The Edinburgh Research Office is looking for an enthusiastic and proactive Research Funding Specialist to facilitate, support and contribute to the submission and award of externally funded research activity.
In this post, you will be a part of our experienced team providing specialist knowledge and targeted support to the University of Edinburgh’s research community in the pursuit of funding. ERO provides wide ranging support for individual projects, collaborative and interdisciplinary bids and strategic applications. This includes horizon scanning, advice on targeting the right opportunities, research bid development and expert guidance on external research funders. We provide resources for researchers – presentations and guidance, finances, impact, Knowledge Exchange and legal – and for the extended community of research support, through linked services and shared training, throughout the University.

The successful candidate will have strong written and presentation skills, attention to detail, be an enthusiastic team player with good interpersonal skills, and have a collegiate and customer-focused approach to the delivery of services.

This post is full-time (35 hours per week), open-ended contract.

Closing Date: Thursday 15th October 2020 at 5pm (GMT)
Salary: Grade 6 (£28,331 – £32,816)

Job Details

Job title: Research Funding Specialist

School/Support Department: Edinburgh Research Office

Unit (if applicable): Corporate Services Group

Line manager: Senior Research Funding Specialist

Job Purpose

The Edinburgh Research Office operates within the context of an ambitious and growing research agenda at the University of Edinburgh. The Research Funding Specialist will proactively facilitate, support and contribute to the submission and award of externally funded research activity, through expert guidance on content and administrative structures, in or led by their portfolio of schools or funders.

They will be expected to work agilely across all teams to support the delivery of business critical objectives, for example: key projects, major deadlines, and other time sensitive initiatives. Whilst participating in one of these initiatives the postholder will be under matrix management.

Main Responsibilities

  • To be a positive and constructive first point of contact for School and Centre Edinburgh Research Offices, individual applicants and other University colleagues. Responding to their queries, coordinating with them on applications and awards within their portfolio, informing them of any challenges, risks or opportunities that a particular proposal or award may represent in order to ensure that all applications and awards for external funding are processed efficiently and all deadlines met. This will involve providing expert advice and guidance on: financial requirements, legal compliance, application format and content, final sign off or research application submissions both electronic and paper where appropriate, partner and funder relations and award agreements. (70%)
  • Analyse, contextualise and disseminate new rules or requirements, liaising directly with relevant parties where possible, before raising to Senior Research Funding Specialist with proposed solutions where the issue is wider than their portfolio, to ensure that applicants are working with the most up-to-date information and applications are compliant before submission. (10%)
  • Work as part of time-limited project teams created specifically to target key strategic opportunities and drivers. For example: targeting portfolio growth in a key funder. (10%)
  • To be responsible for the accuracy of data entered into various systems to ensure that KPIs generated from those systems are accurate and reliable. Have an awareness of the current KPIs for their portfolio schools/centres and the implication that can arise due to incorrect data. (5%)
  • Other duties assigned by the Senior Research Specialist when the need arises. (5%)

Planning and Organising
In this often deadline driven role excellent time management is essential, with the ability to set and prioritise own workload. While priority must be given to the deadlines, whether internal or external, all other elements of the role must be provided in a timely fashion.
Working closely with other teams in the Edinburgh Research Office as necessary to ensure that effective service levels and manageable workloads are maintained across Edinburgh Research Office as a whole.

The postholder will commonly have a discrete portfolio which could comprise a number of schools or centres, specific funders and/or particular elements of the ERO development plan such as internal or external training or communication but will also be required to be cognisant of the portfolios of colleagues to ensure smooth cross-disciplinary working and consistent coverage.

Problem Solving

The postholder will frequently be required to address new problems as the research environment is both target-driven and increasingly complex, with multi-disciplinary and multipartner activities, and more funding from both the public purse and the aid budget enforcing strict governance and audit terms.

Decision Making

The postholder will often be autonomous, given portfolio management and work in a deadline-driven environment, providing a prompt and informed service.
Given that each portfolio is different and the postholder will develop expertise specific to their role, they will be expected to be able to take decisions where these are required to allow progress (in application, negotiation, interpretation of rules, in relationship management) and escalating through the management structure where required.

Key Contacts/Relationships


The postholder will be required to work closely with a large network of internal and external parties, often being the nexus of the relationships

  • The academic community: researchers at all career stages
  • Funders, collaborators and partner organisations
  • Colleagues in the Edinburgh Research Office
  • Administrative support in portfolio schools/centres
  • Edinburgh Innovation
  • Finance Department

Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

Working in partnership with the academic community, funders, collaborators, partners (internal and external), and using specialist knowledge in compliance and related legislation, the postholder will be the first point of contact for the researcher. They will manage the financial and compliance aspects of research bids, negotiate template collaboration agreements, sub-awards and subcontracts. They will ensure timely, informative and proactive support throughout the process.


  • First degree, preferably in relevant subject
  • 3yr + experience in similar or related role in a University environment
  • Demonstrable knowledge of the UK research environment
  • Demonstrable ability to analyse and summarise complex issues in research funding
  • Strong written and presentation skills
  • Team player with good interpersonal skills, a collegial and customer-focused approach to the delivery of services


  • Post Graduate qualification
  • ARMA/EARMA/PRAXIS/AURIL certified training
  • Familiarity with research costing and pricing and research funding systems
  • Specialist knowledge in external funding sources


The role of the Edinburgh Research Office is to promote, develop, facilitate and contribute to the growth of research activity and income for the University of Edinburgh.

The postholder will work with a portfolio of Schools and/or centres across the University.

  • Job Context and any other relevant information

    The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s leading research-intensive universities. Our researchers continuously challenge the boundaries of knowledge. We have a continuing track record of the highest levels of research excellence. Edinburgh is a global university, consistently ranked one of the best 25 universities in the world. We are 4th in the UK for research power in both main league tables based on REF2014. Our REF performance was strong across the board, with all three of our Colleges having disciplines placed first for power in both league tables, and more than half of subjects submitted in the UK top five for power in both tables. The University is on an upward trajectory, winning research grants and contracts of £364 million in 16/17, up by 36 per cent on 15/16 and 19 per cent up on the previous record of £305 million reported in 2014/15. The University aims to continue on this trajectory and the Edinburgh Research Office will play a key role in supporting academics to do this.

    Application Procedure

    All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments..

    We anticipate interviews will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.
    The closing date is 5pm on 15.10.2020

    Eligibility to Work

    In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and Immigration Act 2016 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).
    To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

    For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work webpage

    If You Are From Outside The EEA And Not Currently Eligible To Work In The UK, There Are Visa Routes That May Be Available To You, For Example

    • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent): If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. This route requires you to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK). However, if you are applying for a senior academic role, e.g. Professor/Reader there is an accelerated route to endorsement. Further information can be found on the UKVI website
    • Tier 2: The University is a UKVI licensed sponsor and is able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who are offered highly skilled roles and meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa).

    Further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes can be found at:

    Conditions of Employment

    Pension Scheme

    This role is grade UE06 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

    For further information please visit our Pensions website .


    The role is grade UE06 and attracts an annual salary of £28.331 to £32,816 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

    The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.