Programme Manager (Strategic Research Fund)

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Programme Manager (Strategic Research Fund) (
Job Number:
Research and Innovation Services
Grade 7: - £35,333 - £42,155 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 5 Years
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 16-Nov-2022, 6:59:00 PM 

Job Title: Programme Manager (Strategic Research Fund)         
Research and Innovation Services        
Grade: Grade 7 
Salary range: £35,333 - £42.155 per annum 
Working arrangements: 35 hrs per week. Hybrid working arrangements available with a mix of on site (minimum 2 days) and home based working.

Fixed Term - 5 Years
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

Research and Innovation Services (RIS) provides guidance, expert advice and hands-on support for all aspects of research and research-related work, including securing funding, working with partners, undertaking knowledge exchange, demonstrating impact, commercialising outputs, ensuring good research practice and supporting professional development.

Durham has ambitious plans to grow our institutional research income and recognise that to enable this we need to make significant investments in our research community and environment. We are therefore establishing the Durham University Strategic Research Fund (SRF), which will offer our academics the chance to bid for substantial investments to be made into our research community through new appointments.

The Programme Manager will be the primary contact for the SRF, working closely with the Director of Research and Innovation Services (Research Development and Operations) to manage the fund and support the wider academic community in engaging with the opportunity and delivering the successful projects. This will involve (for example);

  • leading on all communications and development of materials related to the SRF;
  • dealing with queries on the SRF and discussing suitability of early stage SRF ideas with applicants;
  • providing support to the decision making panel (e.g. collating call documentation, disseminating paperwork, minuting meetings, collating feedback for applicants);
  • providing costing support for all SRF proposals;
  • supporting the development of Full Business Cases (including for example in areas such as risk management, financial sustainability and governance);
  • liaising with Departments, Faculties and University Research Institutes to ensure approvals are in place for SRF proposals and awards;
  • collaborating with other professional service directorates (such as Durham’s Development and Alumni Relation Office, DARO) to explore cross-division opportunities (e.g. for match funding);
  • managing post-award of SRF investments including reporting on progress and managing annual review meetings;
  • supporting successful teams with delivery of their SRF awards including (for example) supporting queries relating to HR and recruitment of new staff.
  • supporting the parallel “pre-SRF” process to identify early-stage ideas including (for example) highlighting the opportunity to the academic community, discussing ideas, managing the pitch event, building a pipeline of projects, and offering other general support.

We are looking for a candidate with strong project management skills, with an ability to work with a diverse array of stakeholders, managing multiple projects and processes at any given time. We will expect the successful candidate to be very proactive, working to help identify ways to improve processes and better support our academic community to help ensure the success of the SRF.

The Programme Manager will be line managed by the Director of Research and Innovation Services (Research Development and Operations). You will work alongside various teams within RIS, particularly the Research Development and Operations teams, and with other professional service directorates across Durham including (for example) HR, Finance and the Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO).

There will also be an expectation that at time the Programme Manager will support other ongoing initiatives led by RIS, dependant on workload. This will be managed at the discretion of the Director of Research and Innovation Services.

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 children’s clubs in the summer holidays.
•    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, inclusion and values

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 asterix* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.  Your application should cover the following criteria:

Essential Criteria  

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to develop excellent working relationships both internally and externally.   
  • Excellent digital competence with demonstrable skills in using core digital tools including internet, email, digital communication tools, Microsoft 365 applications, digital booking system, project planning, financial systems.
  • Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).   
  • Continuing professional development required to maintain professional recognition.   
  • Professional practitioner 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.   
  • Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.    
  • Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues.   
  • Experience of being able to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships, to influence perceptions of the University.
  • Experience of project management.  
  • Experience with financial reports and recording/monitoring of financial project data to meet regular reporting and audit needs.
  •   Desirable Criteria

  • Experience of working in a Higher Education institution.
  • Experience of managing a similar fund or in a similar role.
  • Experience of costing and pricing proposals.
  • Experience of developing business cases.

  • 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 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 Lorna Wilson (, Director of Research and Innovation Services (Research Development and Operations)

    Typical Role Requirements

    Service Delivery

    •    A commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values.
    •    Contribute to development of operational service activities to ensure excellence in the stakeholder experience, including identifying ways to improve the application and delivery process for the SRF.
    •    Provide management for stakeholder service areas and/or processes ensuring a high-quality and timely service to all stakeholders, including academic staff and professional service directorates.
    •    Ensure the review and improvement of systems and procedures in line with University, School, Department or unit frameworks. 
    •    Distribute service information and provide advice to stakeholders regarding compliance and regulations. 
    •    Ensure regulations and procedures are updated to take account of internal and external changes. 

    Planning and Organisation

    •    Implement changes to the design and development of service processes, techniques and deliverables for one or more service strands or project streams. 
    •    Collect and analyse stakeholder feedback to help define needs and requirements and the design and planning of services. 
    •    Analyse service 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 support services. 

    Communications and Networking

    •    Internal and external relationship development and partnership working, networking and participation to engage and influence future services and the University reputation. 
    •    Deliver training, teaching and/or development delivery for stakeholders. This will include contributing to SRF webinars, and supporting academics in the development of their Full Business Cases. 

    •    Contribute to SRF panels, providing effective support and management of the panel process and supporting the Chair (PVC Research) as needed. 
    •    Provide proactive and comprehensive input and support to Director of Research and Innovation Services (Research Development and Operations) 
    •    Provide advice to SRF applicants in relation to University, School and or Department policy, procedures and regulations. 


    Knowledge and Experience

    •    Recognised professional practitioner and service specialist. 
    •    Provide specialist expertise and support with complexity of data and information sources, interpretation and analysis. 
    •    Identify and design activities to meet learning objectives and outcomes. 
    •    Maintain an awareness of current policy for University business goals such as widening participation and access, and provision of advice using specialist knowledge. 
    •    Awareness of the external environment and sector best practice to support high quality services.   

    •    Any other reasonable duties.   
    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 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.



    DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.
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