Assistant Director of IP and Commercial: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Department/Division: Grant Management Group, Health Science & Innovation

Location: Twickenham

Contract: Permanent

Salary: Competitive

Vacancy Reference: 8160

Closing date: 31st March 2020

Job Purpose

The Assistant Director IP and Commercial will have operational responsibility for delivery of the NIHR IP Unit.  The Assistant Director will lead work across the NIHR portfolio to ensure that NIHR funded intellectual property is identified, managed and translated by researchers to produce impactful outcomes that improve the quality, capacity and capability of health care in the UK and overseas. The Assistant Director will be responsible for ensuring that all NIHR contracts are fit for purpose and provide reassurance for NIHR that it has appropriate rights when providing funding. A key part of the role will be supporting the Director of Innovation Programmes to manage commercialisation issues that require detailed analysis of technical, contractual, stakeholder and commercial factors. The Assistant Director will work in a dynamic network of other members of the IP Unit, colleagues throughout the NIHR system, research teams, IP management specialists in research organisations and commercial partners. The Assistant Director will also work on projects that will improve the NIHR’s IP management processes and its integration in to the wider UK health research funding ecosystem.  In addition to ensuring delivery of the NIHR IP Unit, the Assistant Director will also support the GMG Senior Leadership Team to identify and develop new services and offerings for current and potential customers including writing business cases and proposals.

Key Responsibilities

  • Working with the Director of Innovation Programmes and other members of the IP Unit to manage the NIHR IP strategy and policy.
  • Writing and overseeing the delivery of the annual IP Unit Strategic and Operational Plan (S&OP)
  • Reporting of progress on the S&OP objectives to the GMG Governance Team for inclusion in quarterly updates to DHSC
  • Line management of members of the IP Unit
  • Ensure provision of in-person and online IP Open Sessions in Twickenham, Southampton and Leeds that support NIHR staff members to resolve IP-related queries.
  • Supporting NIHR programme managers to resolve project specific issues in a timely, constructive and effective way, including leading discussions with NIHR contractors
  • Coordinate review and periodic updates to the standard NIHR research contracts, including research programmes and infrastructure.
  • Coordinating cross-NIHR meetings and initiatives to standardise the approach to IP management across the NIHR portfolio
  • Ensuring that the IP Unit effectively manages a portfolio of commercialisation cases on behalf of DHSC to maximise return on investment on NIHR-funded IP with a focus on delivering patient benefit and mitigation of state aid, including negotiations of return models (including financial and non-financial return mechanisms) for NIHR and preparation of briefing notes for DHSC.
  • Ensuring development and provision of IP training to NIHR programme managers and staff at NIHR-funded organisations.
  • Ensuring development and use of project management tools for allocation and monitoring of all IP Unit activities.
  • Developing constructive working relationships with key stakeholders across the life science research and innovation community, e.g. technology transfer offices, NIHR Biomedical Research Centres, Academic Health Science Networks
  • Identifying and implementing improvements to the IP Unit and CCF processes and systems.
  • Ensuring that a consistent approach to IP management is used across the NIHR for all activities including advising potential applicants, reviewing project proposals, resolving contractual queries, reviewing and short-listing of proposals for funding, advising during project monitoring, closure and follow up activities.
  • Work with the Director of Innovation Programmes to identify areas to enhance the capacity of NIHR to enter into commercial research partnerships with relevant life science or healthcare organisations
  • To co-ordinate legal advice for the Department of Health and Social Care on all issues relating to research funding on a commercial basis
  • To represent NIHR on monitoring and audit committees on an ad hoc basis
  • To provide broader support for CCF and NIHR colleagues in the area of commercial processes, IP management and advice, when required.
  • Attending and when relevant leading meetings such as IP Management Groups with funding recipients
  • To assist the Director of Innovation Programmes to draft regular progress reports and ad-hoc papers required by internal and external bodies.
  • Contributing to the response to Freedom of Information requests, Parliamentary Questions or briefing requests.
  • Quality checks of the activities of the Innovations Directorate and other NIHR staff.
  • To deputise for the Director of Innovation Programmes as required.
  • Work with other senior members of the LGC Grant Management Group to support delivery of other research funding programmes, e.g. Small Business Research Initiative - Healthcare

Knowledge, Experience and Technical Skills

The key competencies required for the role are:

  • Detailed knowledge of health research processes and ecosystem
  • Expert knowledge of best practice in intellectual property management in the public and private sectors
  • Experience of technology transfer and other commercial activities in the public or private sector
  • Ability to negotiate commercial deals including discussion of revenue sharing terms and analysis of return on investment models for presentation to senior decision makers
  • Understanding of the different organisational goals of universities, NHS Trusts, charities and companies and how these need to be balanced when negotiating with organisations.
  • Expert knowledge of the regulatory framework for intellectual property management and provision of research funding (e.g. State Aid)
  • Practical understanding of contracts for research and commercial agreements and pragmatic resolution of contractual issues balancing the need for legal accuracy with a risk based approach to research funding
  • A proven track record in obtaining appropriate legal advice on contractual and intellectual property management issues
  • A proven track record of financial management and reporting
  • Experience of managing complex projects, demonstrating excellent organisational skills and meticulous record keeping
  • Effective planning, organisational and prioritisation skills with the ability to manage own time to meet demanding deadlines
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and customer focus, including experience of external liaison and meeting management
  • Ability to explain complex IP, contractual and commercial issues to non-experts with clarity and brevity
  • Ability to manage individuals and a team of up to 5 people with rapidly changing priorities
  • Experience of writing complex business proposals including technical and business information in a coherent and engaging way

The job holder will be able to demonstrate the following behaviours in line with LGC’s values:

  • Passion
  • Curiosity
  • Integrity
  • Brilliance
  • Respect

Person Specification

The following qualifications/experience and competencies are required for the role:

  • Degree in a life or health science related subject with a relevant postgraduate qualification (e.g. business).
  • A proven track record in intellectual property management in the context of research and development within the health sector
  • Inquisitive, analytical, self-starter, highly organised, ability to prioritise activities, attention to detail
  • Understanding of commercial principles and processes
  • Ability to synthesis complex information and communicate it to diverse audiences,
  • Ability to manage differing priorities of multiple stakeholders by identifying mutually beneficial solutions
  • A diplomatic and pragmatic approach to issue resolution
  • Previous experience in funding and grant management especially in health and social care
  • Experience of managing a team of experts to deliver high quality outcomes

If you wish to make an informal enquiry about this post, please contact:  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so early application is strongly encouraged to avoid disappointment.

Closing date: 
Tuesday, March 31, 2020