Portfolio Manager (Maternity Cover)


Job Purpose

Responsible for management of the research grant portfolio (associated with one or more research institutes) within the School of Informatics. The post-holder provides advice, guidance and support to the Director of Institute, including managing the organisation and delivery of research grant services and managing Institute accounts. They will plan and ensure progress of research grant applications and track and record the achievement of milestones and deliverables. They will identify gaps in information and conduct analysis and investigations to resolve issues on their own initiative whilst putting forward recommendations for managing more complex situations. This role is a key member of the School Research Services management team.

3. Main Responsibilities

The post-holder is responsible for the post-award administration of a complex research portfolio (UK, EU and international funds). Complying with varying funding rules and regulations, the post-holder must ensure transparent financial management of awarded funds, using a combination of local and external financial accounting and management information systems; supporting the monitoring and reporting of annual accounts, budgets, project costings, small research facility (SRF) charging and income collection. Responsibilities include financial planning, budgeting and monthly forecasting of Institute income/expenditure for input to School financial projections. This can involve complex reporting and coordination of financial and human resource information during set reporting periods, including cross-institution liaison with European partners. (30%) Guide, support and approve the preparation of research grant applications, advising on sponsor regulations and providing accurate and appropriate research grant costings. Represent Institutes in liaison/negotiation with external funders. Authorise the submission of research grant applications on behalf of the school (devolved from Head of School). (30%) Undertake forward planning and staff engagement to ensure continuity of employment for externally funded researchers and other staff associated with the research institute. The role holder will ensure that relevant statutory, legislative and University procedures are followed with regard to issues such as recruitment and advertising of research posts, Certificate of Sponsorship requirements and End of Employment processes. The role holder will be responsible for communicating with research associate (RA) staff and relevant colleagues about all issues associated with their employment (15%) Contribute to strategic policy, formulation and implementation of strategic plans, financial and administrative policies in support of Institute objectives. (10%) Training and mentoring of colleagues of various grades with a view to supporting and developing their skills and implementing best practice. (10%) Initiate and manage change processes and projects and contribute to development of new initiatives to secure improvements to policy, procedure and operation of the Institute and wider school activities. (5%)

4. Planning and Organising

• Financial planning and decision making for annual unrestricted institute budgets, providing monthly reports of institute forecasted income/expenditure to Director of Institute and Head of Finance and Research Services in support of overall School resource planning and forecasting. Forward financial planning of Institute budgets is required over 1-3 year period.
• Financial planning and decision making for externally awarded research funding, complying with varying funding rules and regulations, ensuring transparent financial management of awarded funds in line with University financial policy. Forward financial planning of research grant funds will vary between 1-5 years depending on the duration of the award.
• Proactive promotion of the dissemination and uptake of research grant opportunities amongst colleagues.
• Regular monitoring of exchange rate differences and EU partner budget over/underspends, ability to use this information with a view to limiting financial risk to the school.
• Represent the institute and school at University and funding body meetings as required.
• Initiate, plan and implement local change projects.
• Contribute to planning of school/academic/initiatives.

5. Problem Solving

• Analyse financial reports, identify issues and consider possible solutions; efficiently using financial resources from many different sources in support of Institute objectives, whilst complying with the rules of different funding bodies/streams/University policy.
• Responsible for the organisation and operation of complex processes involving multiple stake-holders, resolving them within scope of information and/or authority, or referring to others, where appropriate, e.g. resolving financial and contractual problems with various departments, suppliers, grant awarding bodies and partner institutions.
• Negotiate and communicate directly with funding agencies and research partners with regards to research grant applications and queries on awarded research grants.
• Ensure continuity of staff employment contracts through effective planning and prudent financial management.
• Identify gaps or shortfalls in information and search for sources of information to fill these.
• Monitor and maintain records/reports to meet both internal and external requirements e.g. funding bodies and audit requirements.

6. Decision Making

• Manage delegated (unrestricted and restricted) budgets effectively and act as authorised signatory for all expenditure ensuring compliance with University and research grant financial regulations.
• Provide specialist advice and recommendations independently within specific parameters to allow senior management and academic members of staff to make informed decisions.
• Interpret and use appropriate discretion in application of University procedures, funding body terms and conditions and legislative requirements.
• Design and deliver processes and influence policy in order to maximise the delivery of research services within the institute and wider school.
• Act on behalf of Director of Institute in his/her absence within agreed scope.

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

• Within the School: all staff, in particular the Director of Institute, Principal Investigators, Research Associates, the Head of Research Services, the Director of Professional Services and other School and Institute administrative colleagues, to advise on grant portfolio policy and contribute to effective financial management and planning in line with University financial policy.
• Across the University: in particular the post-holder needs to maintain effective relationships with colleagues in Human Resources, Research Grant Section, College Finance and Research Support Section, to ensure appropriate employment and grant management processes are adhered to. In addition liaison is required where cross college grant awards exist.
• External Contacts: Principal Investigators involved in the negotiation, reporting and co-ordination of contracts, partnerships and procedures with external institutions and organisations. Funding agencies and private companies who provide research funding and donations to the school. Also responsible for the interpretation of research grant guidelines and maintenance of research portfolio documentation using external funder software. Where we are EU coordinators this will involve liaison with multiple partner institutions, and the collation of financial information on a 6 monthly and annual basis.

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

• A good honours degree or equivalent business/project management experience.
• Considerable relevant experience of project and financial management, preferably some gained in an HE environment.
• Thorough knowledge of financial processes and proven experience of managing budgets including budget costing, pricing, monitoring and reporting.
• Detailed operational knowledge of systems relevant to the operation of the Institute and the reporting of its activities to internal and external bodies (or of similar systems in a comparable organisation).
• Proven experience of operating within regulatory frameworks and relevant codes of practice.
• Proven organisation and planning skills, including a methodical and flexible approach to tasks; an ability to effectively prioritise and forward plan, strong attention to detail and the ability to work independently and to deliver work to tight timescales and deadlines.
• Experience of providing analysis, strategic advice and challenge to senior managers.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills, excellent analytical skills and IT skills including use of complex spreadsheets, financial systems and databases.
• Experience of successfully planning and progressing complex and challenging work activities within guidelines, using initiative and judgement without recourse to seniors.
• Experience of training and mentoring colleagues.


• Knowledge and practical experience of EU and international grant application processes, reporting and co-ordination of EU grants with multiple partners.
• Professional administration/management qualification.
• Project Management qualification.

9. Dimensions

• Responsible for management/oversight of approx. £200K pa unrestricted budget and for monitoring and reporting on approx. £10m restricted (research grant and contract) funding from upwards of 12 different funding bodies.
• Responsible for financial planning and management affecting approx. 70-100 staff and 40-80 research student.
• Indirect supervision of administrative and finance colleagues with a view to delivering maximised research grant services. Mentoring of peer colleagues and finance staff in order to maximise their skill set.

Informal Enquiries

Enquiries about this position can be directed to Janet Ball, Head of Research Services ( )

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