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Chief Operating Officer, Medical Research Council

Medical Research Council
Swindon or London – hybrid working with regular travel to both locations
£90,000 - £95,000, depending on skills and experience
Closing date
16 Jun 2024

View more

Private sector
Contract Type
Full Time

Job Details

Chief Operating Officer, Medical Research Council

Full time, Open Ended (Permanent)

Based in Swindon or London – hybrid working with regular travel to both locations

About Us:

Within UK Research and Innovation, the Medical Research Council seeks to improve human health through world-class research. With an annual budget of over £900m, MRC provides support both to individuals, through fellowships and grants, and to institutions, such as the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology and the Francis Crick Institute. The outcomes of our research span discovery science, improvements in public health and the development of new treatments for common diseases.   

For more information about MRC, please visit

About the role:

This role is central to MRC’s effective delivery as part of UKRI and the wider bio-medical science sector.  The role holder will have responsibility for several organisational functions including financial oversight and management, procurement and contracting, MRC governance, our funding operations; capital and estates; and MRC’s pension scheme.  In addition, the role will focus on business partner arrangements with UKRI corporate functions including finance; governance; assurance; risk; data and Information; and procurement. 

You will support MRC’s Executive Chair in the transformation of MRC in alignment to UKRI’s strategy.  You will lead and support strategic planning and decision making, facilitating key strategic and operational decisions in the support and delivery of MRC’s strategic vision, such as financial planning, evaluation and improvement of corporate performance, pension planning, and operational partnership with MRC Institutes and Units.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Work closely with finance business partners to take the strategic lead in devising budgetary control and financial planning to support the needs of the business, medium-term planning and Operating Expense (OPEX)
  • Ensure MRC receives quality and timely support, information and advice from UKRI Corporate Services
  • Ensure effective corporate governance, that MRC meets statutory obligations; and continuously improve MRC’s overall performance
  • Participating in the governance of major projects and cross council Initiatives, pre and post inception. Acting as Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) on material delivery projects for MRC; this will include multi-million-pound projects
  • Overall responsibility at a contractual and transactional level for MRC’s intellectual property
  • Provide strong, creative, and visible leadership of a high performing, efficient cross functional team of leaders  
  • Embody the ethos, vision, and mission of MRC, taking individual and collective professional responsibility for championing the MRC agenda and proactively implementing initiatives which secure the organisation’s mission
  • Act as a pivot, ensuring appropriate MRC input is recognised in the relationships with MRC Units and Institutes and other legacy MRC impacts (HR policies, redundancy, pension etc).  

For the full role, responsibilities and requirements, please visit our Careers Portal.

About You:

Candidates will be assessed against the following essential criteria throughout the recruitment process:

  • A professional qualification in financial management and professional membership of a relevant business institution, with experience of managing budgets in excess of £250million per year
  • First class track record of leadership of a corporate services function at senior management level, in large, complex multi-stakeholder organisations in either the public or private sector
  • Experience of governance, risk management principles, intellectual property and management of legal advice
  • Proven strategic, financial planning and analytical skills with the ability to analyse complex and potentially conflicting information as well as a record of translating organisational vision and strategy into operational requirements, to deliver desired outcomes and set priorities
  • Experience of successfully motivating and developing high performing collaborative teams to deliver high-quality and resilient business-as-usual operations and to enhance service delivery
  • Understanding of the wider political environment in which MRC operates both within and outside UKRI including an ability to work effectively within the governance framework of the MRC
  • Considerable experience of stakeholder management including the ability to work with partners to build effective relationships for mutual benefit, reconcile potentially conflicting interests and influence others not in their management line to achieve desired outcomes with the ability to build consensus and trust
  • Broad understanding of the research funding system in the UK, to include knowledge of the activities and priorities of the other UK Research Councils and Innovate UK, relevant Government departments and organisations including the Office for Life Sciences, universities and the life-sciences industry.


Choosing to come to work at UKRI means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme, excellent holiday entitlement, access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme.  For more details, visit benefits of working for UKRI. 

How to Apply:

To apply, please submit your CV and a cover letter outlining your relevant experience and suitability for the role against the full specification via our Careers Portal. The closing date for applications is 23:59 Sunday 16th June 2024. Interviews will be taking place in Caxton House, London on Monday 1st July 2024.

UKRI is an inclusive employer that values diversity in its workforce. We encourage applications from all individuals without regard to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or age.


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