Research Support Secretary

1. Job details

Job title: Research Support Secretary 
School: Engineering 
Grade: UE04 
Hours: 35 
Duration: Open-ended

2. Job Purpose

The post holder is part of a team of six providing administrative support for the seven Research Institutes within the School of Engineering.

3. Main Responsibilities (Approx. % of time)

  1. Institute Support – 30% 
    Administrative support for staff, Research Associates and Postgraduates in a Research Institute with support to the Head of Research Institute as required. Involves dealing with incoming mail and telephone enquiries. Using the shared mailbox for all incoming and outgoing institute correspondence. Providing day to day support for the running of the Research Institute including such tasks as: taking minutes, (e.g. Local Safety subcommittee), answering general enquiries from staff and students, processing door access requests, health and safety (reporting building faults), ordering IT equipment, maintaining institute facilities (ordering paper, restocking kitchen supplies etc), ordering office furniture and organising collection of obsolete equipment.

This may also include front of house receptionist duties including receiving deliveries, organising courier collections, dealing with enquires by telephone, email and in person).

  1. Support for meetings and events – 5% 
    Ordering catering and booking meeting rooms for Institute seminar groups and staff meetings (e.g scheduling of researcher annual reviews) including preparation of the meeting room and taking minutes. Attending and organising events as required.

  2. Assisting with Researcher Recruitment – 15% 
    Administrative support for the application process for Research Associate appointments involving communication with the School Staffing Office and the Research Institute SecretarySupervisor on upcoming vacancies, support academic members of staff in the recruitment process by contacting applicants regarding interview arrangements and completing related paperwork. Ensuring correspondence is passed to the RIS Supervisor/Staffing Office in a timely manner. Assist with the induction process for Research Associates ensuring office/desk arrangements (IT equipment/Staff card/computer account) have been organised in advance of arrival. Working with the School Staffing Office as required.

  3. Space Management - 15% 
    Support for the allocation of space within the Research Institute for Research Associates, Postgraduate students, Honorary staff and visitors, maintain the Desk Allocation Database weekly, preparing reports on space usage and reporting to the RIS Supervisor. Additional reporting/actions to be carried out as required. Assisting the RIS Supervisor with space projects within the institute.

  4. Travel and Accommodation Booking - 10% 
    Arranging and booking travel, accommodation and car hire for all institute staff (and postgraduate students as required) through the University approved supplier and providing confirmation. Ensure staff and students are complying with policies relating to risk assessments and travel insurance.

  5. Management of Institute Visitors – 5% 
    Administration of visitor applications and registrations using the VRS system including planning for their arrival and induction as per School policy. Ensuring office/desk arrangements (IT equipment/Visitor card/computer account) have been organised in advance of arrival.

  6. Researcher Absence Management – 5% 
    Using a shared mailbox to process research staff absence requests, seeking approval from line managers and maintaining accurate records. Providing line managers quarterly updates on outstanding leave. Assisting the Staffing Office to ensure compliance to the Managed Migration legislation.

  7. Processing Expenses – 10% 
    Working proactively to collate and input expenses for all institute staff onto the University eExpense system weekly, providing additional information to the Finance Office in a timely manner.

  8. Any other appropriate duties as delegated by the RIS Supervisor/Research Administrator including providing cover for other members of the RIS team during absences/annual leave which may require working from a different location. 5%

4. Planning and Organising

The post holder’s work is directed by the RIS Supervisor and Research Administrator but will be guided by the requirements of the Research Institute. Research Support Secretaries are required to plan ahead up to six months in advance for the arrival of new Postgraduate students and Research Associates into their Institute including planning for space and facilities.

5. Problem Solving

The post holder is often the first point of contact in their building and the ‘front of house’ for the Research Institute. This requires the ability to deal with a large volume and variety of different enquiries, many of which will often fall outside the post holder’s own expertise. Conflicting deadlines can occur and it is essential that post holder is able to prioritise workloads to ensure an excellent level of customer service is continuously achieved.

The post holder is required to ‘trouble-shoot’ on a daily basis with new enquiries coming into the Research Institute, problems faced by staff and postgraduates in their area – needing to quickly ascertain the best referral route/information source to deal with the problem.

6. Decision Making

Examples of decisions the post holder makes includes:

Responding to enquiries from a variety of people including staff and external customers. . Where enquiries need to be referred the post holder identifies the best source of information and advice available, escalating when required.

Finding suitable accommodation (desk and room allocation) for all new starts within the Research Institute.

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

Within the School - all staff, particularly the staff in the Research Institute; all postgraduate research students.

RIS Supervisor, Research Administrator, Deputy Director of Professional Services, Finance Office, Staffing Office and Graduate School office. PA to Head of School.

Within the University – academic and research staff in other Schools, for example research collaborators, to chase up information on behalf of senior academic staff.

External to the University – staff in other institutions, visiting researchers, University travel agent.

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

Excellent knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Outlook and the internet.

Strong communication skills and highly organised with a proactive approach to the role and the ability to manage their time to meet deadlines and manage conflicting priorities.

Appropriate relevant secretarial experience, preferably in an education-related environment.

Experience in database systems, developing webpages or a willingness to receive training for this and experience in working with shared mailboxes.

9. Dimensions

Approximate number of staff affected by the post holder: all academic and students in the Research Institute (approx. range 100 - 200).

UoE Vacancy Ref: 


Closing Date: 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Contact Name: 

Roxanne King

Contact Email: 

Contact Telephone: 

+44 (0) 131 65