Research Strategy and Services
Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK
Full time starting salary is normally in the range £31,396 to £33,966 with potential progression once in post to £38,205
Full Time, Fixed Term contract up to May 2025
Closing date: 14th February 2024
The University has an exciting vision to build on the success of REF2021, by continuing to transform its research performance across outputs, income, impact, and policy influence. Central to this ambition is the Research Strategy & Services Division (RSSD), a new Professional Services department that is being established to provide a transformative and sector-leading approach to research strategy and support.
The Post Award Officer, Research Strategy & Services will be responsible for the financial management and administration of a portfolio of research projects, including responsibility for funder claims, reporting and forecasting, associated with the academic area(s) that they support. The postholder will provide stakeholder management to academic project leads, and will build successful relationships with their peers and colleagues across the wider RSSD, other Professional Services including College administration. They will develop, share and own best practice for post-award financial support, key funders and the portfolio of activity associated with their academic area(s).
The role holder will work within RSSD to embed a culture of collaborative working throughout the team, that empowers all staff within the team to thrive, and work in close partnership with the wider Professional Services, ensuring that academics and external partners receive a consistent and high-quality service to build strong credibility across all functions.
As a Post Award Officer provide high-quality financial management throughout the full post award lifecycle across the portfolio of their academic area(s). Offer stakeholder management to academic colleagues including expert advice on budget maximisation and funder terms & conditions.
Directly manage a portfolio of externally funded research projects undertaking financial claims, reporting, monitoring, and project closure. Deliver to a high standard and high level of accuracy minimising financial risk to the institution. Ensure an understanding of customer needs across the academic community for their area of responsibility, the wider RSSD and other University Professional Services areas.
As a member of Post Award contribute to ensuring that the Post Award function operates efficiently, proactively seeking opportunities to streamline handovers, steps and tasks, systems and processes. Share best practice across the wider RSSD Post Award teams to facilitate the delivery of robust quality assurance and high levels of service to internal and external customers;
Timely completion of a range of monthly KPIs for their academic area, ensuring that they are delivering to high standard and that both financial risk to the institution and reputational risk with external funders is mitigated. This will include but not be limited to project closure, debtor/creditor positions, project monitoring, and claims completion, being accountable to the Head of Post Award for their respective academic area.
Ensure that information required by auditors for funder and University external audits of our research accounting processes, is provided accurately and in a timely manner in order to facilitate verification of both internal processes and the reported financial position.
Arrange and coordinate project specific audits where required by the funder terms and conditions. Ensure that deadlines are met and queries are responded to accurately and within a timely manner, where necessary seeking advice from the Post Award leadership team.
Engage externally with funders where required in order to offer financial assurance and liaison regarding operating procedures. Act as a subject matter expert for major external funders associated with your respective area of responsibility, offering advice and support across the wider RSSD.
Promotes equality and values diversity, acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.
Personally model the Values of the University, and in particular those in the Strategic Framework and Birmingham Professional;
Undertake any other duties as required from time-to-time by the Assistant Director/Post Award leadership team, Research Strategy & Services Division.
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
Evidence of numeracy and literacy, with the ability to write clearly, and to analyse information and data.
Knowledge of the UK research funding ecosystem, key research funders and an understanding of their processes, desirable but not essential.
Experience of engaging and collaborating, with internal and external stakeholders to build teams, deliver key outcomes or resolve challenges.
Experience in improving processes, service quality and/or efficiency, and delivering high quality customer service in your immediate area of activity
Excellent analytical skills with an ability to analyse qualitative and quantitative information and present this to a wide range of audiences
Proficient IT skills, including the MS Office suite and corporate systems. You should be confident and able to quickly learn new IT skills and software packages as required. Excellent knowledge of Excel is essential.
Excellent interpersonal skills, with proven experience of collaboration within teams, including engaging with peers and staff, within an academic, public sector or commercial research environment
Excellent communication skills – with the ability to negotiate effectively with a range of internal stakeholders in order to convey policies or decisions, and to influence decisions.
High level of self-motivation and personal accountability with ability to plan and deliver goals to deadlines under pressure and set priorities for a wide range of tasks and duties relevant to your areas of work
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.