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R&D Team Lead



Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2023

About us

Vow is a food company - a very different one. We’re creating real meat products from animal cells instead of the animal itself.

We’re bringing together cutting-edge innovations in science, engineering, culinary and design to make sustainable food that’s both irresistible and available to billions of people worldwide.

The role:

We are looking for an experienced and skilled people leader, who loves working on challenging problems that encompass multiple technical disciplines. You love diving into and solving new and complex technical challenges and working with a wide selection of different skills.

You’ll guide a multidisciplinary team by leveraging your technical experience, skill in aligning & motivating team members, and ability to work with stakeholders across the organisation. You'll be responsible for hiring, retaining, growing and leading world-class scientists and engineers.

Your immediate focus will be to set the strategy and lead our media optimisation team to refine our inhouse cell culture media formulation aiming to enhance factors from cell density to sensory experience to cost effectiveness. You don’t need to have the answers but need to be great at learning new areas, connecting the dots and empowering the diverse team around you.

You have:

  • 5+ years relevant professional experience solving complex technical challenges that span science, engineering or other disciplines (e.g. clinical health).
  • You either have a background in biology or are exceptionally good at learning a new technical area.
  • Experience leading technical teams in day-to-day execution, including through effective process, regular communication, solving for team skill gaps, and anything else that your team needs from you for success.
  • Experience in hiring world-class technical talent, including designing interviews, conducting interviews, and pitching the role to candidates.
  • Experience supporting your team in their growth (both hard & soft skills) & work satisfaction.
  • Experience developing and communicating technical strategy that clearly, simply articulates the problem & solution approach, with a clear focus on pragmatically delivering clear outcomes to our mission as quickly as possible.
  • A mix of comfort with first principles problem solving alongside experience (or willingness to learn) along with applying modeling and data-led approaches.

Bonus if you have:

  • Prior experience working across media formulation.
  • A PhD in a relevant area (cell or molecular biology, developmental biology, cancer biology, regenerative medicine, cellular metabolism, physiology), or 5+ years in a relevant industry role.

You will:

  • Nurture and Lead: As a people leader, you'll be responsible for the growth and cohesion of your team. You'll ensure they feel connected to the broader organization and are all clear on the most important goal(s) they need to solve.
  • Guide technical strategy: Your expertise will be crucial in directing the course of media development. If you are not already a deep expert in this area (which is absolutely fine) you will instead be fast to adapt and will be able to dive into scientific literature and connect with SMEs, inside and outside of Vow, to ensure our strategies are cutting-edge.
  • Clarify ambiguities: Taking high-level, sometimes ambiguous goals, and breaking them down into actionable steps. You’ll challenge these goals and define the questions that need answers.
  • Execute and support: You’ll be right there with your team, supporting them in overcoming challenges and ensuring we’re always moving forward. You will know when to lean in to support or when to let your team flourish.
  • Discover and Address: Have significant autonomy to identify and work on the most valuable problems you see.
  • Connect the dots: Learn about biology, hardware, design, and culinary from our multidisciplinary team and leverage these balanced perspectives in your work.

What success looks like:

In your first month you will be focussed on immersing yourself into the nuances of our media development strategies, technologies, and team dynamics. This initial phase will be pivotal in establishing trust and rapport with your team and stakeholders. Active listening, learning, and seeking feedback will be key.

Moving into your first three months, the emphasis shifts to strategy setting. With a better understanding of the landscape, you'll be poised to set a clear direction for our media development goals. This will entail re-evaluating current strategies, introducing innovations, and driving tangible results in areas impacting cell density and sensory experience.

By the end of your first year  you will have built a trusted & excited team of scientists and engineers who can thank you for their significant impact & professional growth. Your team will have executed on the strategy set and the work your team has done in media formulation will have significantly moved the needle for Vow hitting our goals.

Vow, more than just a job.

Who we are and why join:

  • We are building a diverse, mission-led dream team of “Vowzers.” Our mission is to make food products for everyone. To do that well we need a workforce that’s representative of the people we serve. We celebrate multiple approaches and points of view - so we’re building a culture to match. Be yourself and come as you are.
  • Work on cutting-edge technology. We’re bringing together cutting-edge innovations in science, engineering, and food, to recreate the world’s most tantalising and unique culinary experiences. All without compromising on ethics or our planet along the way. Since our inception in 2019, we have held the title of being the first startup to cultivate meat from the cells of an undomesticated animal, and have served up our exotic meats ranging from kangaroo dumplings to alpaca sliders in tastings with world-renowned chefs.
  • Work with and learn from the best. Our team includes some of the world’s top scientists, innovators, operators, and creatives with decades of industry experience. Despite our experiences though, we all strive to build, break, learn, and repeat. We see the impossible as temporary and strive to learn and support our company and fellow Vowzers' growth as much as possible.
  • We’re fully funded and ready to go. We are a growing Aussie biotech start-up backed by Blackbird Ventures, Square Peg Capital, Grok Ventures, Tenacious Ventures, P7 Ventures, Toyota Ventures, and PeakBridge VC.

Vow perks and benefits:

  • Everyone is an owner. In addition to competitive base salaries, each and every ‘Vowzer’ owns equity in the company so we can all benefit from our hard work and future success.
  • Generous paid parental leave. We offer 8 weeks of paid caregiver leave and an additional 8 weeks paid leave for the birth giver.
  • Generous relocation budget & support. Support for interstate or overseas team members and their families (including pets!)
  • Flexible working hours and location. We value work-life balance. While we’re mostly back in the office, you’re free to choose the best way for you to work.
  • Unlimited personal leave. At Vow we recognise that sometimes you need time off to recuperate, look after your mental health, or simply deal with an emergency. We put unlimited personal leave in place to empower you to truly bring your best self to work every single day and you are always paid for days taken off as personal leave.
  • Heaps of tasty samples from our culinary centre. Our fantastic "food inventors" on the Vow team are always cooking up new product prototypes, and all Vowzers are given the opportunity to taste, give feedback, and learn from their culinary prowess.
  • An awesome converted warehouse “campus” in Alexandria. Complete with a glass-walled lab, manufacturing line, free snacks, a culinary centre, and professional-grade coffee machine in our cafe, as well as a DIY workshop for all hands-on projects.
  • Human and dog friendly office! An inclusive community and culture, in a welcoming office, complete with friendly “Vowzer” dogs!
  • A variety of social clubs. We encourage all our Vowzers to build the culture with us and share what you love by creating social clubs across the business. From book clubs to hiking groups, we’re always looking for ways to learn and engage with our team.