College Planning Partner (Research Lead)

College of Medical and Dental Sciences

Birmingham, United Kingdom


  • Posted on: 11th Jan 2022
  • Salary: £42,149 to £50,296. With potential progression once in post to £56,587 a year
  • REF: 59948
  • Closes: 30th January 2022
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Full Time


The University of Birmingham’s Strategic Framework 2030 sets out our ambition to be one of the world’s leading Universities. With world-class research and outstanding global education as our core mission, we will strive to increase the volume and quality of our research to make an even greater difference to the world around us. We will be the UK’s exemplary civic university, remaining firmly committed to our foundations in the highly diverse communities, people, and economy of the city of Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Role Summary

The College Planning Partner (CPP) team plays a crucial part in connecting perspectives across the University, working in partnership with one or more of the University’s five colleges to develop academic strategy and support institutional planning. You will join the team at the start of the implementation of our new Strategic Framework, and will be actively involved in supporting the development of local Size and Shape strategies and plans to deliver our 2030 ambitions. You will combine strategic thinking with an analytical mind-set to provide expert guidance and drive forward College planning and strategy.

You will sit on College Board at the centre of decision making, and you will work closely a variety of senior colleagues to manage, support and coordinate annual institutional planning and resourcing activities. You will lead in developing, supporting and defining College level strategy and priorities, and you will manage the relationship between the College and the Planning Office. In this role, you will work primarily with the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.

As thematic lead for Research, you will work across all our Colleges to coordinate and support the development and alignment of planning and performance analysis for this key pillar of Birmingham 2030. This will involve working with the lead for the Research pillar of the Strategic Framework and your fellow CPPs to provide expert advice and overview, ensure integration of research plans into the annual academic planning process, and aligning delivery plans across the university. You will support this by commissioning data and analysis, working with the Performance & Insight team, in order to understand the institutional landscape etc to advise and support evidence-led research planning.

Based with the Strategic Planning and Performance Insight, part of the Executive Support Division, you will work work with senior leaders across the University. As part of the Strategic Planning and Performance Insight team you will work collaboratively to connect a range of perspectives and support and influence senior leaders in making well-informed and evidence-led decisions. You will be partner with colleagues across the University, and externally, to provide trusted advice and expertise, insightful analysis, and robust data.

The role is generalist in nature. Intelligence, intellectual confidence, organizational understanding, strong analytical skills, and excellent communication skills are important contributors to success in this role. You will be comfortable and confident with quantitative and qualitative data, including financial data, performance indicators, budgets, and business plans. You will have meticulous attention to detail, be highly organized and yet flexible, with exceptional time management skills and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously. You will have strong people skills and be able to liaise confidently and build productive relationships with senior members of the University Executive Board, Colleges, Schools, and Professional Services. You will be able to understand, manage and integrate multiple and competing points of view constructively.

The University of Birmingham and our Professional Services

At Birmingham, we teach and research across the full breadth of academic disciplines, creating a vibrant community with multi-disciplinary opportunities for research and education. We are a truly international community, comprising more than 8,000 staff, 38,000 students, and over 350,000 alumni. The University is organised into five Colleges: Arts and Law, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Life and Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences, and Medical and Dental Sciences.

During the last decade, the University has been transformed. Our strong emphasis on intellectually rigorous education and pioneering research across the full breadth of disciplines has led our students to attain increasingly impressive outcomes, and our research has enjoyed growing global significance and societal impact.

The University’s Professional Services are led by the Registrar and Secretary. We aim for best-in-class Professional Services in support of the University’s academic mission. Across all of our Professional Services, we recognise that it is our people who are the heart of what we do, and so we are focussed on creating a culture for them to thrive. We support this through our sector-leading staff development programme: the Birmingham Professional.

College Planning is based in the Strategic Planning and Performance Insight Office, within the Executive Support Division. The Division is led by the Chief of Staff, and brings together the teams that support policy, planning, data analysis, governance, legal advice, and change management, for the University. We work closely with the Vice-Chancellor and the executive team. Teams in the division are involved in many aspects of the University’s work, and you will be able to draw on the advice and expertise of colleagues who understand and work with many parts of the institution.

Working for the University offers a wide range of benefits, including a generous annual leave entitlement and pension scheme, opportunities to join staff networks, formal and informal learning and development opportunities, and flexibility.

Main Duties

  • To provide support for the University’s annual academic, financial, and strategic planning, working within a College to lead their annual submission to the academic planning process and provide strategically focused information to support strategic decision-making.
  • To undertake environment scanning and scenario planning on behalf of, and in collaboration with, the institutional senior management, to inform the development of long-term strategies.
  • To provide informed and constructive critique and challenge to the College in the process of developing and implementing their plans, bridging the gap between the College and the centre.
  • To assess and advise on the level of acceptable risk in the development of Colleges’ academic plans.
  • To work with a range of business partners in College, taking on a convening role within that network of professionals.
  • To proactively propose areas for analysis of research performance data, generating actionable insight for all Colleges.
  • To provide expert advice on research performance as the thematic lead for this area, working with the new Research Support Division to enable the delivery of the university’s strategic framework.
  • To provide advice and briefings to PVCs, task groups, and committees on planning-related matters, particularly where they cross College boundaries, such as new initiatives, programmes or collaborations in research.
  • Actively manages equality, diversity and inclusion through monitoring and evaluation and actively challenging unacceptable behaviour.
  • Any other duties commensurate with the grade.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience

  • Educated to Degree level (or equivalent level qualifications) plus significant relevant practical experience – where no equivalent qualification is held substantial practical relevant experience and expertise in a series of progressively more demanding roles will be required.
  • GCSEs to a minimum of grade C in English and Mathematics (or equivalent qualifications).
  • Experienced user of data, with evidence of analytical and numerical competency from previous roles or qualifications.
  • An understanding and empathy for the academic endeavour of the University, its research, education, civic and global mission. The intellectual ability to form partnerships of mutual respect with the University Executive Board and academics.
  • Strong analytical skills with the ability to handle and analyse large data sets effectively and accurately to produce meaningful information and insight.
  • The ability to write clear and persuasive Board papers and business plans and to use fact-based evidence as part of influencing skills.
  • Excellent understanding of UK and global HE, the national and international challenges currently facing HE and the implications for current and future strategy.
  • A commitment to promote and adhere to the agreed values of the University and the Executive Support Division.

For informal enquiries please contact Duncan Smith,

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment
We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working.

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