Northern Accelerator Network Development Manager

Updated: about 2 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Northern Accelerator Network Development Manager (
Job Number:
Research and Innovation Services
Grade 7: - £37,099 - £44,263 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: Until 31st May 2025
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Working Arrangements: We can offer hybrid and flexible working arrangements, some occasional travel will be required
Closing Date
: 05-May-2024, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University

At Durham University we are proud of our people. A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things professionally and personally.  
Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally. We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University. Further information about the University can be found here  


The Role and Department

Durham University is lead partner for Northern Accelerator, an ambitious research commercialisation initiative involving Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside and York Universities. The core delivery team are based in Durham’s Research and Innovation Services (RIS) department, which provides guidance, expert advice and hands-on support for all aspects of research and research-related work, including undertaking knowledge exchange, demonstrating impact, and commercialising outputs.

Northern Accelerator provides support that accelerates and enhances commercialisation and knowledge exchange outcomes (specifically including spinout creation), that are based on research undertaken at our partner universities. It has helped deliver a step-change in spinout activity - in support of individual institutional strategies as well as the local strategic economic plans of the relevant Combined authorities  and the Government’s UK Innovation Strategy. We have secured funding from Research England’s CCF-RED Fund to pilot a range of activity that complements and enhances Northern Accelerator’s established offer. We are looking for a Network Development Manager to take responsibility for delivering key elements of this activity, engaging with partners and wider stakeholder networks to:

  Support the recruitment of experienced entrepreneurs to our ‘Executives into Business’ candidate pool, promoting the opportunity through engagement with targeted sector and entrepreneurial business networks and maintaining engagement with registrants;

  Facilitate spinout networking for executives and founding academics of partner university spinouts providing opportunities for peer engagement and support;

  Collate and curate a network of contacts in support of programme delivery (e.g. expert panellists), broader commercialisation activity (e.g. specialist consultancy), and to aid spinouts’ access to specialist professional services support (e.g. accountants/tax advisors); and

  Support Northern Accelerator engagement with target clusters and sector bodies, the wider innovation ecosystem and university commercialisation communities.

The role holder will work as a key member of a small delivery team that engages with colleagues from across the university partnership. There will be scope for flexible and hybrid working arrangements to be agreed.

Please note that this role is being advertised as a fixed term position, aligning with the end of our current CCF-RED funded pilot project. If it proves successful our intention is to seek to secure funding to continue these network activities, alongside other elements of the Northern Accelerator model.

Further information about the role and the responsibilities is at the bottom of this job description.

Working at Durham 

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits: 

•    30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 42 days per year.  
•    The University closes between Christmas and New Year
•    We offer a generous pension scheme, As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled  into the University Superannuation Scheme (USS).
•    No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered. We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.
•    There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally. There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University. All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities. 
•    Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.
•    On site nursery is available and access to holiday camps for children aged 5-16 throughout the year.
•    Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).
•    The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community
•    Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions. 
•    A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits. 
•    If you are moving to Durham, we can help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools. If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas.

Durham University is committed to equality,  diversity and inclusion

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work. As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do. We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct. At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

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. If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application. If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

What you need to demonstrate when you apply/Person Specification  
When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role. Further information about the role and responsibilities is at the end of this job description.  Where a criteria has an asterisk* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.    
Your application should cover the following criteria:  

Essential Criteria

1.    Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).
2.    Professional practitioner with knowledge and expertise in the development of networks and delivery of network services, events, and activities.
3.    Experience of developing and implementing delivery plans and supporting change and service improvements.
4.    Experience of using digital platforms, including social media channels, to drive engagement with networks and communities.

5.    Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers, colleagues and stakeholders, including more senior colleagues  and stakeholders.
6.    Experience of participating in internal or external networks to share and discuss good practice, develop strong and productive working relationships and positively influence the reputation of Northern Accelerator.

7.   Excellent spoken and written communication skills and the ability to act as a credible spokesperson for Northern Accelerator. * 
8.   Excellent interpersonal skills including the demonstrable ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally, and to align the objectives of organisations.

9.   Strong digital competence across a range digital devices and apps including digital communication tools, Microsoft 365 applications, business systems.
10.  Committed to continuing professional development to maintain professional recognition.
11.  Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory, funder and organisational policy and guidelines.
12.  Ability to formulate, develop and implement service delivery strategies and plans.
13.   Ability to solve problems and decide on and plan appropriate solutions.     

Desirable Criteria

14.  Experience/knowledge of facilitating peer networks.
15.  Understanding of the regional and national innovation landscape, ideally in relation to university and business collaboration.
Understanding of the challenges faced by start-up and developing businesses, ideally including technology-driven businesses (as typical university spinouts tend to be).

How to Apply   

To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider any desirable criteria, but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria. Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above).

While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.   
Submitting your application 

We prefer to receive applications online. We will update you about 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 make sure you have not missed any of our updates.
What you need to submit   

•    A CV: and   
•    A supporting statement or covering letter which outlines how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification.    

Contact details   
For a chat about the role or any further information please contact Edwin Milligan - Northern Accelerator Senior Manager [email protected]

Typical Role Requirements   

Service Delivery/Development
•    Show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values.

•    Develop and implement a delivery plan for a programme of network events for spinout executives, founding academics and wider stakeholders
•    Engage with external networks, forums and communities to support the development of the Northern Accelerator service offer

•    Provide specialist advice and guidance relating to network development and management, in line with the University’s policies, regulations and values.
•    Manage the delivery of Northern Accelerator network services to a high standard.
•    Provide the best possible service by continually reviewing what is required from stakeholders and contribute to ideas and service improvements.
•    Look for ways to improve [processes, techniques and outputs/results] across all areas of your work.
•    Identify any learning needs that should be met by the Northern Accelerator network service and arrange activities and training to address these.

Planning and Organisation
•    Contribute to operational leadership teams to influence the type and level of services that are Northern Accelerator provides.
•    Contribute to progressing the strategic and operational priorities of Northern Accelerator.
•    Seek feedback from customers and stakeholders so that Northern Accelerator is being adapted to meet customer and stakeholder expectations and to plan future requirements.
•    Help meet the development needs of your stakeholders, providing training when required.
•    Support the management of relevant budgets and expenditure including buying goods and services.

•    Provide advice and share guidance with your stakeholders to ensure that the University and funder’s policies, procedures and regulations are complied with.
•    Use your operational expertise to lead and participate in business meetings, working groups and sub-committees.
•    Coordinate and organise business meetings and deal with any related actions.
•    Update policies and procedures in response to any internal or external changes.
•    Create positive working relationships, including internal and external networks, using your networks to increase your knowledge and skills and swap information with peers.

•    Any other reasonable duties.

Useful links

If you would like further information you may find the following will help

Home - Northern Accelerator

New funding will prepare the runway for commercialisation success – UKRI   

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 Privacy Notices - Durham University which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.   

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas. 

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