Director of the Cardiff University Doctoral Academy

Secondment opportunity for 3 years in the first instance.

The University has established the Doctoral Academy as a high-profile entity to promote a vibrant, growing and multinational postgraduate research community associated with a leading University.

The Doctoral Academy’s mission is to grow the postgraduate research provision and drive improvements in the quality of delivery, in line with the University’s strategy The Way Forward. The Doctoral Academy builds upon the University’s success in securing Research Council-funded doctoral training initiatives and the high standing of its former University Graduate College in delivering an integrated programme of professional training and development for our doctoral candidates.

The functions of the Doctoral Academy are institutionally cross-cutting and are delivered in close collaboration with Cardiff University’s three Colleges, their Academic Schools, the University Research Institutes, and the Professional Services. They include:

  • development, implementation, monitoring and review of University-level strategies for postgraduate research
  • expansion and enhancement of external partnerships in support of the postgraduate research agenda
  • proactive liaison, in collaboration with key academic staff, with the Research Councils and other key funders, and development of new funding routes
  • coordination of the development, management and delivery of postgraduate research opportunities tailored for international students
  • promotion and support of the development of consistent, fit-for-purpose processes of marketing, recruitment and admission of postgraduate research students
  • coordination and delivery of an integrated programme of Professional Training and Development
  • promotion of and support for the delivery of an outstanding postgraduate research student experience
  • promotion and coordination of enhancements and consistency of practices relating to academic standards and quality of postgraduate research studies.


Reporting to the Pro Vice-Chancellor International and Europe, and working closely with the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience and Academic Standards and the College Deans for Postgraduate Research, the Director will be a member of the University senior management and will be required to establish a University-wide profile as the institutional champion for PGR. He or she will be expected to work with stakeholders in the University senior team, the Colleges, University Research Institutes, Doctoral Training Initiatives and key Professional Services teams to achieve greater coordination of activities and alignment of resources to the institution’s stated commitment to have a vibrant, growing and multinational PGR community, associated with a research-led University.

The Director will lead the development of a cross-institutional delivery model for the Academy to drive increase in the volume and quality of PGR studies at the University. The specialist team of Professional Services staff attached to the Doctoral Academy will be led by the Academy Director, working in partnership with the Head of Registry and Academic Registrar.

The main duties and responsibilities of the Director of the Cardiff University Doctoral Academy will be to:

  • develop University level strategies for Postgraduate Research Studies, in partnership and coordination with the Colleges, the University Research Institutes and the key Professional Services, resulting in a comprehensive strategy for growing the number of PGR students in line with The Way Forward ambitions
  • develop strategies to actively grow external funding for postgraduate research through partnerships with industry, charities and public sector organisations, expanding the overall PGR Scholarship provision of the University
  • raise the profile and reputation of Cardiff University as a destination for high calibre PGR students, with the Doctoral Academy and the University as a whole providing a clear, uniform and highly marketable offering of PGR study across the institution
  • lead the University-level pursuit of opportunities for international collaborative arrangements with high calibre institutions across the world to attract excellent PGR students to the University and lead the development of bespoke PGR programmes targeting key international markets
  • build effective lines of communication and collaboration with the Colleges, Academic Schools and Professional Services teams across the University, relevant to the Doctoral Academy and the PGR agenda overall, and commit to driving continuous improvements to the business processes and systems underpinning the PGR agenda at the University
  • engage with and influence senior individuals in a wide range of external organisations in order to enable the Doctoral Academy to meet its objectives for growth and quality of PGR and represent the University on external fora, as required
  • provide expert knowledge of PGR issues, including external factors, and lead on institutional reviews/analyses related to the PGR agenda and PGR student experience, in collaboration with the PVC Student Experience and College Deans of PGR, as required
  • proactively engage and work in partnership with the academic community and the postgraduate research student body across the institution and ensure their active participation in the governance and operations of the Doctoral Academy
  • work with the Head of Registry and Academic Registrar to lead and develop a team of high performing, highly skilled Professional Services staff attached to the Doctoral Academy who deliver, individually and as an academic unit, excellent and professional support and services in support of the University’s strategies for PGR
  • any other duties as directed by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for International & Europe.


The successful candidate for this role is someone who is a transformational leader with the following:

Essential experience

  • demonstrable experience in a leadership role in, or relevant to, higher education, with a track record of strategy development and implementation, working to and achieving a range of targets, resulting in sustained business improvements
  • a sound understanding of the external environment, issues, trends and developments within the area of PGR education and funding, across the breath of subject disciplines
  • outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, as evidenced by a record of effective working relationships across academic, professional and institutional boundaries and external stakeholders
  • demonstrable evidence of developing successful partnerships and collaborations with external organisations, including industry and/or other non-academic organisations, in the UK and/or overseas
  • an in-depth knowledge of the funding priorities and strategies for PGR of the Research Councils,charities and other key funders
  • track record of involvement in and promoting interdisciplinary research and involvement with relevant professional communities
  • a full understanding of the typical policies and procedures underpinning PGR studies in the UK HEI.

Desirable experience

  • a track record of innovative and impactful research, including securing external research funding and producing publications of international quality
  • an established track record in mentoring and developing individuals within or in an area related to higher education, including successful PGR supervision and contributions to improvement of the PGR student experience
  • a track record in innovative and impactful approaches to teaching, learning and student experience.

Attributes and skills

  • proven track record of professional achievements in a research environment in academia, industry or other relevant field, having led to publications, research grants and/or other significant funding
  • ability to effectively develop and implement strategies to achieve desired outcomes
  • ability to communicate vision and strategy effectively in speech and writing to a range of colleaguesinternally and externally
  • excellent organisational skills, ability to work under pressure and deliver complex programmes ofactivities to time, quality and cost
  • ability to motivate staff at all levels, including without direct line management responsibility;
  • initiative, judgement, decision making and change management skills
  • inclusive and collegial management style able to establish relationships across a wide spectrum ofStakeholders, including colleagues, students and external groups
  • proven capabilities as a team leader with the ability to inspire and motivate others
  • good negotiating skills, flexibility and open mindedness.

Expressions of interest and applications

As this is a senior academic leadership role, expressions of interest are invited for this secondment opportunity from academic staff at a Senior Level able to demonstrate the necessary evidence against the role person specification as outlined above.

To apply for the position, please enclose a short CV (no longer than 5 sides of A4) along with a two page covering letter addressing the person specification and outlining:

  • your objectives for the Doctoral academy and plans for achieving them
  • how your skills, expertise and experience would allow you to make a positive contribution to the role
  • how you would build effective working relationships across the University
  • the personal characteristics that make you suited to undertake the role.

Written applications should be submitted to Sue Midha, HR Director via Pat Leadley (, by 16:00 on Monday 9 October 2017. In support of the appointment process, candidates will be expected to make a short presentation to a small group in the morning of Monday 16 October 2017, followed by the formal interview in the afternoon.

Date advert posted: Monday 18 September 2017.