Research Grants and Contracts Manager

Durham, United Kingdom
£33797 - £40322 per annum
22 Jun 2021
End of advertisement period
07 Jul 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term, Maternity Cover
Full Time

Research and Innovation Services

Grade 7: - £33797 - £40322 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 07-Jul-2021, 6:59:00 AM 

This post is Full Time (35 hours p/w) Fixed Term (Maternity Cover only).  

The closing date is midnight, 17 May 2021

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   

The Research Operations Team is part of Research and Innovation Services (RIS) and 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 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.

As a Research Grants and Contracts Manager (RGCM) you will play a key role in supporting and developing externally funded research grant activity by providing high quality support and advice to academic staff in the preparation, submission and contractual negotiation of research grants and awards. You will join an enthusiastic and supportive  team of RGCMs 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 RIS

The RGCM will be first point of contact for an academic wishing to apply for external research funding and will provide support and expert advice in a number of key activities including: identifying and disseminating funding opportunities, delivering training and information events, lay reviewing applications, project managing the submission process of the bid including responsibility for budget development and seeking internal approvals. Once awarded, and working closely with post-award colleagues, you will provide support to ensure timely acceptance of the award including contract negotiation and ensuring all ethical and due diligence checks are complete. It is essential that the RGCM is highly organised, pays close attention to detail, and has a pro-active approach to problem-solving. The capability to prioritise and manage a busy and varied workload is crucial. The ability to work across a number of concurrent projects at different stages of development is essential. A confident communicator, you will form close working relationships with the other members of the Operations Team, Research Development Team, Faculty Officials, Heads of Department, Directors of Research, Department Managers and other members of Professional Support Staff.

Core responsibilities:

  • Recognised professional practitioner and service specialist.
  • Implement changes to the design and development of service processes, techniques and deliverables for one or more service strands or project streams.
  • Provide specialist expertise and support with complexity of data and information sources, interpretation and analysis.
  • Contribute to development of operational service activities to ensure excellence in the stakeholder experience.
  • Collect and analyse stakeholder feedback to help define needs and requirements and the design and planning of services.
  • Internal and external relationship development and partnership working, networking and participation to engage and influence future services and the University reputation.
  • Identify and design activities to meet learning objectives and outcomes.
  • Deliver training, coaching and mentoring for stakeholders.
  • Maintain an awareness of university policies for research and research related activity, and provision of advice using specialist knowledge.
  • Contribute to and lead 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:

  • Provide expert advice and guidance to academics for a portfolio of Departments to support the development of research funding bids.
  • Manage the bid submission process, ensuring all internal and external regulations and procedures are adhered to.
  • Provide advice to stakeholders in relation to University, School or Department policy, procedures and regulations
  • Develop, plan and deliver funder/scheme specific information events and grant delivery workshops for stakeholders.
  • Provide training and or instruction to stakeholders
  • Coordinate and oversee internal demand management exercises and internal selection processes.
  • In consultation and collaboration with Durham University’s Legal Support team review draft agreements and contracts received from sponsors and negotiate appropriate changes, ensuring consistency and adherence to set standards, aiming to achieve the best possible terms for the institution
  • Undertake due diligence and risk management activities and propose actions to mitigate risk to ensure contracts and agreements are in compliance with university policy and governance regulations (for example ethical approval).
  • Analyse research data and provide reports to Service Heads, making recommendations for improvement as appropriate.
  • Contribute to operational leadership teams and decision making to shape the nature and level of the support service
  • Ensure the review and improvement of systems and procedures in line with University and Department frameworks.
  • Maintain awareness of the external environment and sector best practice to support high quality services. 
  • 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 team.

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 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 and desirable criteria in the person specification, this will require completion of the 'Questionnaire' application section Please copy and paste the grids from this job description into a separate Microsoft Word document, complete the evidence columns and submit this alongside your other application material.

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, 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

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria

  1. Relevant experience of supporting grant applications preferably within an HEI environment
  2. Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop excellent working relationships both internally and externally.  
  3. Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.    
  4. Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).     
  5. Continuing professional development required to maintain professional recognition.     
  6. Experience of implementing policy and procedures and involvement with future changes for a service area.  
  7. Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.  
  8. Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues.   
  9. Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships, to influence perceptions of the University.   
  10. Ability to prioritise work effectively to meet demanding and often conflicting deadlines.                


  1. An understanding of costing and pricing methodologies
  2. Experience of negotiating research contracts      

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.