Research Set-up and Support Facilitator - Research Support Services (Finance Office)

2 days left

United Kingdom
£30,942.00 - £42,792.00
Dec 26, 2020
Jan 25, 2021
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Position Details

Research Support Services

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £40,322, with potential progression once in post to £42,792..

Grade 7

2 posts available
  • 1 x Fixed term until September 30th 2021 - Secondment of internal candidates will be considered.
  • 1 x Permanent

The University of Birmingham has a strong ambition to grow its external research grant income, and the area of research grant set-up and support is a current priority for investment.

The Research Set-up and Support team was established within Research Support Services in order to provide academic staff with dedicated support in relation to the set-up of their projects following a successful grant application.

The Research Set-up and Support team compromises five Research Set-up & Support Facilitators, who operate flexibly across the University's five colleges under the direction of the Research Set-up & Support Manager and supported by a Research Set-up and Support Administrator. They provide expert support to academic staff in relation to research project set-up and running, as well as troubleshooting any major issues that emerge in the ongoing management of their research projects. The team sits within Research Support Services, and provides on-the-ground support to academic staff across Schools and Colleges.

The set-up of research projects is an increasingly complex process due to regulatory and governance expectations from funders, as well as the need for complex internal preparations in advance of a grant starting. The set-up phase for a project can involve a large number of preparatory steps - including finance, HR, space requirements, equipment procurement, IT provision, risk assessment, contractual agreements, ethical approval, relevant regulatory, governance and due diligence checks and approvals, etc.

There are three main dimensions to the Research Set-up & Support Facilitator (RSF) role:
  • Project managing the grant set-up phase for grant winners, taking forward preparations or discussions with other areas of Professional Services or external partners, on behalf of the PI.
  • Providing flexible ongoing management support for research projects, resolving issues with relevant Professional Service colleagues as necessary.
  • Acting as a focal point for College issues around grant set-up and the running of projects, liaising with key research infrastructure and support colleagues (e.g. HE, Finance, Contracts, IT, Estates, Facilities, and College Administration/Operations teams) around issues that are regularly coming up within a College; and acting as a communication channel to feed back to the Research Facilitators regarding issues that need to be addressed at bid development stage.

Whilst managed as part of central Professional Services team, RSFs work closely alongside colleagues in other local research-related Professional Service functions within Colleges, ensuring co-ordination with wider College research support activities.

The RSFs also need to develop and maintain good understanding and working relationships with the range of central Professional Service support available to academic staff at Birmingham, and ensure that accurate and timely information is available to staff in Colleges. The RSFs will be involved in providing training and information sessions to staff on the College and University requirements, as well as the range of Professional Services support available.

Main Duties

Supporting Grant Holders with the set-up of new Research Projects
  • Act as a caseworker for academic staff requiring support in the setting up of new major grant funded projects, including senior researchers winning major strategic research awards, new investigators, incoming Fellows and academic staff transferring to Birmingham.
  • Working closely with the grant-holders, provide tailored and face-to-face guidance, and project managing the set-up and start of the funded research, liaising with Professional Services colleagues to ensure necessary arrangements are made in a timely way.
  • Provide advice and guidance at the outset of the project on complying with specific funder terms and conditions, meeting project milestones, and reporting requirements; provide guidance documents for reference during the research project.
  • Provide advice and guidance on the management of research budgets, and the funding available under different headings on a new research awards.

Ongoing Research Grant Support
  • Liaise with College Operations Managers (or equivalent) to co-ordinate the effective provision of ongoing project admin support, where this is costed on grant projects.
  • Provide support to grant-holders where problems emerge in the running of a grant-funded project, seeking to take forward the resolution of issues in partnership with other relevant Professional Services, and escalating issues on behalf of the grant-holder as necessary.

Enhancing and Promoting College-specific Support for Research
  • Acting as key Research Support Services contact for specified Schools/Colleges on the set-up and ongoing management of research grants.
  • Developing and maintaining detailed working knowledge of the operationalisation of grant-funded projects, and the range of Professional Service support available to grant holders, including information on key contacts and processes for research contracts, ethics & governance, space and facilities, data management and storage, equipment and other procurement requirements, recruitment (including any guidance regarding internal College approval processes), and College marketing and communications.
  • Ensuring clear information is available for academic staff on the steps required to start their research projects after notification of a successful research proposal, covering both College-specific and central University requirements.
  • Run regular training sessions for new grant-holders on grant set-up requirements, and good practice in research grant management.

Process and service improvement in Research Grant Set-up and Management
  • Working as a member of the Grant Set-up and Support Team, identify areas for service improvement in relation to grant set-up and management, and lead process improvements as agreed with the team lead.
  • Ensure that transitions between pre-award and post-award support operate smoothly, providing feedback and advice to the pre-award teams on any issues that have emerged, in order to identify where issues could have been better addressed in the bid development phase.
  • Developing and maintaining strong working relationships with staff involved in research bid development (including Business Engagement, EU & International, and Development & Alumni Relations), as well as wider staff within Research Support Services and Professional Services supporting research, in order to be able to identify any areas where communication or connection between research support processes can be improved.
  • Work as part of the Grant Set-up and Support team to identify and adopt best practice in grant set-up and support across all Colleges.
  • Champion and lead the roll-out of any new systems or processes in relation to research grant set-up and management, and feedback on uptake and user-satisfaction at School/Institute or College level.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications, Experience

Knowledge and Understanding

  • Honours degree or equivalent.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the UK research funding environment, key funders and their processes.

  • Knowledge and understanding of a range of current research management areas, such as contracts, research costing/budgeting, research governance, ethical review, data sharing, open access, intellectual property, equality and diversity, etc.
  • Postgraduate qualification or previous research experience.
  • Experience of supporting research in an academic, public-sector or commercial research environment and of university collaboration with external partners.

Project Management and Organisational Skills
  • Highly developed organisational skills, with the ability to work flexibly across a portfolio of projects, and prioritise competing demands on time.
  • Project management skills, including development of project plans, and experience of budget planning.
  • Ability to integrate complex information from internal and external sources to inform project planning.
  • Proven ability to convey complex information, including financial information, in a clear way, and present operational conclusions clearly and concisely.
  • Confident and capable user of IT inclusive of all main Office products (e.g. Access, Excel, PowerPoint and Word)

Problem Solving and Initiative
  • Creative attitude and excellent problem-solving skills with the ability to generate innovative responses when faced with a range of challenging scenarios.
  • Able to remain calm under pressure, with a strong commitment to the delivery of exceptional customer service.
  • Ability to work autonomously and under own-initiative in resolving issues, and applying a significant amount of professional and independent judgement.
  • Ability to take responsibility for resolution of issues, proactively working with internal partners to negotiate satisfactory solutions.

Working Collaboratively
  • Ability to build trusted relationships and work as part of a diverse team in delivering challenging outcomes.
  • Ability to foster co-operation and collaborative internal partnership working in order to achieve project outcomes.
  • Ability to work with others effectively, efficiently and supportively when under pressure, prioritising a diverse workload and always responding professionally and in a customer-focussed way.
  • Understanding and experience of working flexibly across internal organisational boundaries, and bringing a whole-systems approach to plans and activities.

Communication Skills
  • Excellent networking, interpersonal and relationship-building skills.
  • Excellent written communication skills with an ability to vary tone as appropriate with a wide range of audiences.
  • Excellent oral communication skills, confidently communicating one-on-one and in front of a group in a persuasive manner, gaining cooperation from people with disparate goals, presenting complex issues in a way that makes them accessible to others.

Informal enquires to Dr. Mark Pullinger, e-mail: phone: 07971 078924

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community

Valuing excellence; sustaining investment

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