Associate Director, Communications and Impact

Posted to IASSIST on: 2014-05-09

Employer: UK Data Service

Employer URL:


Overall Purpose of the JobWe’re looking for a data-savvy senior manager based at Mimas who can lead the UK Data Service’s Communications and Impact function from blue-skies strategy to implementation.

This role will provide the right individual with both strategic input in an Associate Director capacity along with the operational responsibilities and support necessary to see visions become reality for this national, growing online service.

The UK Data Service is funded by the ESRC to provide researchers and analysts around the world with access to an extensive collection of high-quality digital data critical for social and economic research. Data in the collection come from a variety of sources including the UK Census, government surveys, longitudinal studies, businesses, international macrodata banks such as the IMF, and individual researchers. Users range from the academic sector to a growing number of analysts in business, the third sector, and all levels of government.

The post is strategically focused to support the UK Data Service in engaging with data users, data owners and other stakeholders in the UK and abroad, as well as developing opportunities for enhancing the role through projects and innovations that supplement the Service. A key responsibility is to identify, develop and extend the Service’s impact. The Communications and Impact function is part of the UK Data Service Outreach function, which also includes User Support and User Training.

We are looking for a dynamic and highly motivated individual to lead on raising the visibility of the UK Data Service holdings and to find, increase and promote the use and impact of the data and resources in policy-relevant research, especially to new audiences such as policymakers, government sectors, charities, the private sector and the media. You will lead on the continued development and implementation of an effective and sustainable communications and impact strategy and you will need to have relevant previous experience in this area. A solid understanding of evidence-based research in a variety of social science disciplines is imperative. Experience in leading and managing professional teams is essential together with effective high level communication written and verbal communication skills.

Mimas employees are currently University of Manchester staff; however discussions are currently taking place to TUPE transfer Mimas staff to Jisc with effect from 1st August 2014.  The University and Jisc have agreed that this post will be within scope of this TUPE transfer. More information will be provided to successful applicants on appointment.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities or Duties UK Data Service

  • responsible for the strategic development and day-to-day operations of the UK Data Service’s Communications and Impact function
  • work closely with the UK Data Service Director, Deputy Directors and Associate Directors on strategically focussed activities to engage and grow the UK Data Service community of users, data owners and other stakeholders, and to keep the Service at the forefront of best practice in this area
  • lead on developing ways to measure and demonstrate the impact of the UK Data Service, both quantitative and qualitative, in a way that influences funders and policymakers
  • provide leadership to the Communications and Impact team through effective management, direction and motivation, including performance and development reviews
  • work closely with the UK Data Service User Support and User Training Director to ensure a joined-up Outreach programme of activities
  • manage projects to facilitate cross-service collaborations
  • oversee progress against agreed plans for the UK Data Service Communications and Impact function, and other services and projects.
  • Liaise with external funders (especially ESRC) and professional bodies as needed


All Mimas Managers have specific accountability with regard to:


  • health and safety
  • staff development and appraisal within the team
  • communicating to benefit Manchester Computing staff as a whole
  • services delivery for the team

Generic duties for the Mimas Manager post are:

  • deputise for other Mimas Managers and/or Directorate as requested
  • provide exemplary models of leadership and management for  the services/projects
  • participate in the establishment of SLA/Ds
  • ensure that SLA/Ds are monitored and reviewed for their service areas
  • ensure staff operate within the established service culture
  • provide leadership in coordination of inter-team issues and interdependencies
  • promote the project and service culture for the team and between teams
  • propose service and infrastructure opportunities for enhancement
  • ensure that services are operating to the principles established by the Mimas Strategy
  • empower and build on the skills of staff
  • seek and support funding opportunities that could benefit the service or University as a whole
  • liaise appropriately with external suppliers
  • contribute to the Publicity and Marketing strategy by providing articles, reports and news items
  • manage customer satisfaction and bring attention to complaints
  • manage assigned problems on behalf of customers
  • manage changes to services
  • manage customer requirements and ensure that they are appropriately owned with Mimas
  • manage service improvement
  • manage assigned projects

Specific duties for Mimas Manager post are:

  • responsible and accountable for the strategic and operational management of the Mimas Socioeconomic Data services and projects
    • provide line management to members of the Mimas UK Data Service team – including UKDS Census Support team - and activity management to the distributed Communications and Impact team
    • participate in the Mimas Senior Management Team
    • Contribute to the development of the Mimas organisational strategy and associated Operational Plans
    • lead project teams as assigned by Mimas SMT
    • Initiate business development, securing funding for new services and projects that support UK Data Service and/or Mimas  strategic objectives
    • Allocate and manage budgets for managed services and projects
    • Plan and organise resources in order to ensure maximum levels of performance
    • Engage with socioeconomic data service developments and standards at a national and international level and provide leadership to the rest of Mimas in these areas
    • Liaise with and report to external groups including working groups, committees and governing boards
    • Keep up to date with emerging new technologies, standards and specifications relevant to socioeconomic data
    • Demonstrate leadership in the data community by presenting at national and international conferences or similar events

Essential Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • The Post holder will be expected to be of professional standing with management experience in relation to staff, services, and relevant infrastructure to the specific service area
  • manage and motivate staff in a changing technological and service environment
  • ensure that staff are developed to advance personal and service skills
  • operate and lead within the cultures and ethos established for Mimas and the UK Data Service
  • deliver the necessary planning, organisation and delivery of services
  • commit to a customer culture and the overall ethos of service delivery including the establishment of service agreements, service monitoring, and benchmarking in a fully transparent manner
  • have excellent communication and presentation skills, plus the ability to solve problems and think both operationally and strategically
  • have capability and experience in project leadership, accepting appropriate levels of responsibility and accountability
  • have skills in and experience of managing relationships with customers, staff and service suppliers

Specific knowledge, skills and experience

  • a university degree or equivalent professional experience
  • demonstrate relevant leadership experience and ability to engage with high-level decision makers
  • ability to understand and summarise research findings and impact for broad audiences
  • ability to initiate, lead on and coordinate activities that would assist the UK Data Service in delivering on its Key Performance Indicators
  • a solid understanding of evidence-based research in a variety of social science disciplines
  • detailed understanding of data policy in one or more sectors, and the skills to interpret business requirements.
  • significant experience of leading, managing and developing services / projects, preferably in higher education
  • significant knowledge of the contribution of socioeconomic data to learning, teaching and research
  • experience of successfully leading and implementing innovative communications and impact strategies for services / projects, preferably within the social sciences
  • significant experience in leading, managing, developing and motivating staff experience of speaking at national and international workshops and/or conferences
  • experience in running services and projects in a multi partner environment
  • experience of leading and managing teams ensuring that aims are successfully met
  • experience in writing papers and high level reports to funding bodies and external committees.
  • experience of working with and influencing senior managers and/or policy makers
  • experience of effectively managing and controlling budgets
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • excellent planning, organisational & time management skills.


Desirable knowledge, skills and experience

  • background in marketing and communications
  • experience of using data for the purpose of informing policies or developing business strategies
  • good understanding of how social science data and research informs social policy and public opinion
  • demonstrable knowledge of social media, and experience of using web and socialanalytics to demonstrate impact

Archived on: 2014-06-16