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Associate Director (Doctoral Environment & Development)

London (Central), London (Greater)
£62,696-£71,857 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
Closing date
26 Feb 2024

Job Details


Do you have significant experience of developing researchers? Are you committed to creating an environment that enables researchers to thrive? Can you help King’s remain at the forefront of support for doctoral students across all disciplines? 

We are looking for an Associate Director (Doctoral Environment & Development). You will lead an established team that delivers a crucial portfolio of activities which help us to “develop and attract the world’s best early career researchers” and fulfil King’s strategic priority in Vision 2029 to “research to inform and innovate”.

You will be a crucial member of King’s Research Talent department, providing strategic and operational oversight of training and development opportunities for doctoral students. You will ensure our personal, professional and career development training and support for doctoral students is of the highest quality and continues to innovate and meet our researchers’ needs. You will also provide guidance and advice to university staff regarding best practice in doctoral student development, including to academic Directors and staff of the various doctoral training centres/partnerships.

You will oversee our comms and engagement function for doctoral researchers. Working with colleagues, you will ensure we celebrate our doctoral students, foster community and provide support, listening carefully to students’ needs and experiences. You will be familiar with the challenges regarding equality, diversity & inclusion and mental health, and keen to ensure we have a constructive dialogue with representatives of our doctoral body. King’s is also a delivery partner for a national project to transform the culture of doctoral supervision – you will lead our involvement in this programme.

The role sits within the Centre for Doctoral Studies in the Research Talent department, reporting directly to the Director of Research Talent and managing the staff who manage our comms and development functions. As a member of the Research Talent Exec, you will work closely with other senior staff within Research Talent. Research Talent provides development opportunities for research staff and postdoctoral researchers, as well as research students.

This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract until September 2025, whilst the substantive postholder is seconded to another role in King’s.  

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent

Key responsibilities 

  • Work closely with colleagues in Research Talent, especially the Doctoral Deans, the Director and the two other Associate Directors in the Centre for Doctoral Studies, to continue to enhance and make accessible & inclusive the doctoral student experience 
  • Oversee the design, planning and implementation of the annual programme of training courses for doctoral students offered by the Centre for Doctoral Studies, ensuring that it meets externally-set standards, including those required by the Research Councils, the QAA and other funders, and offers coherent and comprehensive training and development opportunities 
  • Ensure a clear communications and engagement strategy for doctoral students, across the whole landscape of doctoral provision, including supporting all Centre for Doctoral Studies activities and initiatives 
  • Lead on comms & engagement activities to enhance support for doctoral students, which may include projects to address issues relating to equality, diversity & inclusion, wellbeing and mental health 
  • Provide operational leadership of doctoral student engagement, in particular, relating to engagement with and training of doctoral representatives and response to the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 
  • Line manage a team of staff delivering communications, engagement and training & development activities for doctoral students across King’s, setting a clear vision for what is to be delivered and achieved 
  • Ensure alignment of activities with other functions especially Careers & Employability, King’s Clinical Academic Training Office and the Centre for Research Staff Development 
  • Oversee relevant Centre for Doctoral Studies budgets for communications, engagement and training & development activities 
  • Promote skills development of researchers across the College to relevant audiences, including at Faculty/department meetings, inductions and other events 
  • Continue the diversification and integration of training opportunities, working closely with colleagues in the Faculties and across partnerships within/out King’s 
  • Provide leadership, innovation and advice regarding blended and online training opportunities 
  • Devise & develop training materials and deliver development workshops as appropriate 
  • Provide strategic and operational oversight of supervisor development courses, designing and delivering courses as necessary 
  • Lead King’s involvement in the Next Generation Research Supervision Programme, involving colleagues as appropriate 
  • Play an active role in the wider Research Talent department 
  • Maintain strong connections with the UK and international doctoral education & development community, ensuring that King’s is up to date with the latest research and good practice  
  • Liaise with other relevant services, especially those in Students & Education, to ensure that research students are able to access further support as required 

The above list of responsibilities may 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 

Essential criteria  

  1. Educated to degree level or equivalent experience 
  2. Excellent knowledge of doctoral education and researcher development within the UK and internationally 
  3. In depth understanding of challenges in doctoral education, for example, issues relating to equality, diversity & inclusion and mental health 
  4. Knowledge of best practice in personal & professional development for doctoral students including familiarity with the Researcher Development Framework 
  5. Able to work as part of a team, and form and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues at all levels of seniority 
  6. Able to think strategically, and develop and implement strategic projects on-time and to budget 
  7. Experience of managing budgets 
  8. Excellent communication & presentation skills 
  9. Experience of designing and delivering impactful face to face and online training courses 
  10. Experience of delivering doctoral supervision training & development 
  11. Able to manage a diverse team and motivate them to work to a high standard 
  12. Able to work relatively unsupervised, with a high level of organisation 

Desirable criteria

  1. Educated to research degree level 
  2. Experience of higher education committee/governance processes 
  3. Experience of delivering institutional cultural change 
  4. Coaching skills 

Further Information

We pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming. We embrace diversity and want everyone to feel that they belong and are connected to others in our community.

We are committed to working with our staff and unions on these and other issues, to continue to support our people and to develop a diverse and inclusive culture at King's.

We ask all candidates to submit a copy of their CV, and a supporting statement, detailing how they meet the essential criteria listed in the advert. If we receive a strong field of candidates, we may use the desirable criteria to choose our final shortlist, so please include your evidence against these where possible.

To find out how our managers review your application, please take a look at our ‘How we Recruit’ pages.

Interviews are due to be held in early March

This role does meet the requirements of the Home Office and therefore we are able to offer sponsorship for candidates who require the right to work in the UK.


King's College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world and among the oldest in England. King's has more than 27,600 students (of whom nearly 10,500 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and some 6,800 staff.

King's has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) King’s was ranked 6th nationally in the ‘power’ ranking, which takes into account both the quality and quantity of research activity, and 7th for quality according to Times Higher Education rankings. Eighty-four per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*). The university is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of more than £684 million.

King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar.

King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit:

King’s £600 million campaign, World questions|KING’s answers, has delivered huge global impact in areas where King’s has particular expertise. Philanthropic support has funded new research to save young lives at Evelina London Children’s Hospital; established the King’s Dickson Poon School of Law as a worldwide leader in transnational law; built a new Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital; allowed unique collaboration between leading neuroscientists to fast-track new treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease, depression and schizophrenia at the new Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute; created the Cicely Saunders Institute: the first academic institution in the world dedicated to palliative care, and supported the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership in the Ebola crisis. Donations provide over 300 of the most promising students with scholarships and bursaries each year. More information about the campaign is available at

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