Head of Strategic Projects
The postholder will lead projects of strategic importance to the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine. Often complex, of high value and with ambiguity, the postholder will be critical to their successful delivery, working to the Executive Dean.
The Faculty delivers internationally renowned research and education programmes, comprises almost 2000 staff with an annual turnover of more than £280m, and operates across four main campuses. Following the recent appointment of the Executive Dean, Professor Ajay Shah, the Faculty has identified a number of strategic priorities and the postholder will be key to their delivery.
They will work effectively across a wide range of stakeholders, using their influencing, analytical and communication skills to ensure buy in and successful outcomes.
This post will be offered on an indefinite contract
This is a full-time post
The postholder will work across a wide range of topics and strategic issues. Responsibilities will vary by project but will include:
- Breaking down high-level strategic question for analysis, potentially drawing on a variety of perspectives and expertise to frame the question, and challenging the question where appropriate
- Developing a robust and efficient approach to analysing the question(s), including collecting and synthesising a variety of (sometimes complex) data where appropriate, and engaging with individuals and groups appropriately to challenge perspectives
- Generating new insights and perspectives to support effective conclusions
- Developing engagement strategies on ambiguous, complex and contentious questions and adapting style, message and manner effectively to deliver effective outcomes
- Preparing a business case for relatively complex new activities, taking ownership for and challenging assumptions, and relating the proposed case to institutional strategy, business needs and requirements
- Defining programmes and projects from an initial vision statement or emerging requirement: ensuring that project/programme objectives are in line with strategy and business need; scoping requirements and ensuring that anticipated benefits are understood
- Developing robust project/programme structures and plans, which may include multiple workstreams and draw in a significant number of colleagues
- Capturing and articulating risks, and working with risk owners to quantify likelihood and impact, and develop mitigation strategies. Evaluating effectiveness of proposed mitigations
- Leading on the sourcing, consolidation and presentation of relevant external insight on particular strategic questions , establishing advisory groups and identifying needs
- Project managing and facilitating strategy development initiatives, including challenging, testing and shaping requirements with stakeholders, developing approach through co-design with stakeholders, and ensuring the assignment delivers on requirements
The above list of responsibilities will not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post
Skills, knowledge, and experience
The postholder will deploy their extensive skills and experience to manage and deliver complex projects, against agreed timelines and budgets. Ideally experience in, but if not a detailed understanding of the university sector will be essential, enabling the postholder to quickly tackle the associated complexities and navigate projects to their completion.
- Science degree
- Outstanding analytical skills, including drawing on a variety of perspectives and own expertise to frame questions effectively, structured problem solving, breaking down issues, and communicating outcomes clearly
- Highly numerate and analytical, can collect and synthesise a variety of complex data sources to develop new insights and perspectives
- Can engage with financial data in a robust and confident way
- Confident working in and co-ordinating multidisciplinary teams, and building strong working relationships to drive effective outcomes
- Excellent written, PowerPoint and verbal communication skills
- Adept at engaging with sponsors, stakeholders and wider audiences even on ambiguous, complex and contentious questions in order to reach successful outcomes
- Adept at engaging with sponsors and stakeholders, including with senior colleagues and externals, adapting message, style and manner as needed
- Flexible and comfortable with ambiguity
- Experience within the Higher Education sector or adjacent/similar sector and understanding of the strategic context in which we operate
- A recognised qualification relevant to strategy development, project management, business planning and/or risk management
- Postgraduate science qualification (PhD)