Professor/Head of Department Genetics with ambitions for Personalized Genomics


Department of Genetics

Working Enviroment

The University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) is located in Groningen, in the northern Netherlands. It is one of eight Dutch university medical centres. Our strength is the close combination of patient care, research, teaching and training, with Healthy Ageing as the uniting theme. The UMCG holds ISO certificates for its four core tasks of patient care, research, teaching and training. The core tasks of the medical departments are organized in six sectors.

The Department of Genetics covers all aspects of heredity, in the fields of both patient care and scientific research, and it is actively involved in teaching students of Medicine, Life Sciences & Technology, and Bio-informatics. As a department in the UMCG, Genetics aims to be an expertise centre in the fields of genome analysis and genetic counselling, characterized by close cooperation between all the disciplines. The Department of Genetics has approximately 250 employees, spread over six sections: Genome Diagnostics, Clinical Genetics, Research & Teaching, Development & Innovation, Systems Genetics, and Administration. In patient care we expect to deal with some 6,600 patients in 2017; these are referred to our outpatient clinics for genetic tests and counselling, often within a multidisciplinary setting. We perform more than 20,000 diagnostic laboratory tests annually.

The mission of the Department of Genetics is to unravel the genetic causes of disease and to develop methods to permit knowledge to be applied quickly and responsibly in patient care for prevention, diagnostics and treatment. The department’s ambition is to grow into a leading centre for “Personalized Genomics” within the next five years. In this respect the department’s cooperation with LifeLines, a major prospective cohort study, is considered essential.

Genome analysis is rapidly becoming a basic part of diagnostics, both for determining diagnoses as well as deciding on treatment. This means it is desirable to have genome analysis as primary testing in many clinical disciplines. The greatest challenge will be to use clinical genetic diagnostics for patients with common, multifactorial diseases, as well as for Mendelian diseases.

Increasingly, a multi-omics approach will be used and there will be more and more focus on the use of genetic risk profiling, which will offer new possibilities for both prevention and the choice of medication. These developments will open up unique chances for the department to profile itself even more widely as a knowledge centre, so that professionals, patients and their families can benefit from decision-supported care, in the broadest sense.
The department has set the following aims for the next five years:
- Remaining at the absolute top of the scientific fields related to genomics research and as an attractive department for acquiring international and national talent in order to be able to translate developments in the field into prevention and improvements in care.
- Growing into an international and national expertise centre in the field of genome interpretation and explanation, for other professionals as well as for patients and their families, through the development of automated decision-support tools and other techniques.
- Transforming genetic patient care into a genetics-first strategy and developing new areas of application, in cooperation with relevant professionals, including into multifactorial, complex (non-Mendelian) disorders and population screening.
- Improving the possibilities for preventive testing based on genetic risk profiling and the use of big data from population studies, e.g. LifeLines.
- Developing low-threshold information channels for genetic counselling for patients and care professionals via eHealth and digital health innovations.
- To be recognized as an international and national expertise and research centre for data sharing, biobanking, databases and systems genetics.

Job description

The head of the Department of Genetics is responsible for the quality and safety of patient care, the scientific research, the training and teaching, and for the department’s financial position. The position falls under the hierarchy of the UMCG Board. The department’s management team (MT) comprises all the section heads. The MT’s weekly meetings are chaired by the head of department.

One of the main tasks of the new head of department lies in further developing the centre for Personalized Genomics. The MT has set out a strategy for this up to 2020, in which the guiding theme is to reach a broadly applicable, integrated genome analysis and genetic counselling process, including using the opportunities offered by LifeLines. You will ensure the department remains on course towards the aims it has set and for incorporating its strategy to implement Personalized Genomics in the UMCG. To do this you will need to build networks with other departments within the UMCG.


Minimal qualifications
You are a professor with a background in Human Genetics. You have at least five to ten years’ experience in leading a complex professional organization like the Department of Genetics. You are widely recognized by your professional colleagues for your achievements. You have relevant administrative experience. You have the courage to take decisions when the management team requires direction.

Desired qualifications
- You are knowledgeable about current developments in Genetics, in the fields of patient care, training, and research.
- You can appreciate and value the aims the department has set itself and can lead the implementation of the strategic policy plan.
- You are a leading scientist.
- You see opportunities and are able to translate innovations in genomic analysis and the use of big data into new strategic targets.
- You are an innovative, inspirational and transparent leader, who will aim to foster excellent cooperation within the department and with external colleagues. You will work for the benefit of the department’s employees.
- You can appreciate and stimulate the strengths, talent and ambitions of the department’s sections and of individual employees.
- You will stand above the various parties and encourage what is good for the whole Genetics department and the UMCG.
- You can be a partner for strategic-level discussions and can relate easily to all the groups both within and outside the hospital.
- You are active in building networks and can build new relationships within and outside the hospital to further promote the field of Genetics.
- You have broad work experience of the Netherlands’ or another national health care system.

An assessment will be part of the selection procedure. We aim to make an appointment per 1 July 2017.

Conditions of employment

A full-time position as head of department.
Your salary will depend on your relevant work experience and qualifications. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and a development budget. The terms of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centers (CAO-UMC).

For more information:
please contact prof. dr. C. Wijmenga, email:

Applications should be submitted by the1st of June 2017 via the digital application form at the bottom of this page. After submission an email acknowledging receipt will be sent with further information on the application process.

If you prefer to send a postal application, please address it to:
University Medical Centre Groningen
Attn. of Mr. J. Bouwers, head of UMC-staff, P&O (LB10)
PO Box 30001
The Netherlands

Additional information

Extra information can be obtained thru the following links:
Systems Genetics
film about the dept's work
Department of Genetics

Applying for a job

Digital application form