Senior Research Administrator

Durham, United Kingdom
£26,715 - £32,817 per annum
02 Aug 2021
End of advertisement period
28 Aug 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

Department of Chemistry

Grade 6: - £26,715 - £32,817 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 28-Aug-2021, 6:59:00 AM

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, 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

 Durham Chemistry is a world top 100 chemistry department (QS World University Subject Rankings 2020) and has an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. Ranked fifth overall in REF2014 and first for impact, we are an active and vibrant department including a strong cohort of early career researchers and future leaders. Ranked second in the Guardian University Guide 2021, our undergraduate programmes are highly rated outside of the Department and by our students. We offer both 3-year Bachelors (BSc) and 4-year Integrated Masters (MChem) courses, and students can study Chemistry either as a single subject or via Durham’s popular Natural Sciences programme. At postgraduate level our students come from all over the world to carry out research. Durham Chemistry is part of three Centres for Doctoral Training: SOFI (soft matter and interfaces), MosMed (Molecular sciences for Medicine) and ReNU(renewable energy). Each year we admit around 120 single honours undergraduates and around 40 PhD students. The Department holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award.

The post holder will provide high level administrative support for the research environment of the department. The post holder will also be responsible for the maintenance of research management information, including information collected for the Research Excellence Framework exercise (REF). Working closing with academic staff responsible for research s/he will act as secretary to Research and Ethics Committees, managing the business of the committees and associated activities outside of the meetings including events management.

Core responsibilities:

  • Experienced administrator working with the central Research Office and academic colleagues to providing 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 behaviour are implemented effectively.
  • Providing 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.
  • Supervises 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, to ensure compliance and meet University values of inclusion, diversity and participation.
  • Carry out more in-depth investigations, searches and research information and data to identify trends and patterns.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Recruiting to this post:

In order to progress to the assessment stage of the recruitment process, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above (including the Realising Your Potential Approach). It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider the desirable criteria but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria.

Please note that some criteria will only be considered for those candidates who proceed to the assessment stage.

It is both anticipated and required that candidates applying for this role will meet the criteria in italic font. Candidates must provide suitable evidence to satisfy the panel that they meet all of these requirements, however it is not anticipated that these criteria will be separately scored as part of the shortlisting process (they will be marked yes or no).

Where a criteria is marked with an asterisk, the University consider this to be a key requirement for this post and it may therefore receive additional weighting when applications are scored during shortlisting.

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

Please ensure that you complete all of the criteria and submit the grid above or your application cannot proceed to the next 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 

  • A CV;
  • A covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out below

Contact details

For further information please contact Lizzie Amies, Department Manager at elizabeth.amies@durham.ac.uk;

Person specification - skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience required

The essential criteria for this role are:

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.
  • Proven IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office.
  • A good standard of education to at least ‘A’ level or equivalent.
  • Evidence of personal development to maintain skills.
  • Experience of providing advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues.
  • Experienced service provider with knowledge and expertise used to contribute to the delivery and development of services, events and activities within the organisation.
  • Experience of implementing policy and procedures and involvement with future changes for a service area.
  • Ability to effectively network and exchange advice and information for development purposes. 
  • Experience of independently taking day to day decisions on appropriate courses of action to resolve complex problems
  • Ability to collate, analyse and present data and information clearly and concisely

The desirable criteria for this role are:

  • A degree or equivalent qualification / experience
  • A good knowledge of the research environment in Higher Education

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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