Research Post Award Finance and Project Officer

Durham, United Kingdom
£26,715-£32,817 per annum
Thursday, 8 April 2021
End of advertisement period
Thursday, 6 May 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

Research and Innovation Services

Grade 6: - £26,715-£32,817 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 06-May-2021, 6:59:00 AM 

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, 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    

Research and Innovation Services (RIS) provides guidance, expert advice and hands-on support for all aspects of research and research-related work, including securing funding, working with partners, undertaking knowledge exchange, demonstrating impact, commercialising outputs, ensuring good research practice and supporting professional development.

The Research Operations Team provides comprehensive support to academic and PSS 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. 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

As a Post Award Finance and Project Officer you will play a key role in providing high quality support and advice to academic staff. You will take an active project management approach to the portfolio of projects you are responsible for, developing good working relationships with project 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. The post holder will join the Research Operations Team, which has been created following a recent restructure of Durham Research and Innovation Services. 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 EU and overseas funding. It is essential that the Post Award Finance and Project Officer possesses excellent finance and numeracy skills, high-level organisational skills and pays close attention to detail. The ability to work across a number of concurrent projects is essential and you will be expected to liaise closely with the Research Grants and Contracts Managers to ensure a seamless transition between pre and post award activities.

Core responsibilities:

  • Experienced service practitioner responsible for actively planning, managing and co-ordinating a portfolio of projects and work streams with inter-related activities.
  • Plan and organise own workload with minimal supervision.
  • Provide specialist post award financial support to grant holders with problem solving and query handling in a professional and efficient manner.
  • 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.
  • Engage with external peers and specialists to exchange knowledge and information, to include attending national, and where appropriate, international events and meetings.
  • Implement and monitor protocols, procedures, processes and regulations.
  • Take responsibility for day to day decision making within own area of responsibility for the operational aspects of the post award service delivery, translating external compliance requirements into practical application and advice for award holders.
  • Implement and monitor recognised procedures to ensure the financial management of awards to ensure funder compliance.
  • Contribute to business meetings, working groups and committees to help shape post-award service delivery and stakeholder expectations.
  • Be accountable for managing/maintaining financial and budget records and reconciling expenditure queries for the portfolio of awards, providing advice and proactively identifying courses of action in the event of a budget shortfall.

Role responsibilities:

  • Manage and organise professional business and administrative service processes, activities, events and/or resources to achieve defined targets and outcomes.
  • Develop, implement and enforce recognised procedures to ensure compliance, co-ordinate effort and contribute to team goals.
  • Provide professional guidance and advice to award holders, department administrators and faculty accountants on grant conditions and provide financial forecasting and planning for awards in their portfolio, anticipating any future under and overspends and advising principal investigators and departmental administrators on the implications.
  • Ensure research projects, activities, budgets and reporting documents comply with internal University and external regulation, policy and procedures.
  • Record data and information accurately, provide reports copies of project records and distribute information to key stakeholders both internally and externally, for example for the preparation of external funder audits.
  • Use a range of 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 funder/scheme specific information events and grant delivery workshops for stakeholders, working with other colleagues as appropriate to include organising and hosting visits from funding bodies.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Any other reasonable duties.

Specific role requirements  

There may be a requirement for occasional travel.  

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.

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: Sally Hewlett, Email:  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  

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required  

Essential Criteria

  1. Five GCSE’s at least Grade C or level four (or equivalent) including English Language and Mathematics (or equivalent experience).
  2. Possess the Association of Accounting Technicians qualification or equivalent or provide evidence of suitable financial experience
  3. Relevant administrative experience of working within a financial role preferably within an HEI environment
  4. Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.
  5. Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  6. High level of numeracy evidenced by an understanding of costing and pricing methodologies.
  7. Highly organised with the ability to work to tight deadlines under busy conditions
  8. Evidence of personal development to maintain skills.
  9. Experience of providing advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.
  10. A strong team player with a committed and flexible approach.
  11. Ability to effectively network and exchange advice and information for development purposes.  

Desirable Criteria 

  1. Experience of working within a post award role within an HEI

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.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.