Senior Research Administrator job with DURHAM UNIVERSITY

Arts Faculty Office

Grade 6: – £27,116 – £33,309 per annum pro-rata

Open-Ended/Permanent – Part Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 17.5
Closing Date: 04-Jul-2022, 6:59:00 AM

The closing date for applications is 3 July 2022 at midnight.

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

The Department and role purpose:

This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in the lively, cross-disciplinary Arts and Humanities research culture. Working as part of the Faculty’s research team, you will collaborate with the Deputy Executive Dean (Research), key academics in departmental research roles and Professional Services staff, in particular in Research Information Services and Marketing and Communications, to support and deliver Faculty research initiatives.

This is an excellent career development opportunity to create and enhance a vibrant and sustainable research environment within a portfolio of departments. The role offers opportunities for leadership through individual and joint projects, to engage with stake holders across the University, to implement streamlined processes, to promote and instigate ways to create an inclusive and vital research culture.

The six departments and one School in Durham’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities produce highly-ranked and influential research within and across disciplines, languages and cultures.

Through its departments, interdisciplinary research centres, institutes, and partnerships, Arts and Humanities at Durham engages with communities, groups, and cultural institutions locally, nationally and internationally.

The Faculty Research team support the Faculty and departmental research environment, including providing advice on research and ethics processes; organising events; supporting impact activities; analysing data and producing reports; updating webpages; and managing research fellowship competitions, as well as supporting and contributing to research meetings.

As one of two 0.5 FTE Senior Research Administrators, you will have responsibility for specific departments as well as leading on and supporting cross-departmental projects and initiatives. You will be expected to collaborate with team members manage your own workload, balancing business-as-usual with a responsive approach to meeting sometimes challenging and unexpected tasks. An indicative set of responsibilities would be:

Designing and implementing process improvements, e.g. Director of Research induction process; peer review process; ethics; supporting and reviewing early career fellowship applications.

Website and marketing: Working with Marketing and Communications staff on the visual presence of departments, e.g. identifying markets and identifying and implementing improvements, new communications channels etc.; planning and managing the research celebration event, involving filming with the Faculty resident filmmaker.

Research Excellence Framework (REF): Organising and taking part in post-REF reviewing; planning and preparing for future research assessment exercises in Departments.

Research Impact: Working with RIS Impact and Engagement managers on impact-related project creation and delivery. Implementing an impact plan for the next REF cycle;

Research Centre/s: work closely with research centre directors to provide strategic support to enhance centre profiles, collaborate across the Faculty in contributing to University and Faculty agendas such as internationalisation, raising research profile and increasing grant income.

Core responsibilities:

  • Experienced administrator working with academic colleagues and central Research and Innovation Services to provide specialist support to the full range of activities related to the research environment.
  • Take responsibility for day-to-day decision making within own area of responsibility for operational aspects of research service delivery, translating external research body requirements into practical application and advice.
  • Plan and organise own workload on a day-to-day basis within the context of the cyclical nature of research activities and their internal and external deadlines.
  • Work with academic colleagues to ensure robust management systems are in place to ensure policies related to research, research impact and behaviours are implemented effectively.
  • Provide specialist research support with problem solving and query handling to staff at all levels, in particular academic colleagues
  • Reactive and proactive service provision with others to deliver an excellent stakeholder experience.
  • Relationship building, network participation internally and externally to build and update knowledge and skills.
  • Supervise service users and stakeholders undertaking research activities, events and project work to further develop an effective research environment.
  • Implement and monitor protocols, procedures, processes and regulations related to research activities.
  • Carry out more in-depth investigations, searches and research information and data to identify trends and patterns.
  • Implement and monitor recognised procedures to ensure compliance and meet University values of inclusion, diversity and participation.
  • Contribute to business meetings, working groups and committees to help shape service delivery and stakeholder expectations, acting as Secretary and taking forward agreed action points where appropriate
  • Accountable for managing/maintaining financial and budget records related to research activities, liaising with relevant colleagues to set and track expenditure against an agreed financial plan and to flag and manage issues that arise.
  • Support the capture of business requirements from users and work with colleagues to translate these into recommendations for future service provision.

Role responsibilities:

  • Manage and organise professional business and administrative service processes, activities, events and/or resources in order to deliver operational aspects of research, research impact and the research environment.
  • Manage specific projects to develop and enhance research activities.
  • Supervise staff and/or manage resources to achieve defined targets and outcomes.
  • Develop, implement and enforce recognised procedures to ensure compliance, co-ordinate effort and contribute to departmental research objectives.
  • Provide professional guidance and advice to staff with the operational running of budgets, processes, data and information recording.
  • Ensure projects, activities, budgets and documents comply with internal University and external regulation, policy and procedures.
  • Record data and information accurately, provide reports and statistics and distribute information to key internal and external stakeholders.
  • Use a range of digital media and tools to communicate with a diverse range of key stakeholders, both verbally and in written format who may need to access information across different geographic and time zones.
  • Develop, plan and deliver internal and external events and activities for stakeholders.
  • Establish, maintain and develop productive and ongoing relationships with stakeholders to influence perception of the University.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Working Arrangements

At Durham we recognise that our staff and students are our greatest asset and we want to support the health and wellbeing of all. Hybrid working supports this ethos and provides many benefits to our colleagues, including empowering people, where their role allows, to work in a manner which is more suitable for them, whilst encouraging our commitment to environmental sustainability.

Depending on the needs of the business and the job role, Durham University is piloting hybrid working for all Professional Services colleagues in the academic year 2021/2022, which may include the opportunity to work both on and off campus and to flex working hours. If appointed to the post, your line-manager will discuss the specific arrangements with you. Any hybrid arrangements are non-contractual and may change within the pilot and when the pilot ends.

Interviews are anticipated to take place as soon as possible following the closing date.

Reward and Benefits

To support the delivery of the University’s People Strategy to attract, retain and reward the very best, we offer a fantastic range of rewards and benefits to our staff, including:

  • 27 days annual leave, plus 4 customary days and 8 bank holidays (pro-rata for part time) and the option to purchase additional leave;
  • Automatic enrolment into a pension scheme;
  • Corporate and local discounts;
  • Wellbeing resources and discounted health benefits;
  • Health discounts on sports and activities at Maiden Castle Health and Activity Centre;
  • Reward and Recognition Schemes;
  • Personal and career development;
  • And SO much more, with further information available here

Recruiting to this post

In order to be considered for interview, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification. In some cases, the recruiting panel may also consider the desirable criteria, so we recommend you evidence all criteria in your application.

Please note that some criteria will only be considered at interview stage.

How to apply

We prefer to receive applications online.

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

Information if you have a disability

The University welcomes applications from disabled people. We are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

If you are unable to complete your application via our recruitment system, please get in touch with us on [email protected].

What you are required to submit 

  1. A CV; 
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements;
  3. Completion of the application questions, with examples of how you satisfy the person specification. Please ensure you give detailed examples of how you meet these criteria.

Please ensure that you submit all documentation listed above or your application cannot proceed to the next stage.

Contact details

For further information regarding this post, please contact;

Clare Zon, Faculty Manager, [email protected].

Contact information for technical difficulties when submitting your application

If you encounter technical difficulties when using the online application form, we prefer you send enquiries by email. Please send your name along with a brief description of the problem you’re experiencing to [email protected]

We will notify you on the status of your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to ensure you receive all emails.

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

As a University we foster a collegiate community of extraordinary people aligned to the University’s values. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do. At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive, and in doing so, recruit the world’s best candidates from all backgrounds and identities. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

Person specification – skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria

  1. Excellent oral and written communication skills with a high standard of literacy and the ability to produce high-quality reports, minutes and other documentation.
  2. The ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally with academics, research and other key staff.
  3. Proven IT skills to enhance individual and shared ways of working relevant to the role (competency with standard office software is expected).
  4. A good standard of education to degree level or equivalent experience.
  5. Evidence of continuing professional development relevant to the role.
  6. Experience of providing advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior academic colleagues.
  7. Evidence of expertise used to contribute to the delivery and development of services, events and activities.
  8. Experience of implementing and reviewing policy and procedures.
  9. Ability to build effective networks and strong working relationships with a diverse range of key stakeholders.
  10. Experience of independently taking day-to-day decisions on appropriate courses of action to resolve complex problems
  11. Ability to engage meaningfully with both text-based and numerical data sources and to provide information clearly and concisely.

Desirable Criteria

  • A good knowledge of the research environment in Higher Education.
  • Knowledge of working practices to support research in academic departments.

Durham University

OUR CHARACTERISTICS: We are a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, in a unique and historic setting.

OUR VALUES: We are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University is one of the world’s top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Business, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people’s lives. 

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

It is expected that all staff within the University:

  • Contribute to our learning culture by engaging in mentoring, training and coaching.
  • Positively contribute to fostering a collegial environment; as well as demonstrating commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Have due regard to Health and Safety requirements appropriate to grade and role.

Family key attributes

Roles in this family provide a comprehensive service and deliver the efficient administration and governance of the University.

Overall family purpose

  • Deliver direct and indirect services to stakeholders.
  • Provide advice and answer queries as part of an enquiry-desk/help-desk function.
  • Respond to and manage requests for information and resources.
  • Deliver services to meet regulatory requirements and procedures. 
  • Plan and deliver a joined-up approach to University business and people services.
  • Align business processes and services to meet operational and strategic policy objectives.  
  • Deliver business processes to ensure effective management, governance and the economic viability of the University. 
  • Encourage, collaborate and participate in the development of productive cross-institution relationships and working.
  • Provide excellent professional services that meet strategic and operational goals and business needs.
  • Carry out monitoring, analysis, development and planning to design new services and service updates for continuous improvement whilst meeting changes in regulations.
  • Engage with specialist professionals, consultants, and suppliers to exchange knowledge and facilitate partnership working.
  • Work collaboratively and network across the University with staff in other families to ensure a smooth, timely and high-quality delivery of service.
  • Align and deliver programmes and activities to meet operational and strategic objectives to enhance the stakeholder experience.
  • Engage and encourage participation with external professionals, schools, alumni and donors.

Link to key strategic plan

  • An economically sustainable approach to delivering Professional Services across the University;
  • A joined-up approach to University professional services, regardless of location or line management;
  • A culture and practice of continuous improvement; 
  • Design services that meet business need;
  • A stakeholder-focused orientation, offering satisfying careers to all staff;
  • Support and facilitate programmes that offer intellectual challenge, cohesiveness and a strong sense of progression;
  • Ensure that an increasingly diverse workforce is treated equally, fairly and with respect, and that all staff are demonstrably valued and actively engaged.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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