Head of Collaborations

LGC Limited - Grant Management Group, Health Science & Innovation

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is a large, multi-faceted and nationally distributed organisation funded through the Department of Health. Together, NIHR people, facilities and systems represent the most integrated clinical research system in the world, driving research from bench to bedside for the benefit of patients and the economy.

LGC is an international life sciences company working with customers in the government, academic, pharmaceutical, agricultural biotechnology, food, environment, security and sports sectors achieve excellence in investigative, diagnostic and measurement science.  LGC’s Grant Management Group (GMG) are experts in managing research funding to maximise its impact.  On behalf of the UK Department of Health, GMG manages two important components of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): the Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) and the NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI).

We are looking for a Head of Collaborations to join our NOCRI team.  NOCRI works to maximise the Department of Health’s £0.5 billion investment in clinical research infrastructure through stimulating collaborative working. A key part of NOCRI’s role is to provide potential partners, including the life sciences industry and charities, with a direct and simplified route to a wide range of experimental medicine facilities and expert NIHR investigators. NOCRI works with organisations to help them navigate this infrastructure and, where required, form partnerships and collaborations. 

Job Purpose:

The Head of Collaborations will lead a small team responsible for the identification, set up and monitoring of/support for pre-formed Collaborations across the NIHR clinical research infrastructure e.g. the NIHR Translational Research Collaborations (TRCs).  These Collaborations are often focused on a particular disease area such as dementia and typically comprise leading researchers from a range of NIHR Biomedical Research Centres with expertise in that area.  The post holder will also support the wider engagement of the infrastructure with other parts of NIHR, life sciences industry and medical research charities.

Key Accountabilities and Responsibilities:

Membership of the NOCRI Senior Leadership team including:

  • Working with other senior colleagues to develop strategy and monitor delivery of NOCRI services
  • Sharing in the management of key stakeholders

Line management of the Collaborations team including, but not limited to:

  • Working with staff members to ensure efforts and limited resources are targeted and against an agreed strategy and plan that are measurable in terms of performance and impact
  • Ensuring that staff are diligent and timely when noting activities and follow-up actions
  • Supporting staff with advice and training as needed

Identifying new Collaborations:

  • Identify areas of unmet need (patient, industry or researcher) and areas of significant expertise within the NIHR infrastructure where benefits could be gained from the development of a Collaboration
  • Identify specific opportunities to develop a new Collaboration by working with the NIHR’s translational research infrastructure and the wider NOCRI team
  • Prioritise then scope opportunities for potential Collaborations and, with the NIHR infrastructure, develop the proposed offering for partners, including the life sciences industry, medical research charities and academic researchers
  • Provide intelligence reports to support meetings of prospective partner organisations

Set-up of Collaborations:

  • Establish standardised and structured processes for running Collaborations
  • Identify and implement appropriate operating models, including sources of funding as needed, for the new Collaboration
  • Facilitate the process of securing a Collaboration Agreement as needed through liaison with the lead organisation, other collaborators and stakeholders
  • Provide induction and training for the local operations staff recruited into Collaborations

Support and provide oversight of established Collaborations:

  • Maintain oversight of the management and delivery of Collaborations through close working with the Collaboration Operations Manager at each Collaboration
  • Assist with the development of a strategy for transition of well-established Collaborations to a self-sustaining model
  • Facilitate cross-learning across Collaborations through regular meetings of all local operations managers
  • Participate in the Steering Committees through the preparation of materials/follow-up activities
  • As relevant, act as point for escalation in the NIHR for the Chairs and local operations managers of the Collaborations
  • Facilitate engagement with medical research charities to identify opportunities for strategic alignment, synergies and leveraging funding

Maintain close, productive relationships with other parts of the NIHR system including:

  • Development of links and working closely with the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) and the UK Clinical Research Facility Network to develop and implement integrated processes to underpin the successful delivery of studies performed by a Collaboration
  • Development of close links with the NIHR coordinating centres (CCF, NETSCC, TCC, Involve) to ensure support for Collaboration aims and objectives as relevant

In delivering the tasks above, and supporting the work of other NOCRI team members, the post-holder will be required to:

  • Contribute to the provision of analyses, intelligence and information on NIHR research infrastructure portfolios to facilitate collaborations, meetings, briefing requests, responding to parliamentary questions and other requests for information
  • Contribute to the development and maintenance of NIHR clinical infrastructure expertise/capabilities summaries to support wider knowledge and understanding of this expertise across the NOCRI team
  • Assist with the development/maintenance of a detailed map of the strengths and expertise across the NIHR clinical research infrastructure to support NOCRI’s ongoing industry engagement
  • Work with NOCRI Communications Manager to identify case studies and success stories
  • Support management of NOCRI’s KPIs and help to identify key areas of strength that need sustaining and opportunities for continuous improvement

Key Relationships:

The post-holder will work closely with NOCRI team members and will also liaise frequently with relevant colleagues within the Department of Health, particularly the RDD Science, Research and Evidence team.

S/he will work closely with colleagues at the NIHR CCF particularly, the Infrastructure Team. As required, the post-holder will liaise with the UKCRF Network, ECMC Secretariat and the NIHR Clinical Research Network Coordinating Centre.

Behaviours and Competencies Required:

  • Exceptional organisational skills, including excellent attention to detail, meetings management and record keeping
  • An outgoing and engaging personality with excellent interpersonal and communication skills – written and verbal
  • A proactive, self-motivated, flexible and enthusiastic team player who can work independently and as part of a team and contribute to the development of a positive, can-do culture
  • Confidence and diplomacy when dealing with stakeholders in NHS Trusts, universities and industry who have diverse levels of experience and seniority
  • Ability to understand the complex NIHR funding system and identify the relevant funding opportunities in a way that emphasises the benefits to external stakeholders
  • Ability to analyse issues and generate creative solutions to problems that produce mutual benefit for NIHR and external stakeholders
  • Ability to work under pressure to tight deadlines
  • Demonstrates LGC’s core values of passion, curiosity, integrity, brilliance and respect

Required Knowledge, Experience and Technical Skills:


  • Previous experience of effective line management
  • A track record of successful management and delivery of projects involving multiple organisations
  • A good biomedical science degree or equivalent expertise gained through previous employment in the life sciences sector
  • Experience of liaising with senior individuals in a variety of organisations with an ability to create favourable working relationships easily
  • Advanced skills in Microsoft Office applications, in particular Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Proficient in the use of email and other web-based applications, including online databases.
  • Stakeholder management experience


  • Previous experience of working with the NIHR
  • An understanding of how clinical research in the NHS is carried out, and of the role of the NIHR

Additional Requirements for this Role:

  • This role will be based in Twickenham and will require frequent travel to central London and within the UK

Due to the highly sensitive nature of the work, applicants should note that security clearance may be required for this role. To gain security clearance you must have three years continuous residency in the UK. Criminal convictions may prevent you from gaining security clearance. This role may in addition require random alcohol/drug screening.                                                                                                                               

To apply, please forward your CV to gmgrecruitment@nihr-ccf.org.uk, along with a covering letter indicating your suitability for the role.

/* */