Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC) Manager

Uuniversity of Birmingham
Birmingham, UK
Full time Staff

Job Purpose
The postholder is responsible for delivering a very busy stream of research activities and for bidding and winning external funding to cover the costs of the Centre 

The Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC) is a well-established centre that has operated continuously in the University since 2001. The GSDRC is well-known internationally for achieving high policy impact through delivering timely, policy-relevant evidence, lessons, and experience to clients. It carries out applied, policy-relevant research commissioned by our funders and is a strong contributor to the College’s and University’s knowledge transfer and impact agendas. It attracts substantial amounts of external funding and is one of the largest sources of research income for the School of Government and Society. 

The manager of the GSDRC is responsible for leading the centre, winning funding from external agencies, and ensuring the timely and high-quality delivery of all of the centre’s research and consultancy work. The manager is responsible for establishing and managing close collaborative partnerships with academic and non-academic partners, and oversees a team of researchers based at the University of Birmingham and at our partner organisations. The manager is responsible for overall strategic, contract, finance, and personnel management of the GSDRC, with support from the University’s central administration teams. 

The GSDRC manager also serves as the Research Uptake Manager for DFID's Knowledge for Development (K4D) programme, led by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. The Research Uptake Manager coordinates the K4D Helpdesk service, serving as the first point of contact for DFID staff and authorised personnel from other government departments seeking research support, managing the team of researchers based at six partner organisations, overseeing the publication and promotion of research reports to communicate findings to a wide range of audiences, monitoring and improving the uptake and impact of research reports, and collaborating with the rest of the K4D team to support professional development and organisational learning across DFID. 

For more information about the GSDRC, please see: 
For more information about the K4D programme, please see: 

Main Duties 

1. Strategic management: Overall design, implementation, and review of the GSDRC’s services. Remaining abreast of current thinking across a range of international development disciplines and designing specialist, flexible research and knowledge management solutions to give policy makers and practitioners access to current evidence, thinking, and experience. 

2. Project development: Identify funding opportunities and apply for funding for long-term and short-term projects appropriate to the GSDRC. 

3. Service delivery and quality oversight: Managing all aspects of delivery of the GSDRC’s research and consultancy services, quality management of all outputs, and project management of all deliverables. Overall responsibility for ensuring timely delivery of high-quality, demand-responsive research and consultancy services. Report to funders on work in progress. Collaborate with colleagues to plan and deliver professional development activities and other deliverables requested by funding agencies. 

4. Research communication to policy-makers and practitioners: Oversee the publication and promotion of GSDRC outputs to communicate research findings to a wide range of audiences using a variety of online communication channels. Present the work of the centre at professional and academic conferences and other venues. Work with colleagues to monitor and improve the uptake and impact of outputs. 

5. People management and development: Motivate, train, develop, and guide a diverse team of technically professional, high performing individuals based at the University of Birmingham and at partner organisations. Training and coaching are significant elements of the job due to the highly specific nature of the work. Support staff members to help them achieve their performance targets and professional development. Manage organisational learning and professional development processes to improve the delivery of services. 

6. Contract and finance management: Manage financial and contractual relationships with funding agencies, project partners, and subcontractors. Negotiate contracts, set project budgets, monitor budgets throughout projects’ lifetimes, and oversee performance. Hold authority over spending decisions on all GSDRC project budgets. Oversee the financial position of the GSDRC and coordinate with central University contracts and finance services to ensure successful delivery of work. 

7. Managing networks and organisational relationships: Maintain good relationships and raise the GSDRC’s profile with funders, collaborators, and other relevant organisations. Serve as the first point of contact for funding agencies. 

Person Specification Qualifications required 

  • A postgraduate degree in a relevant field of international development (e.g. development studies, governance, conflict, security, humanitarian work, social development, or other areas) or in a relevant field of management with specific application to international development. 

Knowledge required 

  • Excellent understanding of research uptake and impact processes and of the research-policy interface. 
  • Excellent understanding of strategic knowledge management approaches and solutions. 
  • Good understanding of current priorities and issues across a range of international development disciplines 
  • Good understanding of the workings of international development agencies and the international aid system. 

Skills required 

  • Advanced project management skills, understanding of complex financial management arrangement and the ability to participate in a number of parallel financial and administrative reporting systems. 
  • Sensitive and effective communications skills: the ability to understand technical language and communicate in non-technical language in a range of governance, IT, project and financial management fields; strong listening skills and the ability to be assertive yet sympathetic. 
  • Ability to network and raise the GSDRC’s profile. 
  • Ability to motivate teams to achieve a shared vision. 
  • Ability to manage staff members’ performance, give constructive feedback, and coach and mentor research staff. 
  • Succinct and accessible writing style. 
  • Excellent attention to detail. 

Experience required 

  • Extensive experience managing projects in research or international development, including responsibility for designing terms of reference for projects and for contractors, and experience setting and monitoring project budgets 
  • Extensive experience producing research reports, literature reviews, and/or other evidence-based products to communicate research to inform and influence policy and practice 
  • Extensive experience working with international development agencies 
  • Substantial experience in competitive tendering and preparing funding proposals, preferably in a research or non-profit organisation context 
  • Experience designing knowledge management solutions in the context of international development 
  • Experience managing a high-performing team of researchers or other highly skilled technical specialists 
Closing date: 
17th March 2019