Organisation NERC
Organisation Detail National Oceanography Centre
Reference Number IRC240897
Location Southampton See on Map
Salary £28200
Date Posted 12 April 2017
Grade NERC-6 New
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 05 May 2017
Interview Date

Salary:  £28,200 per annum
Contract Type:  Open ended
Hours:   37 hours per week, Monday to Friday. We will also consider applications for part-time working (a minimum of 27½ hours per week).
Closing Date:  05 May 2017

About the role:
We are seeking to appoint a Contracts and Legal Support Officer, who will work as a key member of a dedicated team of staff to support our scientists, engineers and other key stakeholders in pursuing and winning funding from commercial and government sources. You will deliver a range of professional support in the area of legal contract advice and negotiation, including reviewing legal documents related to research collaboration, consultancy and service provision by ensuring the terms and conditions are acceptable and consistent with our policy and strategy.

This is a permanent position offered on Natural Environment Research Council terms and conditions and is open to internal and external candidates.

About you:
You will have relevant experience of preparing, submitting and completing contract reviews, including negotiating terms and conditions, which preferably will have been gained in a research or technical environment, and with a focus on commercial, government and overseas funding. You will be able to demonstrate an awareness of intellectual property rights and risk.  You will be able to work effectively under pressure and to deliver multiple projects to deadlines, together with a desire to find appropriate solutions to contractual challenges. A degree (under or postgraduate) in law or with a substantial law element would be an advantage. An aptitude to interpret and communicate complex information effectively both verbally and in writing is essential.

What we can offer you:
In return for your talents, we offer a competitive remuneration package, including a RCUK pension scheme, 30 days annual leave with a further 14 Public and local days off and free car-parking.  Opportunities for further training and development are supported.

About us:
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC), part of the Natural Environment Research Council, is a national research organisation, delivering integrated marine science and technology from the coast to the deep ocean and is one of the top five institutions of its kind in the world.

With sites in Liverpool and Southampton, it is the UK’s leading centre for sea level science, coastal and deep ocean research and technology development.  Working closely with its partners and associates, it provides capability to meet needs across the UK marine science community (

For general enquiries regarding this role, please contact Caroline Speller, NOC Secretary, via email on

Our Commitment as an Employer:

The NOC is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. People with disabilities and those from ethnic minorities are currently under-represented and their applications are particularly welcome. The NOC is an Investors in People organisation and is working towards achieving Bronze status for Athena SWAN – a scheme that recognizes excellence in women's employment in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) in UK higher education. There is a guaranteed Interview Scheme for suitable candidates with disabilities.

The NOC is committed to making the NOC ‘a great place to be, where our people succeed and deliver great work’. The NOC is committed to being recognised as a flexible employer to support employees’ work and personal commitments where possible and the NOC’s Flexible Working Policy gives all employees the right to request flexible working.

Qualifications and Knowledge:


  • Degree or equivalent qualification, or significant relevant experience demonstrating development through the acquisition of appropriate professional or specialist knowledge and involvement in a series of progressively more demanding relevant work/roles
  • competent user of key ICT technologies including MS Office.


  • Degree or Post-graduate qualification including  Commercial and Contract Law

Experience related to position:


  • recent experience of reviewing contracts and consultancy agreements and negotiating contract clauses in a similar role
  • current knowledge of commercial law, including contract, supply of goods and services and confidentiality.


  • experience of legal and business issues related to intellectual property rights, knowledge transfer and risk in higher education and/or science/research related sectors.



  • works independently with excellent analytical and problem solving skills and a desire to source appropriate solutions to contractual challenges
  • able to effectively organise and prioritise workload in order to deliver multiple projects to deadlines whilst demonstrating a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail
  • excellent communication and presentation skills and an aptitude to interpret and articulate complex information effectively both verbally and in writing, including providing advice in an understandable on contract related issues to professionals and non-specialists.



  • displays sound moral principles; dealing with confidentiality, ethics and risk issues with integrity
  • a team player with the ability to form effective working relationships with staff of various levels of seniority and demonstrates proven ability to gain trust and cooperation of others and work as part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • excellent customer service skills and able to build and maintain long term relationships across the wider organisation, stakeholders and suppliers.

Other requirements:


  • willingness to travel on business to NOC and other internal/external establishments as required.

Job Purpose:

The business support function at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) sits within the Corporate and Business Support Directorate (CBS) and provides the professional support services for the whole of NOC in support of achieving its stated mission:

  • undertake internationally competitive marine science in an earth-system context and especially with a long-term focus on working with others, effective translation of new and existing knowledge into demonstrably high societal benefit
  • manage, develop, coordinate and innovate high quality large research infrastructure, equipment pools, facilities, data bases and other science-enabling functions for the benefit of the whole UK science community to deliver excellent science with impact.

The core ethos of the CBS Directorate is turning the NOC strategy into action by understanding the business through a partnership approach with the research scientists and engineers. CBS teams strengthen the business by supporting the NOC Strategic Plan through their various professional strands.

The main purpose of the Contracts and Legal Support Officer is to deliver a range of professional support in the area of legal contract advice and negotiation. You will have particular responsibility for providing support to scientists and technologists pursuing funding from industry and government sources and in particular will be expected to review legal documents relating to research collaboration, consultancy and contracts with third parties for the supply of services, including professional advice and confidentiality agreements, ensuring the terms and conditions are acceptable and consistent with NERC and NOC policy and strategy. A key element in the successful delivery of this post will be an underlying understanding of the work that is undertaken across the Centre and to engage with colleagues in a positive and pro-active way. You will be expected to provide an exceptional level of customer service. 

Expectations of the role:

To work effectively with key stakeholders, including:

  • scientists, researchers and key personnel across NOC, based at both Liverpool and Southampton
  • NOC Science and Project Support Team and other NERC Research Centre contracts officers
  • existing and potential external partners and funders
  • legal advisors

Key Accountabilities/Primary responsibilities:

  • review of agreements, contracts and other legal documents relating to research collaborations, consultancy agreements, partnership arrangements, non-disclosure agreements and intellectual property arrangements to ensure terms and conditions are acceptable and consistent with NERC and NOC policy and strategy. Advising colleagues on the appropriate actions required. Obtaining of legal advice where necessary
  • develop the contracts database, ensuring that is robust and relevant
  • provide contractual support to the Enterprise and Innovation team
  • assist the NOC Secretary with sundry legal matters which may arise
  • keep up to date with commercial law, research contract and funding issues by attending appropriate training courses and conferences and through self-directed study.

Expectations of all staff:

  • comply with Research Council and NERC policies at all times, including Equal Opportunities Policies, and ensure that duties are carried out in accordance with relevant policies, procedures and guidance documents as directed by NOC
  • promote and demonstrate a personal commitment to NOC values and People Strategy
  • promote and demonstrate a personal commitment to Working with Respect – NOC Guidance
  • attend relevant seminars, workshops and training events and maintain professional development by completing CPD (Continuous Professional Development) appropriate to the role
  • maintain a safe working environment by attending Health and Safety training as required and follow local codes of safe working practices and actively contribute to embedding a safety culture across NOC
  • adopt and promote awareness of NOC’s environmental aims and other initiatives
  • carry out other duties within the scope, spirit and general purpose of the post and adopt a flexible approach to work
  • as duties and responsibilities change this job description will be reviewed and revised in consultation with you
  • undertake such other duties within the scope of the post as may be reasonably requested by your Manager.

Applications are handled by the UK Shared Business Services.

To apply, please attach an up to date CV and covering letter explaining how your skills and experience meet the requirements of the role.

We want to make our application process as easy as we possibly can. If you experience any problems in applying for this job, or have any feedback for us about the application process, please contact the UK SBS Recruitment Team on 01793 867000. Please quote the relevant IRC reference number when calling.

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