The School of Chemistry, with funding from the Faraday Institution (FI), invites applications for a Project Leader for the “Recycling of electric vehicle (EV) lithium-ion batteries” project (ReLiB for short). This key management role will take the lead in maximising the impact of the second phase of the project (ReLiB2), which will be managed through the Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials led by the University of Birmingham. The project will bring together researchers from five universities and a number of industrial partners in order to facilitate a circular economy in lithium ion batteries, tackling the most demanding technical challenges in testing, dismantling/sorting, recycling, manufacturing and design for recycle. The ReLiB2 project follows on from the first ReLiB project, one of four original ‘fast start’ projects of the Faraday Institution.
Reporting to the Director of EPS Operations, PI and CoIs, the Project Lead’s responsibilities will include:
- Overall programme management of the ReLiB2 project, with specific responsibility for the day to day management, long term financial planning (linking with University central systems), overseeing the coordination of research activities at Birmingham and with partner universities, ensuring connectivity in the project, convening meetings with numerous stakeholders at all seniority levels and writing reports;
- Working with the PI, and wider academic team, to manage the work of the project management team, including the line management of the Project Coordinator;
- Acting as the principal contact point for the ReLiB2 project with the Faraday Institution, and ensuring that the FI’s reporting requirements are met in timely fashion;
- Acting as ReLiB’s and the PI’s representative at FI meetings and external events attended by academics and researchers, industry and government representatives, and policy makers;
- Providing support, through the project coordinator, in coordinating activities of academic and industry partners, to deliver the scientific and commercial goals defined in the second-level Project plan and working with the project management team to monitor successes and issues;
- Establishing and overseeing the coordination of project governance and management requirements of the ReLiB2 project;
- Liaising with central finance to provide regular updates of project spend to the PI and the Faraday Institution;
- Working closely with the FI to ensure the delivery of work which is on time and compliant with expectations of the FI;
- Supporting the PI and CoIs in undertaking commercial activities of strategic importance to ReLiB and the BCSECM nationally and internationally;
- Liaising with other parts of the Faraday Battery Challenge (FBC) and research councils, such as Innovate UK, STFC and the APC;
- Working with UoB Enterprise, and other internal and external stakeholders, to develop a pipeline of technologies ready for scale up and commercialisation;
- Working closely with the FI and ReLiB’s academic and industry partners to develop effective commercialisation plans for ReLiB technologies;
- Liaising with the industrial partners and setting up appropriate contract arrangements through the University’s central research support team;
Shaping and Implementing strategic plans and leading project management of the ReLiB2 project.
Responsibility for successful delivery of the ReLiB2 project. Duties include:
- Working with Faraday Institution staff to assess and interpret needs, and refine the objectives and key performance indicators for ReLiB2.
- Making major contributions to and shaping the strategic direction of ReLiB2 as a senior manager involved in the delivery of the project.
- Coordinating and ensuring the strategic alignment of the project with industrial partners.
- Implementing stakeholder management and maintaining regular contact with stakeholders to understand requirements, generate and negotiate solutions and ensure these requirements are delivered.
- Creating and maintaining an overall Project Management Plan for the whole project, across all partners and wider stakeholders, using well established project management principles and practices and ensuring that relevant people in the University are involved early enough to plan for resource requirements and clearly understand the resource and timescales required for them.
- Planning, organising and maintaining a regular schedule of project meetings, including workstream meetings, setting agendas in consultation with the PI and WS leaders, and ensuring appropriate record-taking and compliance with action items.
- Demonstrating and practising good political and leadership skills to work through a naturally complex and time pressured working environment.
- Linking with other managers and staff at all levels on other projects and corporate services to ensure ReLiB is delivered successfully.
- Proactively identifying business opportunities which emerge from the project and are aligned with the ambitions of the project.
- Contibuting to strategic decision making and planning of follow-on projects arising from ReLiB research.
Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting, and Dissemination of Project Activity
- Ensuring that all required measurement and evaluation information is gathered by all project partners in a timely fashion including key performance indicators.
- Implementing reporting procedures that meet the requirements of the funder and ensuring all necessary data is gathered in a timely and efficient manner.
- Attending specialist or management group meetings to report on progress of complex project work.
- Preparing and managing ReLiB’s submissions to the regular FI reviews, liaising between the different Universities to create coherent scientific presentations, and assuming responsibility for responding to the Expert Panel’s comments that emerge from the review.
- Acting as the project’s and PI’s representative in external events attended by University academics and researchers, industry, government representatives and policy makers.
- Receiving and reviewing project data on a regular basis to ensure that the project stays on course for successful delivery, and providing early visibility of deviations from the project plan.
- Evaluating, editing and delivering reports to research partners in accordance with the agreed plan.
- Ensuring that project participants are appraised of information reported to partners, and of any feedback received.
- Acting as a spokesperson, with support from academic colleagues, for questions received concerning the progress of the project from the wider industrial community in the UK, the media and also the public.
Financial Management and Reporting
- Working with University central systems to ensure records are maintained of match-funded contributions, planned expenditure profiles, and cash flow to ensure that the full project value can be recovered.
- Maintaining an overview of the finance and reporting requirements across ReLiB2 in partnership with University central systems.
- Providing leadership and expertise to colleagues regarding the maintenance of accurate records of expenditure and allowable costs.
- Ensuring appropriate monitoring, control and auditing of all project expenditure within the University and consortium partners.
- Approving expenditure in line with delegations and the project budget, escalating decisions on any novel contentious issues to the PI and CoIs.
- Working with the University’s central finance team to provide financial reports to funders and to other interested parties at least quarterly, and more frequently if expenditure materially deviates from the plan in the proposal or is requested by the funder.
- Using professional expertise to create a project risk register for the project.
- Ensuring that the risks and dependencies between various interconnected technologies are understood and under management.
- Determining whether to acquire additional independent professional expertise to evaluate risks and/or mitigation options, for example through industrial partners.
- Ensuring the project risk register is maintained and updated throughout the life of the project.
- Updating regularly the PI and CoIs on the status of the risk register.
- Communicating the risk register with all key task leaders both within and outside the University, influencing senior management to ensure risk mitigation and issues resolution plans are in place and implemented as required.
- Establishing, leading and promoting a culture throughout the project team of providing an early warning to the management team of potential risks.
Management of Project Staff
- Management oversight of the work of the project’s management team.
- Line Management of the Project Coordinator.
- Building significant links to the beneficiaries, partners, finance teams, research and knowledge transfer teams and providing an efficient and effective operational base for the project.
- Liaising with the appropriate contacts to resolve any staff-related issues that may emerge during the lifetime of the project.
- Degree or higher level qualification.
- Demonstrated track record of managing large innovation based projects which involve multiple and different types of organisations
- Experience of successfully delivering long-term programmes within timescales and budget along with meeting targets, milestones and contracted outputs.
- Experience of technology transfer particularly involving development and transitioning of technology from low/mid to high technology readiness levels.
- Experience of operating in complex and fast paced work environments e.g. working with and through a broad range of stakeholders, working with time pressured colleagues, large project budgets in excess of £1M along with experience of budget planning, monitoring and forecasting.
- Experience in setting up and executing rigorous project planning, reporting and recording systems and processes.
- Experience of report writing and presentations.
- Experience of interpreting complex guidelines, rules and regulations.
- Experience of working to reporting structures and producing audit trails.
- Experience of management of large, dispersed project teams and complex situations.
- Competent IT user (Microsoft packages, email, internet, and project management tools).
Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience
- Strong enthusiasm for and an interest in an academic research led environment.
- Ability to lead a conversation with key opinion formers
- Proven negotiating and problem-solving skills, ability to think creatively and initiate new ideas.
- Self-motivated with the ability to work proactively and act on own initiative.
- Successful delivery of projects for regional or national government involving match funding contributions from industrial partners.
- Working with higher education and commercial sectors and experience of working within the EV battery/recycling industry.
- Previous experience of managing research projects on a scientific and/or financial level or advising those who manage major research projects.
- Developing effective relationships with external agencies and internal staff to influence direction of research.
- Developing, agreeing and implementing systems and procedures to meet agreed priorities.
- Setting up and managing project record systems so that they meet the needs of the team, the funder, and any audit requirements.
- Ability to draft complex documents, to synthesise scientific concepts and present scientific
- and financial data in the appropriate written or oral format, and to prepare funding bids.
- An ability to learn new things quickly – especially areas of scientific and industrial research, economic development policy and funding landscapes.
- Knowledge or experience of some or all of the EV industry, recycling industries, raw material extraction/supply chains, or lifecycle assessment of materials and processes would be advantageous.
- Recognised professional project management such as APMP, Prince 2, Agile, Six Sigma or MSP would also be advantageous.
For further information please contact Dr Dan Reed D.Reed@bham.ac.uk.
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