Director of Innovation Factories

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 Jul 2021

Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University – XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang)

CONTRACT TYPE: Fixed-Term/3-year contract, renewable. 3rd contract is open-ended

University Overview

Located in Suzhou, China, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is a young, dynamic and EMI university founded in 2006, and is a unique collaborative institution and first joint-venture university in China to offer both UK (University of Liverpool) and Chinese (Ministry of Education) accredited undergraduate degrees for more than 100 programmes. XJTLU also aims to become truly research-led and has committed significant investment into research development and the expansion of master’s and PhD student numbers on campus. The university has over 18,000 students and nearly 1000 academic staff representing in excess of 90 nationalities. For detailed information about the university, please visit

Institution Background

Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is building a new teaching site in Taicang city - XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang campus), with the collaboration of the Taicang Municipal Government and industry partners, as part of its strategic priorities for the next ten years. The Taicang campus will be a pioneer of, and an educational model for, the future campus in developing talents and leaders to meet local, national, and global challenges from the 4th Industrial Revolution. XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang campus) is directed by a Leadership Team, which is comprised of the Taicang Principal, Taicang Associate Principal, Chief Operating Officer, School Deans and Director of Innovation Factories. 

Position Overview

As a member of the Taicang campus Leadership Team, the Director of Innovation Factories will lead and contribute to interdisciplinary innovation, research and knowledge exploitation, and incubation and acceleration through working collaboratively with the Deans of Schools, Directors of Education, Research & Development Institute, and Heads of professional divisions of the University.
Innovation Factories are one of the features of the XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang). They are spaces at the campus for catalysing, facilitating and testing ideas as well as places for learning, teaching, research and innovation. They can be either developed at the School level with a specific focus on one discipline or an industry sector, or they are built at the campus level, with common tools and facilities being shared by different Schools, external partners and local entrepreneurs.
The Director of Innovation Factories will be responsible for the development, implementation, launch, and management of both campus level and School level innovation factories. The post holder will be based in XJTLU Suzhou Campus before XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang campus) opens in 2022. The successful applicant will be a trusted provider of expertise, strategic insight, internal and external influence and entrepreneurial mindset, with a deep commitment to supporting and developing colleagues to succeed and the ability to build both formal and informal teams and networks to work together with creativity and impact.

Responsibilities and Duties

  • Direct, and provide strategic and operational leadership of, services delivered across the University through Innovation Factories. 
  • Building on existing research and corporate strengths and activities, define, develop, and implement Innovation Factories for individual Schools as well as shared ones. 
  • Lead on the development of the governance, processes, policies, and operational protocols of Innovation Factories to ensure these are shaped by academic input and industrial perspectives. 
  • Working closely with the Chief Operating Officer, develop centralised professional services support for Innovation Factories. 
  • Keep under regular review the key strategic risks and opportunities, internal and external shareholders to Innovation Factories, relating to the campus strategic plan and the University’s priorities. 
  • Provide executive-level strategic advice, briefings, and support to the Principal, Associate Principal, Deans of School, industry partners for innovation, knowledge exploitation, incubation and acceleration, and serve on a range of institutional committees and groups. 
  • Build effective and collaborative working relationships with academic divisions and other University units and services areas in the delivery of key priority agendas. 
  • Maintain a strong personal external network to be able to access early-stage intelligence and good practice from across the research and entrepreneurial community and exert influence. 
  • Represent the XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang campus) at a senior level in government meetings, external forums, recruitment fairs, regional and national bodies. 
  • Perform any other worked related tasks assigned by the line manager, or the University Senior Management Team. 
  • Essential Qualifications/Experiences

  • Substantial experience and significant achievement at leadership level in research engagement and innovation in a higher education institution, or a similar context.
  • A track record of success in the development and implementation of innovation centres, incubators, or entrepreneurship projects.
  • Proven experience in building and leading high-performing and collaborative project teams to deliver major institution-wide initiatives.
  • Credibility amongst academic leaders and external partners, personal authority and the ability to take key strategic decisions and represent the institution at a senior level.
  • A highly-developed external network and proven experience of operating at the most senior levels with a wide range of external stakeholders, sector networks, funders and government departments and agencies.
  • A strong customer service ethos, ability and achievement in a services planning, coordination and delivery role, in driving team performance and implementing customer service measures.
  • Excellent change management skills and a track record of review and improvement and innovation in service design and delivery. Enthusiasm for implementing change and the ability to bring new approaches to facilitating innovation. Ability to influence and lead change beyond one’s own functional unit.
  • Substantial experience of successful staff management with the demonstrated ability to exercise formal and informal leadership, to bring fresh thinking to tasks, to lead by example and supporting colleagues to succeed with a demonstrable commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Outstanding organisational skills, and ability to prioritise at individual and team levels, to be sensitive to the pressures facing other groups and individuals and to work to deadlines and under pressure.
  • Ability to communicate with a high degree of competence in both written and spoken English and Modern Standard Chinese.
  • This is a full-time role and the working hours will be Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with one hour for lunch each working day. On some occasions, the role-holder is expected to work flexibly outside office hours. The job description is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive but will develop, in consultation with the role-holder, as circumstances change.

    Compensation Package

    Members of Academic Staff are entitled to subsidies for accommodation, travel, and children’s educational, medical insurance, and a one-time relocation allowance is provided. Overseas staff may receive a tax “holiday,” depending on nationality and personal circumstances.

    Citizenship and Visa Regulations

    Employment at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is regulated by Chinese Labour Laws, and must comply with the regulations of the provincial government. These regulations stipulate who is eligible for legal employment with regard to obtaining work permits and visas.  Please be advised candidates over 65 may be not eligible for a work visa in the P.R. China.

    To Apply

    Please submit your applications online .

    You should send your CV and cover letter (in English) outlining your interest in the position and your accomplishments in the area that is relevant to the position. Applications for the post should be received by 31st July 2021

    Informal enquiries may be directed to the Associate Principal of the Entrepreneur College (Taicang) at XJTLU, Professor Stuart Perrin (Email:

    If you are unable to apply on-line please contact the Human Resource Office.

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