Vice Principal Research
Full Job Description



RESPONSIBLE TO: Principal and Vice Chancellor




  • Head of Research Strategy and Policy

  • Head of Graduate School

  • Director National Subsea Centre

  • Professorial Lead (Data Analytics)

  • Heads of School as determined by the Principal




  • Delivering the University’s research strategy

  • Growing the University’s globally recognised impactful research.  

  • Growing the size and quality of the research-active staff base in accordance with RGU’s research strategy.

  • Leading, developing and supporting a ‘culture of research’ across the university.

  • Improving the quality and volume of successful research grant and contract applications and awards.

  • Improving the quality and volume of public outputs (4* and 3* quality rated). 

  • Setting research performance expectations for research grant applications, research income, and high-quality public outputs for RGU’s Research Professors.




  • Providing leadership for research-related activities, and a diverse portfolio of services and operational activities, ensuring appropriate strategy and policy development and high-quality delivery.

  • Leading, developing and managing direct reports, and any other areas as determined by the Principal, ensuring effective performance and development

  • Managing the Head of the Research Policy and Strategy Office and working with them to ensure support for researchers is of the highest quality, funding opportunities are identified and targeted to appropriate researchers and research applications are submitted on time and appropriately approved on Worktribe.

  • Managing the Head of the Graduate School and working with them to deliver a high-quality postgraduate research experience.

  • Managing the Director of the National Subsea Centre (NSC) and working with him to ensure the growth and sustainability of industry demand-led research on subsea technology and energy transition

  • Leading and supporting the development of RGU:Orkney and its engagement in the Islands Deal.

  • Advising the Executive of the appropriate distribution of research funding including the allocation of the Research Excellence Grant, the Research Postgraduate Grant, the University Innovation Fund, the Global Challenges Research Fund (and additional research funding released by SFC), UKRI block grant for open access.

  • Preparing the Code of Practice, managing selection decisions and submission for the Research Excellence Framework.

  • Recognising and rewarding outstanding research performance.

  • Contributing to Outcome Agreement negotiations with SFC.

  • Overseeing institutional compliance with relevant national research policies and where appropriate legal 

  • Deputising for the Principal when deemed appropriate by him/her

  • Keeping abreast of national and international higher education developments, and advising the Principal accordingly

  • Chairing and contributing to a wide range of University committees ensuring relevant expertise and experience is shared to improve decision making and outcomes.

  • Developing and maintaining a strong personal profile internally and externally resulting in identifiable benefits to RGU.

  • Carrying out such other tasks as the Principal may from time to time determine.



  • Ability to lead and contribute across institutional strategy and policy matters, including but not necessarily restricted to, the research portfolio as part of a wider executive role

  • Relevant professional qualifications and a research track record that demonstrates personal standing and credibility, including a PhD ideally in discipline(s) relevant to the RGU strategy

  • Significant experience of research, teaching and learning and university administration, with a deep understanding of how the research agenda can influence teaching

  • Significant experience of effectively leading, performance managing, motivating and developing diverse teams 

  • A track record of success in leading substantial, high quality/impact research, commercial and innovation activity including income generation, building teams and nurturing talent

  • Ability to demonstrate significant success in shaping, developing and embedding a high-performance research culture.

  • Extensive personal knowledge of how high quality/high impact research development and funding is built and sustained within the UK and international context, having regard to the Scottish perspective.

  • In-depth personal knowledge and understanding of how high impact research works and what makes for translational research success.

  • Knowledge of how collaborative and partnership research opportunities are identified, built, established and sustained.

  • Experience of building effective high quality/impact internal and external relationships, particularly across HE and business/public sector stakeholders, that bring tangible results with positive outcomes.

  • Deep knowledge and understanding of emerging national and international issues, thinking and trends in HE, focused on, but not restricted to research and innovation.

  • Ability to demonstrate the RGU Values of: Authenticity, Approachability, Ambition, Collaboration, Innovation and Respect


All members of the University Management Group are expected to demonstrate the RGU Leadership competencies.


  • Strategic awareness
    Develops and communicates the strategy; aligns people and resources with the strategy.

  • Leading change
    Embraces, champions and implements change.

  • Self-management
    Is emotionally intelligent, continually develops and is resilient.

  • Relationship builder
    Develops relationships, communicates effectively and is inclusive.

  • Performance management
    Sets standards, builds capability and manages performance.

  • Delivers results
    Drives for excellence, identifies outcomes and targets and manages resources to deliver.