View Vacancy -- Senior Contracts Manager - Operations Group - Josie Gowler - LMB 1128
The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is one of the birthplaces of modern molecular biology and has played an important role in the development of many new techniques, most notably protein crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, DNA sequencing and monoclonal antibodies. The LMB has a clear goal of understanding biological processes at the molecular level, with the ultimate aim of using this knowledge to tackle specific problems in human health and disease. We aim to tackle difficult, long-term problems, which often require investment over many years.
There are four scientific Divisions - Structural Studies, Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry, Cell Biology and Neurobiology. However, scientific collaboration between the different Divisions is extensive. Scientists are well supported by excellent scientific facilities and by the LMB Operations Group which maintains the core infrastructure and services of the institute.
The LMB provides an unsurpassed environment for both new and established researchers. Scientists are drawn to the LMB from all over the world, thus creating a lively and international community for the exchange of ideas and technical innovation.
To lead a team that supports scientific staff at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) with research contracts and agreements, technology transfer, industrial collaborations, strategic partnerships and external funding applications. The team also provides advice on the requirements of research ethics and research governance policies.
Most of the research groups attract external funding from a variety of sources, and/or engage in collaborative research, exchange materials or data, or undertake studies requiring ethical approval. All such activities bring a need for formal contracts and agreements, which serve both to facilitate the research, and to protect the interests of the MRC and the research staff. Support in these areas is provided through a dedicated research office, working closely with colleagues from UKRI and LifeArc, MRC’s technology transfer partner.
Key to the success of this role will be the ability to combine an understanding of the research of the LMB, and the potential of and implications for collaboration or exploitation, with extensive experience of research contract negotiation and management in this fast-paced environment.
Management of the research grants and contracts advisory service
To negotiate research contracts and agreements for the LMB. This involves balancing competing interests such as:
• Protecting academic freedom to operate (use of results, intellectual property and publications) and maximising the opportunities for translation and knowledge transfer, and where possible exploitation.
• Adhering to funder’s/sponsor’s terms and conditions.
• Ensuring confidentiality.
• Managing risk through negotiation of warranties, liabilities and indemnities; ensuring compliance with MRC policies, procedures and best practice.
• Recording research governance arrangements, utilising a good knowledge of applicable legislation and guidance and explaining how these apply to the research being proposed.
To approve and sign legally binding contracts for the LMB, subject to MRC delegated authority limits. Such contracts include collaboration agreements, material transfer agreements, licence agreements, data sharing agreements, consultancy agreements and confidentiality agreements.
To review submissions for external funding applications, noting and negotiating any unusual terms and conditions.
To support and facilitate collaborative working with industry, including a major joint strategic programme with AstraZeneca (AZ).
To build a good understanding of the research portfolio in the LMB, taking a proactive role in assisting with the identification and promotion of opportunities for technology transfer, including the requirement for evaluation and protection of intellectual property. This requires a good knowledge of the various forms of intellectual property rights common to a research environment. It will involve close working with LifeArc, the MRC’s technology transfer partner.
To identify and support due diligence and contractual issues associated with the transfer into or out of the LMB of research groups.
To promote and advise staff on the requirements of Research Ethics and Research Governance Framework policies and guidance. Keeping up-to-date with requirements pertinent to research in the LMB (in association with the MRC Regulatory Support Centre).
To lead the process for novating contracts from MRC (legacy body) to UKRI and manage staff archiving and reviewing old records as part of this project.
To promote all aspects of the contracts service, seeking to raise awareness of possibilities for external funding, collaborations, exploitation and requirements to ensure adequate protection of MRC’s interests.
To support the exploitation of inventions and intellectual property through provision of guidance and information, including through the intranet and in presentations and being the first point of contact for invention disclosures.
You will have considerable autonomy in the drafting, negotiation and execution of contracts, and it is expected that you will bring a wide range of expert knowledge to bear on ensuring these are in the best interests of the MRC, such that income generation is protected and liabilities managed.
You will often encounter situations for which there is no precedent. For these analysis and assessment of risks will be needed in consultation with LifeArc to determine and present the most appropriate course of action, and the terms and structure of agreements to make recommendation to the LMB Director.
Awards to Inventors – To oversee the administration of the MRC’s scheme to reward inventors.
Management Information – To oversee the effective and efficient administration of all Research Office records including database management. Ensuring records are kept to provide audit trails and accessibility as required.
You will report to the LMB Head of Finance and Research Contracts.
You will have line management responsibility for members of the Research Contracts team, providing management, career development and performance review.
Works collaboratively with the other staff of the Research Office, and with members of the Operations Group in the LMB.
The role involves developing and maintaining a broad range of working relationships within the MRC, UKRI and externally, including;
• LMB Director
• LMB COO
• Senior Scientists in the LMB
• External funding team and other members of LMB finance team
• MRC and UKRI Head Office staff
• MRC Regulatory Support Centre
• Funding bodies / sponsors and other third-party organisations
• Equivalent roles in external organisations
The above lists are not exhaustive and you are required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be requested within the scope of the post. All employees are required to act professionally, co-operatively and flexibly in line with the requirements of the post and the MRC.
Education / qualifications / training required:
Essential: Degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.
• Qualification in law.
• Experience or degree in biological sciences, related science subject or other relevant research areas.
Previous work experience required:
• Extensive experience of drafting, negotiating and management of relevant contracts and agreements.
• Experience of working in a fast paced environment and managing a large portfolio.
• Experience of leading, developing and motivating teams.
Desirable: Extensive contract drafting and management in a scientific environment.
Knowledge and experience:
• Sound understanding of intellectual property rights.
• Good analytical ability and confidence to make decisions when faced with complex casework.
• Knowledge or experience of intellectual property management.
• Experience in negotiating research contracts incorporating research governance/ethics provision.
• Experience of vetting contracts and being an authorised signatory.
• Experience of working in the public sector.
Personal skills / behaviours / qualities:
• Ability to understand the research portfolio of the LMB.
• Very good interpersonal skills including the ability to interact with staff at all levels.
• Ability to put across difficult concepts or different points of view while retaining the confidence of senior staff.
• Excellent negotiating skills with the ability to respond quickly during negotiations.
• Good team player.
• Organised, with, good time management, an eye for detail and the ability to set and juggle priorities to meet deadlines working across many activities simultaneously.
Desirable: Ability to implement change.
Choosing to come to work at the MRC (part of UKRI) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC and UKRI on your CV in the future.
Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As "Disability Confident" employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.
UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.
We will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.