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Director General

ESS is searching for a Director General


  • Closing soon
  • Closing date: 01 Mar 2021
  • Sweden | European Spallation Source
  • Date posted: 18 Jan 2021
  • Job type: Research facilities

The European Spallation Source (ESS), a multi-disciplinary research facility, is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), based in Lund, Sweden. The vision is to create the world’s most powerful neutron source able to deliver excellent and innovative scientific research related to materials, energy, health and the environment.

ESS is searching a director general.

The director general (DG) has the overall responsibility for the management of ESS. The construction phase started in 2014 and initial operations began in 2019. Completion of the machine and instruments will continue in parallel with commissioning and initial operations until 2025. At this time, the primary duty of the DG is to complete the construction and to achieve the operational, technical and scientific performance required for ESS to become the world leading facility for research using neutron radiation by the second quarter of the 21st century.

The DG will represent ESS in the international scientific community and technical world as well as in different international and regional political and public relations contexts.

The DG reports to the ESS Council. Presently 13 European countries are members of ESS-ERIC and represented in the council. The DG should give scientific legitimacy to ESS with the clear aim of attracting new members.

The DG shall determine the scientific direction, technical construction and financial matters while taking political prerequisites into considerations, all within the framework of the vision, strategy, and budget approved by council. This includes active engagement with ESS Member States to agree on project scope and and align it with the available funding.

Main responsibilites

The main responsibility of the DG is to provide effective leadership and management of ESS including being responsible for staff and budgets.

The DG shall further develop the existing organisational structure and the team of staff that will secure immediate and long-term success of ESS. The DG shall also assure and develop a suitable organisation for the transition from the construction to the operational phase of ESS and provide strong and visible organisational as well as personal leadership with the ability to lead collaboratively in a complex environment. Furthermore, the DG is be both the outward-looking face of ESS and the leader of the internal ESS organisation, setting the tone, culture and values for ESS as an organisation.


The right person has distinguished records of leadership and experience of managing international large and complex projects and/or organisations, desirably with a strong scientific background.

The person should have substantial experience in construction and management of a large project lasting over long time and have a proven record in delivering on time, according to specifications and cost. Experience from leading a significant laboratory or advanced scientific research facility especially with an international background and with the purpose of providing advanced experimental facilities and services to an external user community is meriting.

Experience in change management is desirable since the organisation will transition from a construction project into an operational organisation.

Personality/personal characteristics

We are looking for a strong leader who can motivate and lead staff, giving room for development and growth of the individuals in the organization and in the management team. Furthermore, the successful candidate will have demonstrated the ability to prioritize and skilfully handle multiple political, technical and scientific interests in a balanced way.

The successful candidate will have strong intellectual and analytical capabilities. He/she can easily get an overview over complex situations. Strong negotiation skills and experiences combined with a “business” oriented attitude are essential aspects of the position.

The candidate has strong communication and interpersonal skills, including the ability to establish and maintain trusting relationships with senior stakeholders in a complex international environment, including relationships with both ESS council and workforce.

In addition, the candidate has a proven ability to lead a management team through appropriate delegation.

What ESS can offer

We offer attractive employment and relocation conditions, the flexibility to balance work life with private life and good opportunities to further enhance your skills. You will be part of an organisational culture that promotes openness, collaboration, sustainability and excellence. ESS is committed to being a diverse, inclusive and non-discriminatory workplace where all people are treated with equal respect and have equal opportunities to contribute fully to the success of the organization.

Duration and location

The assignment is for five years with the option to re-apply.

Employment should start during autumn 2021 with the goal of officially assuming the role as DG before the end of the year 2021.

The position is based in Lund, Sweden.

Application and contact

Please provide your curriculum vitae and cover letter in English by submitting it to the ESS website by clicking on “apply” and following the instructions. Please note we only accept applications via the ESS website.

The deadline for applications is 1 March 2021.

For further information regarding the recruiment process, please contact HR Officer Tina Nilsson,

We look forward to receiving your application.



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