Operations Manager

Durham University

Operations Manager (
Job Number:
Institute of Medical Humanities
Grade 7:  £36,333 – 37,386 pro annum
Fixed Term  Full Time
Contract Duration: 84 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 27-Jun-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University 

At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things professionally and personally.  Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University. Further information about the University can be found here  

The Role and Department 

The Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University are looking for an experienced and dynamic Operations Manager for the Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities at Durham University. This is a Wellcome Trust funded Platform which will be hosted by the Institute for Medical Humanities from September 2023 until the end of August 2030. 


The Operations Manager will play a key role in setting up the financial, HR and administrative structures of the Platform and then overseeing its day to day operation. This will include establishing operational processes and procedures, financial planning, managing the central administrative team, the building and facilities, and leading the logistics for the Platform events programme. 


The Operations Manager will report to the Platform Directors, Angela Woods (Director) and Ben Alderson-Day (Co-director). Angela Woods will be the post-holder’s direct line manager. At the outset the post-holder will lead on the recruitment and line-management of a Platform Administrative Team who will support Administration and Finance processes, as well as Events and Fellows coordination. 

The Operations Manager will be a key member of the Platform’s Management Team, working closely with the Platform leads on Engagement, Digital and Communications, and Creative Facilitation. They will also work with key academic Lab and Site Leads in the Platform, Institute for Medical Humanities staff and an international network of medical humanities researchers. 


The post-holder will also work with the University’s Research and Innovation Services and Finance teams to ensure highly efficient and effective financial and administrative management of the Platform. Other key working relationships will be with other University professional support services including HR and Estates and Buildings, the Wellcome Trust, other University departments and their associated Department Managers. 


About the Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities 


The Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities (DRP-MH) at Durham University aims to empower health and wellbeing researchers from different sectors and disciplines to co-develop new and experimental approaches to tackling health challenges, including mental health and health inequalities. It is a £9m award which aims to transform the way research is undertaken in the field of Medical Humanities.  


The Platform involves researchers from departments across the Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences. It will also engage with and support international research networks, and a wide range of voluntary and health sector partnerships. The DRP-MH is hosted by the Institute for Medical Humanities (IMH) which is focused on improving health by understanding hidden 

Experiences. The Institute and Platform are currently located at the Caedmon building on Durham University’s Science Site in Durham city. Further information about the Institute can be found here and about the Platform can be found here.  


Further information about the role and the responsibilities is at the bottom of this job description. 


Working at Durham  

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits:  

•    30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 42 days per year.   

•    The University closes between Christmas and New Year.  

•    We offer a generous pension scheme. As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled into the University Superannuation Scheme (USS). 
•    No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies. 
•    There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities. 

•    Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme. 

•    On site nursery is available and children’s clubs in the summer holidays. 
•    Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers). 
•    The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community 
•    Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions.  
•    A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits.  
•    If you are moving to Durham, we can help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools.  If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas. 


Durham University is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion 

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI. 


We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role. 

What you need to demonstrate when you apply/Person Specification   
When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role.  Further information about the role and responsibilities is at the end of this job description.  Where a criteria has an asterisk* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.     
Your application should cover the following criteria:   


Essential Criteria 


  • Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience). 

  • *Professional practitioner with knowledge and expertise in the management, delivery and development of projects, centres, or services within a university or similar organisation. 

  • Experience of managing and developing a team or teams and/or line management qualification  

  • Demonstrable people, leadership and management skills.  

  • *Experience of developing and implementing policies and procedures and supporting change and service improvements.  

  • Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues. 

  • Experience of participating in internal or external networks to share and discuss good practice, develop strong and productive working relationships and positively influence the University’s reputation. 



  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills including the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally. 

  • Strong digital competence across a range of digital devices and apps including Microsoft 365 applications and project and budget management tools.

  • High level of numeracy, and able to collate, record, analyse and present financial data  

  • Committed to continuing professional development to maintain professional recognition. 

  • Knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines. 

  • Ability to solve problems and decide on and plan appropriate solutions.  

  • Desirable Criteria 

  • A higher degree (Masters or PhD) or a relevant professional qualification 

  • Track record of management and development experience and/or an enhanced management qualification applied across a large service team or teams. 

  • Experience of managing large scale interdisciplinary or cross-sector projects or programmes  

    How to Apply    

    To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider any desirable criteria, but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria.  Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above). 

    While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.    
    Submitting your application  

    We prefer to receive applications online.   We will update you about your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to make sure you have not missed any of our updates. 
    What you need to submit    

    •    A CV: and    

    •   A supporting statement or covering letter of no more than 2 pages A4 which outlines how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification. Please ensure you give detailed examples of how you meet these criteria. 

    Contact details    
    For a chat about the role or any further information please contact the Senior Manager (Research and Engagement) at the Institute for Medical Humanities, Evelyn Tehrani [email protected]   


    Typical Role Requirements  

    Management of Operations  

    • Overall management of the Platform estate, services, resources, and Administrative Staff Team. 

    • Develop a strategy for the management of Platform Operations in conjunction with the Platform Directors and management group, ensuring management structures are transparent.  

    • Proactive and innovative development and establishment of systems, procedures and tools to manage the complexity of the large £9 million grant over 7 years and additional grants secured through the Platform or Institute,  

    • Develop, maintain, track progress and report against an overarching project plan for Platform Operations that incorporates the objectives, activities, responsible parties, dates, and key milestones of the various stakeholders.  

    • Advise the Directors and Co-Is of potential operational and strategic problems, offer sound solutions and assist in implementing the resultant decisions. 

    • Establish and maintain good working relationships with Platform and IMH staff and stakeholders.  


    Service Delivery/Development 

    • Show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values. 

    • Review and look for ways to improve systems and procedures that are relevant to your area of work in line with the University’s frameworks and Regulations. 

    • Manage the delivery of services and processes to support the operation of the Platform and the Institute (IMH).  

    • Provide the best possible service by continually reviewing what is required from staff, researchers, networks and centres supported by the Platform and IMH and contribute to ideas and service improvements. 

    • Work with your team to look for ways to improve processes and deliverables across all areas of your work. 


    Human Resources management  

    • Recruit, induct, train and develop new Platform Administrative team staff who will assist you in delivering the Platform Operations.  

    • Manage the Platform Administrative team to ensure Platform operations, services and infrastructures are effective and timely (see below).  

    • Manage the recruitment process for Durham-employed staff, researchers and Visiting Fellows across the Platform portfolio, ensuring Durham procedures are adhered to, including providing advice and guidance to line-managers and recruitment leads. 

    • Maintain a database of all Platform staff including job descriptions, CVs, and recruitment timelines across the Platform. 


    Financial management  

    • Take responsibility for the strategic management and control of all budgets held by the Platform and Institute and ensure all procedures are in line with Durham regulations, supervising the Platform Finance Officer and liaising with the University’s Research Operations and Finance Teams.  

    • Ensure that robust systems are in place to control all project budgets and that these are in line with both the University and the funders’ regulations, liaising with the Post Award Compliance Team and funders’ project officers as required.  

    • Ensure appropriate allocation of project funds between the University and beneficiaries or collaborators, liaising with the University’s Research Operations and Finance Teams.  

    • Advise the Directors and management group on all matters relating to management and allocation of financial resources.  

    • Responsible for drafting, re-profiling and updating project budgets and preparing budget statements.  

    • Responsible for supervision and surveillance of all expenditure against budget and activities.  

    • Prepare summaries of project finances for the Directors and Co-Is, Management Committees and funders, as needed.  

    • Establish robust systems to monitor and follow-up any variances of expenditure against budget.  


    Team Management and Development 

    • Manage and monitor the performance, workload and expected outcomes of the Platform Administrative Staff Team and take action to respond anything that impacts on the service level provided. 

    • Ensure that your team can deliver the required services by devolving and delegating responsibilities to appropriate team members.  

    • Carry out regular team and individual performance reviews to provide feedback on objectives and expectations for the Platform Administrative Staff Team and identify any development needs. 

    • Ensure that your team continues to develop by coaching and mentoring team members and delivering any training needs. 

    • Support the welfare and wellbeing of your team referring more complex issues to specialist services. 



    • Provide advice and share guidance with your stakeholders the Platform Directors and management group, researchers and other stakeholders to ensure that the University’s policies, procedures and regulations are complied with. 

    • Use your operational expertise to participate in business meetings, working groups and sub-committees. 

    • Update policies and procedures in response to any internal or external changes. 

    • Create positive working relationships, including internal and external networks, using your networks to increase your knowledge and skills and swap information with peers. 

    • Any other reasonable duties.    


    Useful links 

    If you would like further information you may find the following will help 

    The Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities https://www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/medical-humanities/discovery-research-platform-for-medical-humanities-drp-mh/   


    Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University https://www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/medical-humanities/  


    Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement Privacy Notices – Durham University which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.    



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