Organisation MRC
Organisation Detail Medical Research Council, Head Office
Reference Number IRC254579
Location Swindon See on Map
Salary £38969
Date Posted 31 July 2020
Grade UKRI-Band E
Contract Type Fixed Term Appointment
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 23 August 2020
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £38,969 per annum
Grade: UKRI E
Contract Type: Fixed Term (12 months)
Hours: Full Time (Part Time hours will be considered, please specify in covering letter)
Closing Date: 23rd August 2020
Interview Dates: 18th & 24th September 2020

Overall purpose:

You will contribute to the MRC mission as a funder improving human health through world-class medical research, by ensuring our policies and procedures allow peer review to effectively inform MRC funding decisions.

You will be responsible for:

  • Design and delivery of peer review policies across all MRC funding types
  • Representing MRC's peer review interests in UKRI activities and other groups relevant to peer review policy and our collective operations
  • Interaction with the research community about peer review practices, engaging with potential applicants, reviewers and Research Organisations to communicate MRC's peer review policies and procedures
  • Advising senior staff on important peer review policy developments
  • Championing equality and diversity within MRC peer review and funding decisions
  • Research on research activity that relates to peer review.

Key Responsibilities

Peer Review Policy:

  • Integration of peer review policies across MRC funding (ie. Research Boards, Translation, International, Careers, Institute/Unit reviews)
  • Negotiation and implementation of more aligned MRC and UKRI peer review policies
  • Oversee the procedures for and effectiveness of reviewer selection, and the management of the External Selectors that support this
  • Maintain and refresh as needed the resources and training provided to applicants and reviewers in relation to MRC's peer review policies and expectations
  • Keep up to date with research and policy developments in the UK and internationally relating to peer review (including recognition, equality and diversity, reviewer selection, reviewer workload, quality and reliability of decisions, bias, ethical issues etc.) and be a primary source of information and expertise for Head Office in this area, keeping senior staff informed of any developments
  • Prepare papers and presentations for the Research Boards and Panels and other audiences relating to peer review policy and achieving high quality funding decisions
  • Engage with our partners who also use peer review (eg. government departments, research charities) as appropriate, and attend external meetings as the MRC representative and report on developments
  • Assist senior staff with the preparation of papers, briefs and other material on peer review and advise on replies to parliamentary questions, FOI requests and other external queries.


  • Responsible for the MRC peer review content of the MRC/UKRI website, ensuring there is a coherent plan to create, refresh and update information
  • Lead MRC involvement in peer review promotion activities suchas peer review week, blogs and other social media
  • Proactively engage with the peer review community to improve recognition and promote receipt of high-quality reviews.


  • Input peer review advice to the developing UKRI Funding Service and assess the impact of the approaches proposed on MRC peer review
  • On a case-by case basis lead projects or provide essential support for larger scale initiatives in support of MRC or UKRI peer review.

Working relationships:

  • Reporting to: Head of Funding Operations
  • Staff Management: None
  • Interactions: In addition to close working relationships with Heads of Theme, Programme Managers and Board/Panel teams, the role involves developing and maintaining a broad range of working relationships within MRC and externally; including:
    • MRC Research Board members and Chairs
    • Peer Reviewers
    • External Reviewer Selectors
    • Other UKRI Councils
    • Other funding agencies.

Additional information:

You will be based primarily in Swindon, but may be required to work at other MRC locations e.g. London and to attend meetings in other UK and international locations.

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.

The following criteria will be assessed at both Shortlisting and Interview stages:

Education/Qualifications/Training required:


  • Educated to degree-level or equivalent.


  • Degree relevant to science or health
  • Post graduate qualification or equivalent.

Previous work experience required:


  • Significant experience of working in a research or academic environment (e.g. research funder, university, charity, scientific publishing)
  • Experience of managing peer review or similar processes
  • Experience providing understanding of research and funding policy issues.


  • Experience of one or more of the following: research management; research & funding policy; scientific publishing
  • Experience of representing your organisation
  • Experience of developing and/or implementing policies.

Knowledge and experience:


  • Analysing and presenting information persuasively and succinctly
  • Monitoring developments in an area, their implications and adapting own area of work
  • Communicating clearly and confidently across a range of topics and to a variety of audiences
  • Negotiating and influencing to achieve positive change.


  • Interest in peer review and the needs of grant applicants and reviewers.

Personal skills/behaviours/qualities:

  • Proactive, confident and plans ahead
  • Positive advocate for medical research and the MRC
  • Drive and determination
  • Integrity and takes personal responsibility
  • Takes a collaborative approach to working relationships
  • Committed to personal and organisational improvement.

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

Polaris House is located next to Swindon Train Station and has excellent public transport links. Limited parking subject to waiting list.

Employee Benefits

UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aims to provide a pay and reward package that motivates staff to the best of their ability. The reward and benefit package includes a flexible working scheme, an excellent Defined Benefit pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance and a number of other benefits.

Developing Talent

We are committed to developing employees in their roles throughout their career. Learning and development plans enable employees to continue their professional development through training and development opportunities such as e-learning, classroom training and on-the-job experiences. We encourage our employees to share their learning across teams and organisations.

Equal Opportunities

We strive to make decisions based on individual merit and ability. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and promote equality of opportunity in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. As holders of Disability Confident Employer status, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

As this job does not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK. At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK. You can check your eligibility here:

Online applications only. Please submit a covering letter and CV ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Please note that failure to address the above criteria or submitted without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

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