Functional Director: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Big Data Network Support

Posted to IASSIST on: 2014-05-12

Employer: UK Data Archive


The UK Data Archive as the lead organisation in the UK Data Service partnership has been awarded funds to support to the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC’s) Big Data Network. The ESRC has separately funded three centres as Phase 2 of its Big Data Network. These are the ESRC Urban Big Data Research Centre, the ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre and the ESRC Data Research Centre for Smart Analytics. This support is also to be applied in the future to the third phase of the ESRC’s Big Data Network focussing on social media and third sector data.

The Functional Director (FD) has strategic and operational responsibility for the UK Data Service (UKDS) support for the Big Data Network. S/he will join the UKDS Functional Director Team. The role-holder will be expected to work particularly closely with the Director of the UK Data Archive, and the Director and Co-Director of the Administrative Data Service (ADS), providing a “liaison” role between the ADS and the UKDS.

UKDS support for the ESRC’s Big Data Network requires that new staff will be embedded into existing UKDS functions including pre-ingest; ingest; data management and archival storage; access; training and capacity building; and planning and standards development. This post-holder will work within the Functional Director team to ensure that the requirements of Big Data stakeholders (data owners and researchers) are met for each of these functions.

The post holder will be responsible for the Secure Lab team which manages research access, via secure means, to data which are too sensitive, detailed, or potentially disclosive to be disseminated any other way. S/he will also manage two planned research projects which have been designed to enhance the UKDS contribution to the Big Data Network, including projects to undertake research into the archiving of administrative/transactional data and social media.

  1. Responsible for providing leadership and setting the direction and priorities for the support and management of novel data types into the UK Data Service collection.
  2. Collaboration with other Functional Directors to ensure the smooth integration of these data and associated protocols and procedures into the UK Data Service system.
  3. Responsible project staff as appropriate and for the UK Data Service Secure Lab team, including the extension of the Secure Lab team’s activities in support of secure access to Big Data Centres.
  4. Ensuring line-managed staff understand and comply with all and any procedures necessary to minimise the risk of disclosure of sensitive or personal information. Working within the UKDA information security protocols and playing a role in ensuring the continued certification of the UKDA to ISO 27001 certification in collaboration with other senior UKDA staff.
  5. The role will require significant, active liaison with senior stakeholders, including data providers from commerce, industry and the public sector and involvement on external committees and steering groups. A primary aim of the role is to work with the Big Data Centres (Essex, Glasgow, Leeds and UCL) to ensure collaborative communication between the different organisations and between the different stakeholder groups.
  6. Coordination of Big Data Centre activities where those activities impact on the UKDA’s responsibilities to the Centres, ensuring consistency of standards and procedures across organisations.
  7. To lead collaborative developments in data management, data access and data curation nationally and internationally through active participation in appropriate external bodies, and in project-based partnerships with other data organisations including two UK Data research projects, one on the archiving of administrative/transactional data and one on the archiving of social media data.
  8. The post holder will be required to lead on the development of any new formal processes and procedures which are identified from the enhancement projects.
  9. Data acquisition: applying a harmonised approach (where possible) to the negotiation between data providers and the relevant Research Centres in order to increase the collection of data available for secondary analysis through either the Research Centres and potentially the UK Data Service. The post will cover outputs across the data access spectrum from highly sensitive linked data to data that can be released under an open government license.
  10. Working with their ADS equivalent in the UK Data Service, provide the organisational and motivational impetus for the agreement of data owners on protocols and procedures and metadata production, arising from the enhancement projects, including surrounding secure data access and linking that can be applicable nationally across a wide range of contexts.
  11. Responsible for reporting on Big Data activities and for ensuring the quality and consistency of such reporting. Reporting may be written or oral, for funders and/or governing bodies, steering committees, and other related stakeholders.
  12. To be jointly responsible with other UKDS Functional Directors for all strategic planning and policy decisions within the UK Data Service.
  13. To represent the Archive in the University’s Institute for Data Analytics and Data Science.
  14. To develop, resource, and oversee implementation of strategic tasks and goals within the UK Data Service
  15. To represent the Archive (and when appropriate the ESRC and/or the University) in national and international forums.
  16. Any other duties required by the Director or his nominee.

Functional Director: Economic and Social Research

Council (ESRC) Big Data Network Support


JOB TITLE: Functional Director: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Big Data Network Support                                                 POST REF: SS317


  • Postgraduate degree or equivalent experience in a relevant data-using discipline                                                                               
  • Degree (or equivalent qualification) in a subject requiring numeracy                                                                                           
  • Experience/Knowledge
  • Experienced project/strategic manager   
  • Experience of the UK research environment
  • Knowledge of data owners’ needs and challenges 
  • Experience in management, preferably in a research or academic setting, with strong motivational skills and ability to engender and     manage effective  teamwork    
  • Experience supporting data users
  • Experience handling sensitive data
  • Experience  of  legislative  environment  surrounding  access  to personal data                                                                                      
  • Experience of data management for curation
  • Sound understanding of data security requirements
    • Knowledge of a wide range of specialised information systems and standards, including technical and procedural requirements for  data  security,  data  management,  data  curation,  statistical     analysis
    • packages and methods, information security, metadata standards,  internet  technologies,  and  a  variety  of  technical systems, platforms and methodologies
    • Understanding of relevance and importance of organisational and cross-organisational procedures                                                         
  • Negotiation skills                                                                             
  • Knowledge of UK (and international) data access infrastructures      
  • Experience of management in a service environment                          
  • Experience of  overseeing  and  directing  the  development and delivery of services to agreed timeframes and standards                                            
  • Experience in the specification and development of new systems and services                                                                                                           
  • Experience in international collaborative work and a sensitivity to national and cultural differences                                                                           
  • Experience of data linking                                                                                    
  • Experience of working with a stakeholders, relevant to the post                              
  • Extensive   existing   personal   network   among   stakeholders, effective  working  contacts  among  government  departments, academic   units,   funding   councils,   and   sister   data   service organisations nationally and internationally    
  • Knowledge of ISO 27001
  • Demonstrable negotiation skills

  • Leadership skills

  • Familiarity with handling either administrative / transactional data or social media data

  • Excellent communication skills both written and spoken, for conveying information to a wide range of stakeholders with differing levels of expertise and understanding

  • Ability to use initiative to address complex issues

  • Ability to work collaboratively

  • Can meet the requirements of UK ‘right to work’ legislation*

  • Can fulfil the staff vetting procedure for Government contracts (see general information for more details)


Archived on: 2014-06-16