Location: Dublin City University
Level: Research Development

Salary: Administrator II
Duration: Fixed Term contract up to 31st December 2023
Full application details


The ADAPT Centre, a world leading SFI Centre, is Ireland’s global centre of excellence for digital content technology funded through Science Foundation Ireland’s Centres programme. ADAPT combines the expertise of over 300 researchers across eight Higher-Education Institutes (Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, Technological University Dublin, Cork institute of Technology, Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University and National University of Ireland, Galway) with that of its industry partners to produce ground-breaking digital content innovations. The ADAPT Centre executive function is co-hosted between Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University. ADAPT brings together more than 300 researchers who collectively have won more than €100m in funding and have a strong track record of transferring world-leading research and innovations to more than 140 companies. ADAPT partners are successfully advancing the frontiers of Artificial Intelligence (AI), content analysis, machine translation, personalisation, e-learning/education, media technologies, virtual and augmented reality, and spoken interaction, as well as driving global standards in content technologies.

Role Profile

Based on substantial growth in the scale of the centre and its activities, ADAPT is seeking to appoint a Head of Research Development who will help drive the mission, vision, culture and strategic objectives of ADAPT and the implementation of the funding strategies developed. This Head of Research Development position will be expected to foster an environment of research excellence and impact, where discovery and innovation can flourish, and to enhance the brand and identity of ADAPT internationally as a world leading SFI Centre. Reporting to the Centre Director and being a central member of the Management team, the Head of Research Development will provide leadership to Research Development functions across research programme management, non- exchequer funding, and team administration. The Head of Research Development will have accountability for leading and managing the effectiveness of cross-institutional research development services with a particular focus for non-exchequer, non-commercial and philanthropic funding (with a 6-year funding target of €24 million) and related operations appropriate for ADAPT’s scale (over €100M Centre funding) and complexity (over 300 researchers across eight diverse higher-education institutions). SFI funding for a SFI Centre such as ADAPT is predicated on the achievement of the non-exchequer, non-commercial funding on an annual basis.

Key deliverables expected in the first twelve months will include:

  • In collaboration with the Director, develop strategies for enabling the long-term sustainability of the Centre and delivering ADAPT’s national and international mandate.
  • Working as necessary with internal and University management and administrative teams to ensure the efficient operation of ADAPT.
  • Expanding and diversifying the ADAPT research funding base through non-exchequer, non- commercial and philanthropic sources – with a target of €24 million, (€4 million per annum) in non-exchequer funding per year.
  • Managing the transition of ADAPT into ADAPT II.

The Head of Research Development has key responsibilities for ensuring the sustainability and growth of research collaboration through non-exchequer, non-commercial and philanthropic funding and managing risks regarding the attraction of research funding from multiple funding agencies over multiple years. This position is accountable for developing and delivering upon ADAPT’s diversified non-exchequer funding strategy. The post will be accountable for managing a multi-functional and distributed team. The successful candidate will be employed by Dublin City University and will be based primarily in the ADAPT Centre offices in DCU. The Head of Research Development position will be a key member of the ADAPT Centre Executive team and will report to the ADAPT Centre (Academic) CEO as well as the ADAPT Centre Deputy Director (at DCU) for institutional management. As ADAPT is a collaborative research centre, the position will involve leadership and responsibility for research development and funding diversity across all eight ADAPT universities and institutes (Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, Technological University Dublin, Cork institute of Technology, Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University and National University of Ireland, Galway). Further to this, and to the development of a diverse portfolio of non-exchequer funding, the successful candidate is expected to devote 10% of their time to international travel on behalf of ADAPT.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Responsible for driving, developing and executing a funding diversity strategy for ADAPT to achieve a minimum target of €24 million (€4 million per annum) of non-exchequer, non- commercial funding.
  • Steer a high performing team of research development professionals who are experts in their understanding of the breadth of funding programs across multiple institutes to deliver on ADAPTs funding diversity targets of €24 million working.
  • Work with the ADAPT (Academic) CEO to develop and enhance the strategic vision, maximise the impact of the Centre and ensure delivery of its stated objectives.
  • Drive cross-institute, cross-discipline and cross-theme partnership across the ADAPT Research Programme via non-exchequer, non-commercial funding by working closely with ADAPT Principal Investigators and Funded Investigators.
  • With the (Academic) CEO, develop ADAPT’s national mandate by continually expanding membership and enlarging the cohort of Principal Investigators, Funded Investigators and Academic Collaborators through appropriate funded research collaborations.
  • Develop and maintain strategic partnership with major stakeholders, including funding agencies, government bodies and senior management across the host institutions.
  • Increase ADAPT’s economic and societal impact by developing its funding strategy, expanding and diversifying the ADAPT research funding base through non-exchequer, non-commercial and philanthropic sources.
  • Direct responsibility for all non-commercial non-exchequer engagement, both new and existing, with the position being a key member of the ADAPT executive management team, working across all the ADAPT Centre partner institutions.
  • Support the (Academic) CEO in the identification and exploitation of new funding opportunities from organisations such as Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, The Irish Research Council, The European Commission, The Welcome Trust and other international bodies.
  • Devise and develop strategies for enabling the long-term sustainability of the Centre and delivering the ADAPT National and International mandate.
  • Drive the national digital technologies agenda and the role of ADAPT within this agenda with regard to EU research funding initiatives and the UN Sustainable Development Goals and initiatives.
  • Represent ADAPT nationally and internationally – advocating for the Centre and its PIs.
  • Guide the Research Development Team ensuring that they are effectively coordinated and effectively working with the relevant service functions provided through partner institutions, including functions related to Research Support, Finance offices, HR offices, and Communications offices etc.
  • Accountable for financial management of ADAPT Research Development Team including budgeting, planning and reporting across all non-exchequer, non-commercial funding streams.
  • Managing a team of research development professionals across eight institutions as well as overall strategic management of the over eighty ADAPT academics across the eight university partners developing EU-funded research proposals.
  • Develop research professional team by establishing a strong rapport, a deep sense of pride in its major contribution to ADAPT’s mission.
  • Utilise expert knowledge of existing and emerging national and international research funding landscapes to effectively translate, extract and implement new funding opportunities.
  • Provide leadership, on behalf of ADAPT, within the Irish research eco-system and look to influence emerging programs for the benefit of the Centre.


Qualifications and Experience

Essential Qualifications:

  • Candidates must have a Primary Degree or equivalent (NFQ Level 7) in an appropriate area plus a minimum of 10 years’ experience working with EU-funded research programmes across both commercial and academic settings.

In addition, the ideal candidate will possess:

  • A PhD in a relevant scientific discipline related to ADAPT’s research in Digital Content Technologies is highly desirable
  • At  least  5  years’  research  development  experience  in  a  Research   Centre   setting   is  an advantage
  • A proven track record of strategic planning and team leadership, ideally in an international research funding context.
  • a proven track record in managing research funding and acquisition in academic environments.
  • Deep and broad research knowledge around EU programmes initiatives and strategic planning from UN sustainable development goals and EU policy through to the broad landscape of EU Research funding programmes and frameworks.
  • A proven track record of managing a research centre team which achieves substantial non- exchequer, non-commercial funding (for example in excess of €10 million over the last 5 years) & in depth experience in managing a team of research development managers.
  • The ability to interface effectively with staff across ADAPT’s eight partner institutions.
  • Have familiarity with the existing and emerging Ireland research funding landscape to effectively translate, extract and implement new funding opportunities for ADAPT’s research community across eight institutions.
  • Focused strategic vision for the research and funding diversification activities of the centre. Must be able to work with the Centre Executive team in building a long-term vision for non- exchequer, non-commercial funding in ADAPT.
  • Proven innovation and creativity in achieving funding diversity with a broad range of academic research disciplines.
  • Proven experience in risk management regarding the attraction of research funding across multiple funding agencies over multiple years.
  • Proven experience of strategic relationship management, negotiation and management of research collaborations and institutional partnerships.
  • Proven track record of strategic financial management and funding acquisitions.
  • An understanding and appreciation of the IP issues arising in the context of academic research and in particular computer software.
  • A willingness to innovate and implement change.

Skills & Competencies

  • Excellent senior leadership skills and ability to engage individuals at senior levels including EU policy makers, university partners, and governmental officials such as Vice-President for Research and Innovation, President, Dean of Research, SFI Director of research centres, H2020/Horizon Europe National Contact Point Network, IUA, and other research funding organisations.
  • Exceptional communication and presentation skills– both verbal and written is required. Written skills are of the highest priority for this post as the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to and be aware of research proposal development across a variety of disciplines.
  • An extensive understanding of the processes associated with the development, implementation and delivery of research strategy would be very advantageous.
  • Ability to develop creative solutions to multi-faceted problems. Proven ability to design and implement strategies of engagement and deliver on targets is essential.
  • Strong analytical skills to assess non-commercial non-exchequer funding pipelines and drive future planning.
  • Proven ability to successfully manage a non-exchequer, non-commercial and philanthropic funding pipeline for a research centre such as ADAPT.
  • Ability to represent the Centre internationally in research forums, with trade delegations and with government agencies.
  • An ability to conceptualise solutions when faced with complex challenges.
  • Ability to instigate and execute appropriate actions, issue directives and monitor subsequent performance. Use dynamic and measured judgment where appropriate.
  • Should possess excellent computer skills, innovative ideas and solutions, flexibility and the ability to anticipate and provide solutions as they arise.
  • Excellent organiser, negotiator, with positive energy and accountability, strong customer focus, and high degree of resourcefulness.
  • Adaptive thinker with broad perspective.
  • Proven ability to prioritise workload and work to exacting deadlines.
  • Flexible and adaptable in answering to stakeholder needs.
  • Enthusiastic and structured approach to research and development.

Application Procedure Application forms are available from the DCU Internal Vacancies website at https://www.dcu.ie/hr/vacancies/current.shtml.

Applications must be submitted by e-mail to hr.applications@dcu.ie Please clearly state the role that you are applying for in your application and email subject line: Job Ref #RF1468 Head of Research Development