Director of Operations, Edinburgh Futures Institute

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  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Date: 4 days ago
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Director of Operations, Edinburgh Futures Institute

The Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) will be a global centre for multi-disciplinary, challenge-based Data Driven Innovation (DDI) research, teaching and engagement. Its distinctiveness stems from an approach which combines multi-disciplinarity with co-production – working with industry, governments and communities (at home and abroad) to build a portfolio of activity that has demonstrable ethical, social, cultural, economic and environmental impacts. This approach recognises that almost all of the biggest challenges facing societies globally, such as climate volatility, political discontent, economic upheaval and technological change are complex and multi-level in orientation. And that insight and innovation can come from bringing the arts, humanities and the social sciences into contiguity with data science, engineering, the natural sciences and medicine.

EFI has responsibility for delivering five major programmes linked to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal: a multi-million pound investment by the UK and Scottish Government, aiming to attract inward investment, support skills development and entrepreneurship, with the aim of securing economic prosperity for all. The focus of EFI’s programmes are: financial services (including fintech); creative industries; tourism and festivals; public services; the ethics of data and artificial intelligence; and future infrastructure.

EFI is seeking a Director of Operations with the skills and experience to lead the Institute over its exciting developmental stage, through to building occupation and into business as usual operations. Working with the Director of EFI, the ideal candidate will have extensive operations management experience, preferably in an academic or higher education setting, will be an excellent motivator and team leader, with the ability to positively engage stakeholders at all levels internal and external to the University.

This is a full time (35 hours per week), open-ended post.

Salary will be appointed to on the UE10 salary scale.

Closing date: Friday, 12 June 2020, 5pm (GMT)

Job title: Director of Operations

School/Support Department: Edinburgh Futures Institute

2. Job Purpose

Working closely with the Director of EFI, the post holder will provide senior operational leadership for EFI in support of all aspects of EFI business. This will include the development and implementation of business plans to ensure that 1) the operational infrastructure of EFI supports the multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder ways of working at scale, 2) the key iTRADE objectives of the City Region Deal investment (delivering Inclusive Growth; Talent; Research; Adoption; Data and Entrepreneurship) are met; and, 3) the fit-out, occupation and use of the new EFI building supports delivery of these key objectives. The post holder will lead and coordinate the EFI project management office and oversee its transition to a permanent administrative team in the new building. In collaboration with the Director of EFI, the post holder will work across all the three Colleges of the University and with external stakeholders to deliver these objectives. The D.Op will also work closely with the Data Driven Innovation programme office in the University and other colleagues in relevant fields across the University as well as partner organisations and represent the Director of EFI when required.

3. Main Responsibilities

Approx. % of time

Development of EFI strategy: work closely with the Director of EFI to develop EFI strategy for the delivery of the Institute’s business case and to expand opportunity and participation in data driven innovation across critical growth areas; in doing so to ensure consultation with relevant groups within all three Colleges of the University, including College Offices, Schools, Subject Areas and Institutes, the other City Region Deal innovation hubs (Bayes, Usher, Agritech and the National Robotarium) and the University City Region Deal Programme Office team, as well as relevant external stakeholders. Lead the development of business models as required for the funding and delivery of the strategy developed. Refine measures for data collection and reporting of EFI activity for the City Region Deal programme and in collaboration with senior professional services staff across the DDI programme, ensure that information systems are fit for purpose, appropriately coordinated and utilised to support effective strategic decision-making.

Manage EFI Operations: In support of the delivery of the EFI strategy, ensure the efficient and effective operation of EFI and all associated governance groups on a day to day basis. Scope to include all aspects of people management, team development and resourcing planning to ensure efficient and effective business processes for EFI, liaising where appropriate with the College Office in the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences for a range of operational support including HR, Finance and Planning. EFI operations will be supported by technology and the Director of Operations will ensure high quality measurement & evaluation of the EFI progress against targets including reporting to all associated senior management fora.

Partnership development:
Working closely with the Director of EFI, the EFI Directorate, City Region Deal Programme team, Edinburgh Innovations, and colleagues across Schools and Colleges, identify, engage, foster and sustain a wide network of governmental, regulatory, commercial, third sector and community partners for EFI programmes. This will include collaborative partners for: research; education (supporting the design of EFI’s life-long pedagogic offer and student projects); training and executive education; and for co-location within the EFI building.

DDI Programme Collaboration: Ensure the effective integration of the operational activities of EFI with the other Innovation Hubs of the DDI Programme, including the Robotarium at Heriot Watt University, and other functions within the University including Edinburgh Innovations, Service Excellence Programme, Communications and Marketing, and Student Administration.

DDI Programme Delivery: Work closely with the DDI Programme senior leadership to grow and mature the EFI delivery capability whilst adapting to the changing needs of the DDI Programme, through maintaining a medium term operational development plan, across the TRADE (Talent, Research, Adoption, Datasets and Entrepreneurship) themes and sectors, adapting to successes & failures in specific areas.

Deputising for the Director of EFI as required at internal and external events and meetings, such as the DDI Programme board(s) and the Estates project board of the EFI.

4. Planning & Organising

• Working with senior colleagues, develop an effective strategy, and associated transformational opportunities, for EFI that enable delivery of all stakeholders’ objectives and ensure EFI sustainability.
• Plan and execute operational activities to ensure that EFI delivers on its strategy and plays its role to the full in delivering the DDI Programme whilst delivering long-financial sustainability.
• Ensure delivery of complex multifaceted projects hosted at EFI, coordinating the delivery across partners, and maintaining trusted relationships.
• Lead and develop professional staff, to meet individual, EFI and University objectives.
• Lead and advise on multiple projects which have significant resource and strategic impact.
• Be self-directive to ensure achievement of the ambitious targets and vision for EFI in the University, in the City Region Deal and wider scope for this programme
• Work with partners in the DDI Programme Office and Edinburgh innovations to identify and extend EFI commercial partnerships.

5. Problem Solving

• Apply knowledge and independent thinking to advise and resolve challenges and opportunities.
• Resolve conflicts within projects and on-going operations to ensure on-time, high-quality delivery with EFI agreed budgets.
• Develop strong relationships, networks and partnerships with EFI senior partners, manage competing priorities, ensuring learning is shared widely and used in practice, and encourage collaborative working.
• Demonstrate flexibility to respond to the unexpected and prioritise accordingly.
• Take ownership of problems or unresolved issues and use analytical skills to design novel, elegant solutions to problems. Use breadth of experience to identify creative responses to the challenges of cross-disciplinary research, teaching and innovation
• Work closely with organisations across financial services, cultural industries and public sector to understand their needs, constraints and opportunities and develop approaches to meet these.

6. Decision Making

• Use judgement and experience to develop and lead on actions needed to implement a holistic approach to EFI.
• Determine the partnerships required and act to develop and nurture them.
• Ability to clearly state evidence, insights or use cases that drive decisions and/or recommendations.
• Be a team player who knows when to offer or ask for advice, or to “join the dots” among EFI colleagues and between EFI and other groups to accelerate decision-making or conversion of opportunities.
• Demonstrate the ability to assess risks and make recommendations based on thorough analysis of all factors involved.
• Generate original ideas and innovative solutions by providing specialist expertise and advice when required.
• Determine the most efficient and effective ways to communicate with stakeholders, ensuring the use of the correct method of communication for the appropriate audience.

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

The post-holder will act as a senior, operational liaison officer, building and maintaining valuable relationships with partners, stakeholders, key companies within the private sector, funders, development agencies, Councils and Government and its agencies, and the wider community. The post will be line-managed by the Director of EFI, with a dotted-line reporting responsibility to the College Registrar (College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences). Key relationships include:
• The Director of EFI and members of the EFI Directorate.
• EFI affiliated Research Institute and Centre Directors and educational leads.
• Heads of Colleges, Deans of Research and College Registrars (especially in CAHSS, but also in other Colleges).
• Heads of Schools and Directors of Professional Services in Schools.
• Director of the DDI Programme and the leadership team of the DDI Programme Office.
• Business development leads in Edinburgh Innovations and the Innovation Hubs linked to the City Region Deal.
• Members of the City Region Deal’s Data Driven Innovation Programme Delivery Board (working with the cross-University Executive Team and representing EFI in this context).

8. Knowledge, Skills & Experience

• Educated to degree/masters level or equivalent plus extensive experience, including a minimum of five years’ experience operating at a strategic management level within a data-focussed or similar field.
• Previous experience of senior operational management, including strategy, budget, infrastructure, people and process, is essential.
• Proven ability to contribute to the development of a strategic vision; experience of organisational strategy development, operational and customer/user service strategy.
• Excellent experience of design and delivery of programme and workstream plans in a complex environment.
• Experience of developing and delivering complex projects at scale across their full lifecycle, engaging both private and public sector organisations.
• Active and effective cross functional communication within and beyond the business; proven ability to build collaboration across departments.
• Excellent analytical, written and oral communication skills, supported by good IT skills.
• Proven ability to establish and maintain a network of personal working relationships with senior decision makers within and across a large complex organisation such as a University.
• Ability to inspire leadership through high quality delivery, instilling high levels of confidence and trust from senior leaders.
• Excited by the future of data.

This post will provide strategic operational leadership for an institute that aims to function as a change-maker, catalysing radically new approaches to education and research, supporting the creation of an academic structure that can traverse disciplinary borders, and contributing to an ethos of seamless co-operation across Schools, Colleges and external collaborators.

(i) Pioneering new modes of education, research and engagement
EFI will bring together a diverse and global student cohort comprising: full time on-campus students; part-time, on campus and online students; intermittent lifelong students on campus and on-line. Our courses will be mostly be taught in two-day intensive sessions with wraparound project based work (undertaken in small groups and with partners from industry, government or the wider community) before and after. Time for consolidation and co-curricular activity will be designed in. Each course will be designed for on-campus and off-campus students, with an ambitious course co-design approach (with external partners) and technological infrastructure in place to support this hybrid learning model.

Our model of research and engagement (adoption) is predicated on: co-design with partner institutions from industry, the public and third sectors as well as wider communities (at home and internationally); radical multi-disciplinarity at scale, bringing the arts, humanities and social sciences into contiguity with data science, engineering, the natural sciences and medicine; and predicated on data driven innovation aimed at social, economic, ethical, cultural impact.

The EFI building will provide spaces for prototyping, innovation and experimentation, as well as for public engagement, exhibitions and events. The motto inscribed in stone above the main entrance is: “Patet Omnibus” - it means “Open to All”.

(ii) The City Region Deal
The Data-Driven Innovation initiative is part of the £1.3 bn Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, aiming to help organisations and citizens benefit from the data revolution. The success of the Edinburgh & South East Scotland City Region Deal is crucial to the economic growth of the region and the long-term strategy of the University of Edinburgh.
The £UK Government grant to the DDI Initiative is the largest ever to a University-led programme, with £270 of capital funding. Together with the match funding from the Universities and external partners, the budget of the DDI will exceed £660m over 10 years.
Working together to deliver the 10-year programme are the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, whose experts will collaborate with industrial partners on data-based projects in the public, private and third sectors. Five data-driven innovation ‘hubs’ have been created, housing expertise and facilities to help 10 industrial sectors become more innovative through data, with five of the sectors based in EFI:
• Financial Services (EFI)
• Fintech (EFI)
• Public Sector /GovTech (EFI)
• Tourism & Festivals (EFI)
• Creative Industries (EFI)
• Agritech
• Healthcare and Social Care
• Digital Technologies
• Space & Satellite Technologies
• Robotics Technologies

The Programme will deliver a significant contribution to the region’s economy, with EFI and other DDI Hubs as the main delivery mechanism of TRADE outcomes:
• T – Talent, 100.000 people with data science skills
• R – Research, £690 m of additional research funding
• A – Adoption, 1000 organisations benefiting from better use of data
• D – Data, 1000 datasets available
• E – Entrepreneurship, 400 companies started of scaled up.

10. Job Context & Other Relevant Information

The University is currently undertaking a review of a number of its professional services within our Service Excellence Programme and therefore job descriptions and their location may be subject to change.
• Post holder must continuously develop and keep skills and knowledge up to date, share knowledge and experience and advise others on best practice and changes.
• Will be expected to contribute to, and benefit from liaison and communication across the team and beyond.
• Team members will be required to provide cover and back up for colleagues in the EFI Office.
• The post holder will be expected to be flexible and adapt to be responsive to changes in order to support the activities and initiatives of EFI..

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

We anticipate interviews will be held in early to mid June. You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

The closing date is 5pm (GMT) on Friday 12 June 2020.

Right to Work

In accordance with UK legislation the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

In the circumstances where the vacancy does not meet the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) criteria for sponsorship the successful applicant must have the existing right to work in the UK or individual circumstances which enable permission to work to be obtained.

For further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes please visit the GOV.UK website

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme

This role is grade UE10 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

The role is grade UE10 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Office

The College Office is located in various buildings closely co-located in George Square. It contains the central administrative and management services for the College, which are led by the College Senior Management Team, consisting of the Vice-Principal/Head of College, the College Registrar, five Deans, the College Accountant, the Head of College HR and the College Chief Information Officer.

The administrative support structure of the College is led by the College Registrar, with Teams covering Academic Affairs; Admissions (Undergraduate, Visiting and Postgraduate); Estates; Finance; Human Resources; Knowledge Exchange, Research; Resources and Web Development.

The College Office hosts the College-wide Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), which is an important framework for interdisciplinary work across the humanities and social sciences.

The College also hosts the Centre for Open Learning (COL) which provides part time and short courses during the day and evenings for a range of members of the local community, from people returning to learning, to professionals seeking to develop their skills. (COL) incorporates the University’s Languages for All centre, offering a wide range of language support for our students.

To find out more about the College Office and IASH please visit our websites:

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is a large and diverse part of the University. Led by Vice-Principal Professor Dorothy Miell, it has 13,800 undergraduates, 5,500 taught postgraduates, 1,300 research students and more than 3,800 academic and professional services staff. The College incorporates 11 Schools (Business; Divinity; Economics; Edinburgh College of Art; Education; Health in Social Sciences; History, Classics and Archaeology; Law; Literatures, Languages and Cultures; Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences; and Social and Political Science), the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and the Centre for Open Learning. The College is located on multiple sites across Edinburgh, with the majority of Schools and College Offices based close to the central George Square area. The College, which is recognised as one of the world's leading centres for the arts, humanities and social sciences in research and teaching, has been growing and investing strongly in recent years.

Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014)

The College operates at the highest levels of international quality across a very wide range of disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences and submitted the work of more than 750 staff to 23 Units of Assessment in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. The College achieved a superb result, combining a large-scale, broad and diverse submission with very high quality outcomes: 86% of its research impact and 76% of the overall quality profile were assessed as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*). Using the widely used Research Power index (which combines the submission's overall score for 3* and 4* work with the volume of staff submitted), 12 of the College’s Units were ranked within the top five in the UK, and 18 were ranked first in Scotland. With an assessment of more than 95% at 3* and 4*, we're particularly proud of the outstanding research environment we create for staff and research students.

The University of Edinburgh

For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 41,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.

University Family Friendly Initiatives

Equality Networks:

Staff Pride Network for LGBT+ colleagues and allies
Disabled Staff Network

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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