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Grade 7 Research Manager

Job Description

Research Development Manager

Closing Date: 6th February 2023 (applications after this date will not be accepted).

VANRATH are delighted to be working in partnership with the Agrifood and Biosciences Institute to hire a Research Development Manager to work within their Research Support Office.

This is a permanent, full-time role, based in Belfast. Working hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, with Flexitime options.


The Finance and Corporate Affairs Division supports AFBI's Chief Executive and Executive Management Teams by playing a key role ensuring AFBI is an efficient, effective, sustainable, and accountable organisation. Included in FCAD is the Research Support Office which identifies research, funding, and commercial opportunities. The work supports the scientific community through identifying and supporting strategic collaborations, shaping competitive applications for value optimisation, influencing a confident and outward facing research culture, leading on the implementation of effective post-award contract management, and supporting the scientific community and colleagues' with translating and disseminating the impact of research.

As a key member of the RSO, the role holder will lead the development of AFBI's research grant income and non-grant in aid portfolio. The role holder's work will build and maintain excellent professional relationships with the research community and its funders; and will have lead responsibility for increasing AFBI's research income in alignment with the AFBI Corporate Plan.

You will lead and provide a proactive proposal development service, including coordinating the contribution from scientific colleagues and external collaborators to ensure the submission of high quality, suitably costed, robust, competitive and fundable applications. The post holder will work closely with Science Directors and Heads of Branches to develop large scale, high quality and multi-disciplinary applications.

Job role:

The duties of the post are likely to include the following:

  1. Develop AFBI's relationships with key contacts, including research funding organisations, charities and foundations, industry bodies as well as UK Research Offices, taking the lead with stakeholders most pertinent to this portfolio.
  2. Proactively horizon-scan and identify strategic research funding opportunities, national and international, for the institution. Promote participation in key funding calls including briefing senior staff regarding strategically significant funding opportunities and recommending appropriate actions to support the bid process.
  3. Identify best practices and new approaches to improving the capabilities of the scientific and research staff and work to enhance their effectiveness in securing external funding and developing external relationships.
  4. Liaise closely with the Head of the RSO to help and advise Principal Investigators on relevant aspects of external grant submission, from alerting researchers of funding opportunities to timely submission of grant, ensuring quality of the submission, adherence to internal and external guidelines and deadlines and finally advising senior management on approval of the proposal.
  5. Instigate, plan and direct a series of strategic fixed-term projects where appropriate with clear goals and identified deliverables. For instance, working with the Head of the RSO and colleagues in FACD to secure PSRE status; working with Science Directors on the AFBI Peer Review 2024.
  6. Work with colleagues to maximise international research grant opportunity capture and project manage and deliver high quality submissions.
  7. Analyse AFBI's research performance on an ongoing basis with a view to designing and implementing practical measures to improve volume, quality or diversity of application activity.
  8. Work with colleagues in Finance and Science Divisions to shape competitive and robustly costed applications to maximise the value to AFBI.
  9. Keep up to date with current and future policy developments to inform the development of new or revised AFBI policies and procedures relating to research. Design and implement such policies and processes in consultation with the relevant users
  10. Work with colleagues within the RSO and across the Finance and Corporate Affairs Division to contribute to the provision of a proactive, integrated, and strategically focused professional services support function.
  11. Provide the leadership and engender a supportive and motivating environment for colleagues in the scientific divisions to actively seek opportunities to develop the quality and value of the AFBI's research portfolio.
  12. Manage application and award funding processes and a portfolio of funded awards to agreed governance, policies and timeframes.
  13. Provide leadership and oversight for all matters relating to PhD research including strategy development, management of student support functions, governance arrangements and the development of strategic partnerships and effective administration with awarding universities.
  14. Work with the Head of the RSO to analyse the research performance at AFBI, reporting to AFBI EMT and Board on activities, trends and results, with information on the implications of funding decisions, as well as recommendations on internal and external procedures in order to effect continuous improvement.

The Ideal Person

Essential Criteria:

  1. To be educated to at least degree level
  2. At least 3 years' experience of working in an advisory capacity for collaborative research funding applications and a proven track record of assisting the initiation and development of successful large-scale collaborative research funding applications
  3. Well-developed understanding of the priorities, operation and strategy of relevant funding bodies as evidenced by a track record of coordinating successful high value research grant applications.
  4. Experience of writing reports, briefing papers and developing policy for management including the analysis and interpretation of information to inform decision-making;
  5. Experience of reporting and/or presenting directly to a senior management committee or board
  6. Ability to engage a range of internal and external stakeholders to collaborate in identifying problems and appropriate solutions, within agreed timetables and budgets.

Desirable Criteria:

  1. A Masters and/or PhD qualifications
  2. Experience of working with and maintaining good relationships with leading prestigious funding sources
  3. Experience of contributing and driving outcomes from research committees or working groups

Salary & Benefits

  • Normally point 1 of Grade 7 pay scale (£52,026-£55,685)
  • Unbeatable pension
  • 37 days annual leave (including statutory and public holidays)
  • Flexitime
  • & a range of other public sector benefits!

For further information on this vacancy, or any other scientific roles in Belfast or wider Northern Ireland, please apply via the link below or contact Ross Stevenson in the strictest confidence.