Organisation MRC
Organisation Detail Medical Research Council, Head Office
Reference Number IRC245342
Location Swindon See on Map
Salary £37789 - £48286
Date Posted 16 May 2018
Grade UKRI-Band E
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 19 June 2018
Interview Date 05 July 2018

Brief Description

Salary: £37,789 - £48,286 (plus London allowance if applicable)
Grade: UKRI - E
Contract Type: Open-Ended
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 19th June 2018
Interview Date: 5th July 2018

We are recruiting two posts, one in London and one in Swindon, with regular travel expected between locations.

Overall purpose: 

  • support the Executive Chair, Chief of Strategy and other senior staff in developing MRC strategy
  • undertake strategic planning activities and selected strategic projects across the MRC within the wider context of UKRI, including bids to UKRI cross-cutting funds and the production of the MRC Strategic Delivery Plan
  • manage Strategy Board meetings and act as the primary interface with both the scientific community and internally regarding Strategy Board
  • keep senior staff advised on important strategic, scientific and policy developments and other relevant matters.

Main duties/key responsibilities:

Strategic Planning

Undertake selected strategic projects identified by the Executive Chair, Strategy Board, the Chief of Strategy and senior Office staff, often cross-Board or cross-Council, or linked to major funding bids including:

  • preparation and implementation of project plans
  • mapping of research portfolios, including presentation and analysis of complex information
  • convening Advisory Group meetings or workshops to advise on strategy or facilitate community engagement
  • co-ordinating and drafting background papers and reports 
  • manage the development of a Strategic Delivery Plan for MRC’s activities within UKRI and the preparations for MRC’s next Spending Review, working closely with the CEO, Management Board, Head of Strategic Planning, Senior Team and UKRI colleagues
  • contribute to the development of MRC bids to UKRI cross-cutting funds liaising closely with colleagues across the Office and UKRI 
  • lead on the preparation of papers, background briefs and other material on scientific and strategic matters for committees, Senior Office staff, Strategy Board etc. and reactively respond to requests for briefing/PQs/reporting from BEIS, RCUK/UKRI and external stakeholders
  • liaise with outside agencies and represent MRC interests at high-level meetings/events (with Government departments and funding partners etc.)
  • lead on communications activities, ensuring appropriate web presence of Strategy Board and raising the public profile of MRC’s strategy
  • lead on monitoring and reporting of Strategy Group outputs, requiring integration with RPG, Board and Overview Group activities
  • provide coherence across MRC Head Office for strategic planning and implementation activities, especially coordinating with RPG and Finance
    Strategy Board.

Proactively manage Strategy Board meetings, including:

Forward planning

  • developing agendas in liaison with the Chief of Strategy, Heads of Theme, Programme Managers and Directors; coordination, clearing and circulation of meeting papers and briefing of the Chair
  • producing strategic papers, normally of a cross-cutting nature to support Strategy Board discussions
  • writing the minutes, providing clear and concise corporate records of complex discussions and decisions and contributing text/content for wider dissemination of MRC’s strategic thinking
  • managing policies, conflicts of interest and records relating to Strategy Board
  • responsibility for all practical meeting arrangements, liaising with Strategy Board members, MRC Council, observers and guests.

Responsibility for managing the strategic budget, including:

  • proactive identification and management of demands on the strategic budget and supporting senior staff in ensuring effective decision-making between competing demands over the medium term
  • regular updates of the budget and presentations to Strategy Board
  • liaison with the Finance Team and Programme Managers/Heads of Theme ensuring that all Strategy Board commitments are monitored and recorded in a timely fashion.


  • represent/deputise for the Head of Strategic Planning at external and internal meetings when necessary/appropriate
  • carry out any other duties that may be required of the post as delegated by line manager/senior staff.

Working relationships:

Reporting to: Head of Strategic Planning

Interactions: The role involves developing and maintaining a broad range of working relationships within MRC and externally; including

  • the CEO and Deputy CEO
  • Chief of Strategy
  • Chief Science Officer
  • Strategy Board members
  • Strategy Group
  • Research Programmes Group
  • Council secretariat
  • Finance staff
  • BEIS
  • UKRI and other Research Councils
  • Equivalent Strategy staff in other Councils across UKRI
  • Management Board
  • other funding agencies.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a publicly-funded organisation dedicated to improving human health. We support research across the entire spectrum of medical sciences, in universities and hospitals, in our own units and institutes in the UK.

Shortlisting & Interview criteria

Education/Qualifications/Training required:


  • degree in a relevant subject.


  • degree in relevant science subject
  • PhD or other postgraduate research qualification.

Previous work experience required:


  • significant related experience, providing a broad understanding of scientific issues and research and innovation policy
  • experience of building effective working relationships with stakeholders at all levels and delivering results
  • proven ability to plan and manage projects, delivering multiple concurrent pieces of work in a timely manner
  • experience of representing an organisation at meetings or on committees.


  • experience of planning, managing and delivering strategic and policy projects
  • experience of one or more of the following: Committee/Board management, peer review, conference/workshop organisation, science writing, budget management 
  • experience of line management responsibilities including managing a team to deliver multiple areas of work

Knowledge and experience:


  • excellent project management and forward planning expertise including the ability to identify key issues within a project or landscape
  • ability to identify strategic objectives and their implications, having a strong eye for detail and appreciation of the wider context
  • an understanding of the landscape for UK and international medical research and wider research strategy and policy
  • familiarity with Microsoft packages.


excellent numerical skills/budget management experience.

Personal skills/behaviours/qualities: 

  • able to work proactively with little supervision 
  • ability to effectively prioritise and respond well to urgent new priorities whilst maintaining performance of ongoing activities
  • excellent negotiation, influencing, persuasion and “people” skills and the ability to build effective relationships
  • excellent written communication skills, including summarising complex discussions to provide evidence for decisions
  • excellent oral communication skills, including ability to provide verbal briefings and presentations across a range of issues
  • ability to exercise judgement and discretion
  • resilience– ability to stay calm under pressure
  • positive advocate for medical research and the MRC.

Additional information:

You will be required work early and/or late when required to meet business needs

The MRC is a great place to work and progress your career, be it in scientific research or the support functions.

The MRC is a unique working environment where our researchers are rewarded by world class innovation and collaboration opportunities that the MRC name brings. The MRC is an excellent place to develop yourself further and a range of training & development opportunities will be available to you, including professional registration with the Science Council.

Choosing to come to work at the MRC (as part of UKRI from 1st April 2018) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC and UKRI on your CV in the future.

Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As "Disability Confident" employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

Final appointments will be subject to pre-employment screening.

The closing date for applications is 19th June 2018. The interview for this vacancy will take place on 5th July 2018. Only online applications will be accepted and should be submitted in the form of an up-to-date c.v. and covering letter (ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the file name description of each document uploaded).

Please advise in your cover letter your preferred location and contract type.

Applicants who would like to receive this advert in an alternative format (e.g. large print, Braille, audio or hard copy), or who are unable to apply online should contact us by telephone on 01793 867000. Please quote the appropriate reference number when calling. IRC245342