct and constructive way
  • Ability to ensure delivery of core objectives
  • A talent for communication with a diverse range of partners and stakeholders
  • Strongly mission-driven and collaborative


Location: The position will be based in Norwich, UK. Norwich ranks consistently in the top 5 of best places to live in UK; a vibrant small city with high culture, café culture, beautiful buildings boasting excellent facilities for childcare, schools, several areas of outstanding natural beauty and a 20-minute plane connection to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. The Group Leader will serve as site lead for 2Blades, which is headquartered in Evanston, IL, USA and interface with the NBI.

Compensation: A highly competitive compensation package, including base salary, retirement contribution, and complete health benefits, is available.

Apply: Interested candidates should submit a one-page cover letter and c.v. via email to Diana Horvath at No calls please. The position will remain open until September 15, 2022.