Research Post Award Finance and Project Manager

Durham, United Kingdom
Thursday, 21 January 2021
End of advertisement period
Thursday, 18 February 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

Research and Innovation Services

Grade 7: - 33,797-40,322
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 18-Feb-2021, 7:59:00 AM

Job Family: Business Process and People Services

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 VALUESWe are inspiring, challenging, innovative, responsible and enabling.

Durham University

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.

The Department and role purpose

The Research Operations Team is part of Research and Innovation Services (RIS) and provides comprehensive support to academic and Professional Services colleagues across the lifecycle of a research project. The team comprises pre and post-award services, consultancy support, and systems implementation and development. Support includes tailored financial and contractual advice and management to all researchers at Durham, from planning, costing, and pricing the initial proposal to ensuring that contracts and agreements are negotiated effectively and efficiently to ensuring robust financial management and compliance of awarded projects. Research Operations works alongside the various teams which make up the Research & Innovations Service and in partnership with Professional Support colleagues across the University to help facilitate research-related planning, reporting and development and to meet the needs of both the individual researcher and the wider institution.

These are 2 new additional posts which have been created within the Research Operations Team. Initially reporting to the Head of Research Operations and working closely with the Senior Finance Compliance Manager you will manage a team of 5 Post Award Finance and Project Officers. You will play a critical role in contributing to the design, implementation and monitoring of new policies and quality standards, procedures and systems for the post award management of Durham’s externally funded research activities. You will take an active project management approach to the portfolio of projects you are responsible for, developing good working relationships with award holders and departmental staff, attending regular meetings to discuss progress against financial and reporting deliverables and will act as a source of expertise and advice to these teams assisting them in the delivery of their projects. You will be based in the central office but will also be expected to spend time in the academic departments you support to provide a key link role between the academic community and the Research and Innovation Services Division.

The post-holder will be expected to possess and/or develop understanding and expertise across an extensive range of research funding schemes and organisations, including Research Councils, major Charities and Trusts, Industry, Government Agencies, European and Overseas funding. The successful candidate will thrive in a fast-paced environment, have the ability to work to work across a number of concurrent projects and be committed to providing a high level of support.

Core responsibilities:

  • Recognised professional practitioner and management and/or service specialist with responsibility for the management of team members.
  • Provide specialist post award financial support to grant holders in a professional and efficient manner.
  • Provide input to the design and development of service processes, techniques and deliverables for one or more service areas or projects.
  • Manage operational service activities to ensure excellence in the stakeholder experience.
  • Contribute to the analysis of stakeholder feedback to help define needs and requirements, inputting to the design and planning of services.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with research funding organisations and participate in networks internally and externally to build and update knowledge and skills, and facilitate the active engagement of the University’s research community with funders.
  • Provide feedback on team and individual performance and identify development needs, conducting regular staff ADR and performance reviews.
  • Handle the vast majority of welfare issues within a team, referring more complex welfare issues to appropriate support services/senior management.
  • Delivery of ongoing coaching, mentoring and training to team members.
  • Maintain an awareness of university policies for research and research related activity, and provision of advice using specialist knowledge.
  • Contribute to business meetings, working groups and sub committees at departmental and operational service levels.
  • Devolve responsibilities to team members to ensure continuity of service provision and encourage skills development.

Role responsibilities:

  • Contribute to the design, implementation and monitoring of new policies and quality standards, procedures and systems for the post award management of Durham’s externally funded research activities to ensure effective working and continuous improvement.
  • Provide professional guidance and advice to award holders, department administrators and faculty accountants on grant conditions and provide financial forecasting and planning for awards for a portfolio of awards, anticipating any future under- and overspends and advising on implications.
  • Ensure research projects, activities, budgets and reporting documents comply with internal University and external regulation, policy and procedures.
  • Ensure timely and appropriate distribution of information and provide advice to stakeholders regarding changes to compliance and regulations both internally and externally. 
  • Co–ordinate and/or participate in collaborative grant administration arrangements with other institutions, both within the UK and overseas, collating, verifying and consolidating financial reports, providing advice to partner institutions on the interpretation of sponsor guidance and distributing funds.
  • Manage and monitor performance and workload outcomes for team, planning cover to ensure smooth service provision through peaks and troughs.
  • Analyse service data and provide reports to Service Heads, making recommendations for improvement as appropriate.
  • Ensure the review and improvement of systems and procedures in line with University, School, Department or unit frameworks.
  • Establish, maintain and develop productive and ongoing relationships with grant holders, and departmental administrators and other professional support departments, to ensure an integrated and cohesive service with an emphasis on partnership working.
  • Actively participate in regional and national networks and working groups to represent Durham and share best practice across the sector in research project management, ensuring that Durham is actively engaged in relevant consultations and well positioned to understand and, where appropriate, influence funder policy.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Specific role requirements

  • Travel with occasional overnight stays may be needed.
  • A flexible approach to working to provide a consistent service during peak periods and at times of absence within the tea

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 above (including those listed in the section ‘Realising Your Potential Approach’). 

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 https://www.dur.ac.uk/ig/dp/privacy/pnjobapplicants/ which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.

What you are required to submit

  1. A CV; 
  2. A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;
  3. Examples of how you satisfy the essential criteria in the person specification, this will require completion of the 'Questionnaire' application section.

Realising Your Potential Approach

The Realising Your Potential Approach clarifies the behaviours expected to be demonstrated by all staff across Professional Services in the University regardless of their role. Along with the core responsibilities, role responsibilities and the person specification, the Realising Your Potential Approach behavioural indicators are used to inform the recruitment and selection process. Further information on the Realising Your Potential Approach is available here.

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

Contact details: 

For further information please contact:

For further information please contact; Sally Hewlett, Head of Research Operations, s.a.hewlett@durham.ac.uk

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.

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

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.

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria

  1. Experience of the financial management of post-award aspects of research projects
  2. Appropriate accountancy qualification (minimum full AAT) OR significant relevant experience.
  3. Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop excellent working relationships both internally and externally.
  4. Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  5. Continuing professional development required to maintain professional recognition.
  6. Ability to prioritise work effectively to meet demanding and often conflicting deadlines
  7. Experience of implementing policy and procedures and involvement with future changes for a service area.
  8. Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.  
  9. Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues.
  10. Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships
  11. Ability to solve problems and resolve issues, plan solutions and make pragmatic decisions


  1. Experience of managing and developing a team or teams and/or line management qualification.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.