Call for applications · Director at Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu (IRSJD)

Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu (IRSJD) is a biomedicine research and innovation centre. The IRSJD was established in 2015 through a collaboration agreement signed by the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital (HSJD), Universitat de Barcelona, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu (PSSJD) and Fundació de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu (FSJD). In 2022, the IRSJD became a CERCA centre of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu (IRSJD) is a medical, academic, and university centre formed by research groups of the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital, Universitat de Barcelona, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu.

The IRSJD addresses research from the perspective of the human development life cycle, directing research activity towards biological and psychological problems relating to paediatric diseases and adult health problems that may arise and develop during childhood. This scientific and technological knowledge is the ideal platform for innovative clinical, diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive solutions for patients in their personal and social life projects.

The IRSJD develops research in paediatrics as a discipline dedicated to all aspects of the knowledge, well-being, health, and illness of new-borns and infants, children and adolescents, including physical, mental, psychological and social growth and development, in order to ensure a full adult life.

Therefore, the IRSJD indivisibly integrates both the scope of healthcare (HSJD and PSSJD) and biomedical science, addressing medical questions that arise from clinical practice with scientific approaches. We are seeking scientific answers to clinical questions by applying the basic principles of science and techniques in cell biology and genetics (IBUB), cognitive neuroscience and psychology (UBneuro), biomedical engineering and technology transfer (CREB), and Adult Patient Monitoring (PSSJD) comprising not only biomedical but also technological, epidemiological and health economics aspects.

The IRSJD aims to become an internationally renowned centre for biomedical research in paediatrics, but also with an interest in overall human development.

Around 700 professionals are linked to the IRSJD.

It has its headquarters in Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona.

The Research Foundation Sant Joan de Déu (FSJD) is the managing entity of the IRSJD.

The IRSJD undertakes its research mainly in the following areas

Medicine and Pediatric Science Area

  • Neuroscience
  • Paediatric Cancer
  • Adaptive Respnse, Metabolism and Immunobiology
  • Precisin Medicine in Rare Diseases
  • Assciated Clinical Research Groups

Mental Health Area

  • Mental Health and Sciety
  • Scientific base and apprach to mental disorders

Transversal Program

  • Health Technlogies and Innovation

The IRSJD's Strategic Objectives:

The IRSJD will conduct research activities in the priority areas, promoting collaboration and cooperation with other research centres and groups in order to:

  • Promote quality basic, clinical, epidemiological and health service research and innovation.
  • Develop research and innovation programmes and projects or training of researchers, with special attention to the scientific training of professionals in research methodology and to the needs of the field of Primary Care.
  • Ensure the quality, ethics and deontological principles of research, in line with the values ​​defined in the Constitutions of the Order of San Juan de Dios.
  • Promote the participation of IRSJD research groups in stable cooperative research structures.
  • Promote a culture of excellence in health research and innovation, facilitating relationships and collaborations between research professionals with lines of work and interests common to those of the IRSJD.
  • Promote the efficient use of IRSJD resources and infrastructure.
  • Promote the translation of results:
    • To society and to the health system, transferring the knowledge arising from its activity to clinical practice.
    • To the scientific community, publicising its activity through the publications written and the institute's scientific reports.
    • To the economic system, promoting innovation and the transfer of results

Candidate profile

The IRSJD is seeking applicants with a proven track record in leadership, a distinguished record of scientific excellence, and the innovative thinking necessary to lead a dynamic organisation. The selected candidate must meet the challenge of increasing the scientific level of the IRSJD and boosting the translational research carried out by the Institute.

The IRSJD is an equal opportunities employer, and female candidates are strongly encouraged to send their applications.

Applicant profile:

  1. PhD or comparable degree in Life Sciences or Health.
  2. Distinguished record of scientific excellence in Biomedicine.
  3. Research management experience and proven innovative thinking to lead a dynamic organisation. 
  4. Knowledge of strategic planning, resource allocation, and human resource management.
  5. Experience in managing international research projects. Knowledge of international research programmes (H2020, NIH, etc.) will be positively considered.
  6. A certain level of clinical background.
  7. Knowledge of the Spanish and Catalan Scientific, Health and University system.
  8. Professional experience in an inter-institutional environment will be positively considered.
  9. Positive assessment in programmes of professional excellence in the field of research (ICREA, etc.) will be considered an added value.
  10. The candidate's role as a principal investigator of projects funded in competitive calls will be considered an added value.
  11. The elected candidate will commit to incorporate his/her line of work and research activity, as well as his/her resources available for implementation in IRSJD.
  12. Ability to develop and implement innovation and transfer projects in the field of biomedicine (Responsible Research Innovation (RRI)).
  13. Advanced level of proficiency in English. Where the selected candidate does not speak Catalan or Spanish, he/she will be given a short time to learn it.

Job description:

The director will be responsible for the following duties and responsibilities, in coordination with the FSJD Director:

The director will have the following duties:

  • Manage, organise and lead the research and innovation activities at the IRSJD.
  • Provide scientific vision and strategic goals for the IRSJD.
  • Submit the research activities programme and annual operational budget to the members of the Board of Trustees.
  • Guarantee financial sustainability and provide for sources of income (competitive funds, private sponsors, etc.).
  • Supervise economic activities and control human resource management, with direct involvement in those issues relating to the selecting or appointing of research positions.
  • Represent the Institute at official and social events, in coordination with the President and other members of the Board of Trustees.
  • Any other duties that might be approved by the Board of Trustees.


  • Define a strategic plan and monitor its implementation. Report at meetings of the Board of Trustees.
  • Keep CERCA and Generalitat de Catalunya regularly informed of the Institute's progress.
  • Participate in the periodic CERCA evaluation of the IRSJD.
  • Lead and manage the innovation, generated technology and knowledge transfer strategy and activities related thereto. Define a model for innovation/translation in the IRSJD.
  • Coordinate periodic scientific assessments of the IRSJD's research programmes and core facilities, and implement recommendations by the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).
  • Promote and support, with direct involvement, the development of the IRSJD's main lines of strategic research.
  • Lead a strategy for the Internal Scientific Committee and ensure their regular meetings
  • Lead the elaboration and timely delivery of the IRSJD Annual Scientific Report.
  • Promote research in the IRSJD area of influence (hospitals and university), motivating and facilitating those professionals the possibility to initiate their research.
  • Negotiate contracts for new group leaders or programme coordinators, whenever appropriate.
  • Participate in strategic decision-making, such as in the case of strategic alliances with other research institutions, in line with the IRSJD's mission, structure and background.
  • Remain in permanent contact with Universities in order to make agreements to coordinate strategies, activities, research infrastructures and technical services.
  • Communicate and disseminate the IRSJD's research activities.
  • Manage the IRSJD's research infrastructure.
  • Define strategies and actively seek to increase the financial capabilities and sources of income of the IRSJD.
  • Sign the commitment to the CERCA Code of Conduct and implement it in the IRSJD.

Conditions of Employment

Salary will be commensurate with experience and competences. Specific conditions will be negotiated during the selection process.

Moreover, being able to join the IRSJD shortly after the selection process will be also considered an added value.

Contact information

Applicants should send a CV and a cover letter by e-mail to the Director of CERCA at Preselected candidates will be asked to prepare and present an Action Plan related to the IRSJD's Strategic Plan.

Selection of candidates

Suitable candidates will be identified in a ranked list by three members of the SAB, drawing on input by any other expert that the SAB might require.

The Board of Trustees will be responsible for the final stages of the selection process. The Board of Trustees may create an ad-hoc Committee involving some of its members to provide a short list of pre-selected candidates. Candidates included in the short list may be invited to visit the IRSJD and meet the ad-hoc Committee for a final interview. The results of these interviews will be presented to the Board of Trustees, which will appoint the new Director.

The appointment will be for a period of 4 years, which may be extended in agreement with the Foundation's Board of Trustees.

Tentative Calendar

  • 17 November, 2022 Call for applications opens
  • 14 December, 2022 Deadline for applications
  • 30 December, 2022 List of candidates prioritised by SAB
  • 13 January, 2023 Short list of pre-selected candidates chosen by the ad-hoc Committee
  • 17 January, 2023 Appointment of the new Director by the Board of Trustees