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Research Support Officer - Research Support Services

University of Birmingham
United Kingdom
£27,924 to £34,304
Closing date
Jun 14, 2022

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Position Details

Research Support Services

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £27,924 to £30,497, with potential progression once in post to £34,304.

Grade 6

Full Time - Permanent

Closing date: 14th June 2022

Our offer to you

People are at the heart of what we are and do.

The University of Birmingham is proud to have been a part of the City of Birmingham and the wider region for over 100 years, and we are equally proud to be recognised as a leading global university.  We want to attract talented people from across the city and beyond, support them to succeed, and celebrate their success.

We are committed to helping the people who work here to develop through our sector-leading Birmingham Professional programme which provides all professional services staff with development opportunities and the encouragement to reach their full potential.  With almost 5,000 professional services jobs in a wide-range of functions in Edgbaston and in our campus in Dubai, there are plenty of opportunities for you to be able to develop your career at the University.

We believe there is no such thing as a typical member of staff and that diversity is a source of strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation, and debate.  We warmly welcome people from all backgrounds and are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where diversity is at the heart of who and what we are, and how we work.

Supporting our people to achieve a healthy work/life balance is important both to our employees and to the success of the University and, depending on the role, we offer a variety of flexible working arrangements. We therefore welcome discussions on all forms of flexible working.  In addition, you will receive a generous package of benefits including 40 days paid holiday a year, one paid day a year for volunteering, occupational sick pay, and a pension scheme. We also have three high quality subsidised day nurseries.

The University is situated in leafy Edgbaston and there are excellent transport links to our beautiful campus, including main bus routes and a train station on site.  On campus we have a state-of-the-art sports centre with pool, shops, places to eat and drink, our own art gallery, museum and botanical gardens.

Find out more about the benefits of working for the University of Birmingham .


Achieving the global ambitions of our University strategy depends on our people - and we are proud of our highly talented and engaged professional services colleagues. Our culture is ambitious and high-performing, but also supportive and inclusive. Career progression is encouraged, and you will have the opportunity to take responsibility for your own professional development and wellbeing. We actively support collaboration within and across disciplines and roles. Our staff have high levels of engagement and pride in the University.

Roles at this level will require expertise and a detailed understanding of methods, systems and procedures in an administrative or professional area. You will either use specialist knowledge or have more of a planning/co-ordination/project role or a role which is supervisory in nature where you may manage a team doing similar kinds of work. You will have the opportunity to exercise a high degree of personal responsibility and initiative which you will use to resolve queries; you will use your judgement to deal with unforeseen problems and circumstances, all with limited guidance/supervision.

Department overview

Research Support Services provides academic staff with proactive support for their research, particularly in relation to external grant funding. This covers the full research lifecycle, from the development and funding of major strategic themes, research proposal development, and bespoke support for accessing EU and International funding, to a range of key post-award support services including research finance, research contracts, ethics approval, and sponsor oversight of clinical trials. Research Support Officers are part of the Research Development and Support Team (RDST) that focuses on pre-award research activities and will work either in a College setting with a focus on UK research funding or across all five Colleges focussing on European and other International funding.

Role Summary

As a Research Support Officer (RSO) you will provide essential expert advice and procedural guidance for the development and submission of high-quality research applications to external research funders.

You will support a portfolio of applications which fall under certain funding and complexity thresholds and provide help to other larger applications which are led by Research Facilitators in the Team. You will need to ensure that applications are budgeted appropriately, required documents are prepared according to funder guidelines and online funder portals and application forms are completed correctly. You will also organise bid development meetings and support research network delivery.

You will report either to a Research Facilitator (RF) or to a Senior Research Facilitator (SRF) depending on the area in RDS where the role is posted and support activity predominantly related to a number of designated areas (Schools or Institutes).

In addition to a range of duties relating to the preparation of applications, you will also contribute to the administrative support across the service. This will include providing cover with the other Research Support Officer (RSO) in RDST to maintain support for pre-award activity as well as support the delivery of research strategy meetings and new initiatives regarding research development and funding activity. You also be expected to signpost academics to key knowledge holders, teams, or services as appropriate, and in doing so maintain good working knowledge, relations, workflows, and coordination across the wider professional services teams. This would involve engaging with a wider research support function through attendance and participation at appropriate meetings, workshops, events, and working groups.

Working flexibly as part of the wider Research Development and Support Team, and Research Support Services generally, you will contribute to other cross-College activities, ensuring the delivery of an integrated and consistent support to research for the wider University. In particular, you will liaise with other teams in research support services including the Grant Set-Up and Support Team (GSST), Research Contracts, and Research Post Award management as well as other teams across the University as required to ensure the seamless delivery of academic research support.

This RSO role is based in the team within RDS, based in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. You may also have the opportunity or be called on to support activities outside your designed area of responsibility.

Main duties

Identifying and promoting research funding opportunities, and delivering training activities
  1. Contribute to horizon scanning for funding opportunities (and/or searches for specific calls) and their timely dissemination.
  2. Contribute to the organisation of team meetings and training activities (funding webinars, sandpits, pitch to peer sessions etc).

Providing professional support for research grant applications
  1. Ensure applications in your portfolio are budgeted appropriately, liaising as necessary with the Research Facilitator(s) and Research Budget Officer; and providing expert advice directly to academic staff in respect of budgeting.
  2. Support Research Facilitators in the review and editing of other applications, providing input for specific sections of applications, ensuring the budget and administrative information within application forms and portals is correct and applications are completed to the correct specification of the funder.
  3. Ensure correct approvals are in place prior to submission, identifying and dealing with risks as appropriate.
  4. Ensure the timely submission of applications including approval on systems.
  5. Ensure entries in the Research Gant management system (Worktribe) and other tracking documents (e.g. pipelines) are completed accurately and in full.
  6. Assist in the sourcing, preparation, and maintenance of template documents for specific call requirements.
  7. Arrange and contribute to bid development reporting and meetings to inform ensure that bids are developed to the highest quality.

Supporting the acceptance of research funding awards and reporting
  1. Assist with the process of accepting awards from funders, which will include reviewing budgets and making changes to budget lines stipulated by funders, updating Worktribe records and completing the funder portals, liaising with applicants, and working closely with GSST, Research Contracts, and the Research Post Award Team for setting up new awards.
  2. Check and accept new supplements for existing projects, ensuring costings and documentation is complete. Liaise with the post award finance team to ensure supplements are set up in a timely fashion.
  3. Develop and maintain proactive communication with external partners to maintain communication in order to receive and log award-related contracts in a timely manner.
  4. Ensure records (e.g. Worktribe records) are updated and generate funding reports using in-house IT systems.

  1. Undertake any other appropriate duties as required by the Line Manager in support of RDST activities.
  2. Promotes equality and values diversity, acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.
  3. Supports the University's sustainability agenda through resource efficient working.

Core competencies/transferable skills

Working at this level you will be able to develop and demonstrate the following core competencies/transferable skills and will be expected to be flexible as required in supporting their department and wider University.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications, Experience
  • Educated to Degree level (or equivalent qualifications) - where no equivalent qualification is held, significant practical relevant experience and expertise in a similar role will be required
  • GCSEs to a minimum of grade C in English and Mathematics (or equivalent qualifications)
  • Experience in the research funding ecosystem, key funders, and their processes is desirable but not essential
  • Experience in engaging, and collaborating, with internal and external stakeholders
  • Excellent people interpersonal and management skills, with proven experience in collaboration withing teams, including engaging with peers and staff, within an academic, public sector, or commercial research environment
  • Excellent analytical skills with an ability to analyse qualitative and quantitative information
  • Excellent communication skills, including orally and in writing, with the ability to negotiate effectively with a range of stakeholders
  • Proficient IT skills, including the MS Office suite and manipulation of corporate systems. You should be confident and able to quickly learn new IT skills and software packages as required
  • High level of self-motivation and personal accountability with ability to plan and deliver goals to deadlines under pressure
  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day-to-day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly.

Informal enquires to Antonia Chatzopoulou Chatz, email:
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