Senior Business Development Manager

Durham University

Senior Business Development Manager (
Job Number:
Research and Innovation Services
Grade 8:  £45,585 – £54,395 per annum
Open-Ended/Permanent  Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 17-Aug-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 

The University

At Durham University we are proud of our people.  A globally outstanding centre of educational excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other. We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things professionally and personally.  
Across the University we have a huge variety of roles and career opportunities, which together make us a large and successful community, which is a key hub of activity within our region and nationally.  We would be thrilled if you would consider joining our thriving University. Further information about the University can be found here

The Role and Department

Research and Innovation Services (RIS) provide guidance, expert input and advice and hands-on support for all aspects of research, commercialisation and knowledge exchange related work.

Part of the Business Development Team, The Senior Business Development Manager (SBDM) reports to the Head of Business Development and Impact. Senior Business Development Managers are responsible for income generation against organisations KPIs whilst acting as the conduit between industry and academia, you will be responsible for the development and implementation of a new model to advance, align and grow consultancy, CPD, Analytical services and use of facilities at Durham University


To work closely with academics to deliver  business development in support of the University Strategy  . The role requires excellent knowledge of working in or with the higher education sector with the ability to connect across academia, industry, and public sector to develop activity of clear benefit to the university and its partners. You will work closely with department leadership and the academic base to developing high value partnerships with external organisations, generate income through bids and tenders, facilitate knowledge exchange and raise the profile of the University. The SBDM will be instrumental in developing a growing portfolio of enterprise activity and bringing our enterprise strategy to life.

Core responsibilities and activities focus on:

  • Driving external partnerships, creating the deep relationships needed to win work and influence to deliver enterprise objectives.
  • Working closely with academics to develop concepts, respond to funding opportunities. Ensuring incoming work is delivered well.
  • Advising academics on all aspects of partnership and funding requirements.
  • Leading the timely preparation of major projects/proposals and co-ordinating activities with senior Department members to build and lead specialist multi-disciplinary project teams, contributing own expertise in relevant areas.
  • Managing the interface with external clients and University academics, account managing key partners. Ensuring that the university’s intellectual property is appropriately protected.
  • Embedding sector-wide good practices within the team that increase the quality and volume of funded work

To be successful in this role you will be/have:

  • The ability to deliver against agreed KPIs and Targets 
  • A highly entrepreneurial individual, with the ability to develop effective relationships with academics and academic departments to proactively identify sources of funding to support research activity within the University.
  • Business acumen and be able to use sound commercial judgement in negotiations on behalf of the University with funders and partners.
  • Experience of business development gained in a goal-focused, target-driven and customer-service-orientated environment.
  • A successful track record of securing income, increasing revenue from existing clients and establishing new partnerships.
  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of the HE sector, experience of the interface between higher education and industry, along with knowledge of the UK and international research funding landscape.
  • Experience in co-ordinating a range of both internal and external facing workshops, conferences and business development activities.
  • A demonstrable track record of horizon scanning and identifying prospective business leads and turning these into sales projects, including helping to develop funding applications.

Further information about the role and the responsibilities is at the bottom of this job description.

Working at Durham 

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University: you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits: 

  • 30 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 42 days per year. 
  • The University closes between Christmas and New Year 
  • We offer a generous pension scheme, As a new member of staff you will be automatically enrolled into this University Superannuation Scheme (USS). 
  • No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.
  • There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities. 
  • Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state of the art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.
  • On site nursery is available and access to holiday camps for children aged 5-16 throughout the year.
  • Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).
  • The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community.
  • Discounts are available via our benefits portal including; money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions. 
  • A salary sacrifice scheme is also available to help you take advantage of tax savings on benefits. 
  • If you are moving to Durham, we can help with removal costs and we have a dedicated team who can help you with the practicalities such as house hunting and schools.  If you need a visa, we cover most visa costs and offer an interest free loan scheme to pay for dependant visas.


Durham University is committed to equality,  diversity and inclusion 

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values and our Staff Code of Conduct.  At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive. It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role. 

What you need to demonstrate when you apply/Person Specification  
When you apply it is important that you let us know what skills/experience you have from a similar role and/or what skills/experience you have which would make you right for this role.  Further information about the role and responsibilities is at the end of this job description.  Where a criteria has an asterisk* next to it, it may be given additional weighting when your application is considered.    
Your application should cover the following criteria:

Essential Criteria


1.    Educated to degree level (or equivalent experience).

2.    Professional practitioner with specialist knowledge and expertise to influence service delivery, events and activities within the organisation.

3.    Experience of providing specialist advice and guidance to a range of customers and colleagues, including more senior colleagues.

4.    Evidence of successful delivery of projects from conception to completion.

5.    Experience of participating in internal or external networks to share and discuss good practice, develop strong and productive working relationships and positively influence the University’s reputation.

6.    Experience of implementing policies and procedures and supporting service improvements.

 7.   Direct experience of research and knowledge exchange activities within the Higher Education sector.

8.    Significant experience of the delivery of research and innovation activities and income generation including a demonstrable track record for working with external organisations and partners.

9.    Ability to work with a high degree of autonomy and self motivation.

10.  Experience of developing and managing high quality knowledge exchange projects at scale and with longer terms and sustainability.

11.  Ability to design and develop plans at operational levels and to contribute to strategic developments and planning with academic colleagues and as a team.

12.  Experience of working with multidisciplinary teams, ability and commitment to network effectively and develop strong and productive working relationships, to influence perceptions within and outside the University.

13.  Demonstrable ability to provide specialist support and influence others at operational and technical levels in area of specialisation.

14.  Track record of excellent business development experience in Universities and/or related or complementary sector or role.


15.  Excellent spoken and written communication skills including the ability to develop effective working relationships, both internally and externally.

16.  Strong digital competence across a range digital devices and apps including digital communication tools, Microsoft 365 applications, business systems.

17.  Committed to continuing professional development to maintain professional recognition.

18.  Extensive knowledge and experience of ensuring compliance with regulatory and organisational policy and guidelines.

19.  Ability to contribute to planning at operational and strategic levels.

20.  Ability to solve problems and decide on and plan appropriate solutions. 

Desirable Criteria

1.    An excellent understanding of the wider income generation opportunities for Universities including Regional, National, European and International opportunities.

2.    Industry Business Development experience.

3.    An MBA.

4.    STEM related PhD.

How to apply
To progress to the assessment stage, candidates must evidence each of the essential criteria required for the role in the person specification above. It will be at the discretion of the recruiting panel as to whether they will also consider any desirable criteria, but we would urge candidates to provide evidence for all criteria.  Please don’t forget to check if there is any weighted criteria (see above).

While some criteria will be considered at the shortlisting stage, other criteria may be considered later in the assessment process, such as questions at interview.   
Submitting your application 

We prefer to receive applications online.   We will update you about your application at various points throughout the selection process, via automated emails from our e-recruitment system. Please check your spam/junk folder periodically to make sure you have not missed any of our updates.
What you need to submit   

•    A CV: and   
•    A supporting statement which outlines how you meet all of the criteria within the Person Specification.    

Contact details   
For a chat about the role or any further information please contact Dr Omar Al-Janabi, Head of Business Development, Impact and Policy ([email protected] ).

Typical Role Requirements

Service Delivery/Development

  • Show a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and the University’s values.
  • Develop and promote an in-depth understanding of university policy and external developments relevant to your role.
  • Ensure that policy and regulatory standards are met by activities, processes and transactions that are carried out in services you are responsible for.
  • Use your professional knowledge and experience as an area or discipline practitioner to resolve problems, shape processes and activities, develop systems and provide subject matter expertise and advice.
  • Provide specialist advice on the analysis and interpretation of complex data and information relevant to your area.
  • Responsible for operational activity across different areas.
  • Look for ways to continually improve services and take a lead role in the development and implementation of assigned policies, processes and standards.
  •  Instigate and manage business process reviews to improve the service in your area.
  • Meet the professional development needs of your stakeholders, providing training when required.
  • Ensure data (commercially sensitive and/or personal) is appropriately stored and managed.
  • Manage quality and regulatory audits of systems and procedures.
  • Support the welfare, wellbeing and employment of your staff by providing professional guidance.

Planning and Organisation

  • Contribute to operational leadership teams to influence the type and level of services that are provided by your area
  • Contribute to the development of operational and strategic level plans relevant to your area.
  • Scope, plan and implement large scale/University wide initiatives
  • Oversee projects to deliver agreed objectives while solving any problems which are encountered.
  • Provide oversight for short term/temporary project teams.
  • Analyse data about the service levels provided by your area and make recommendations for improvement in reports to senior managers and committees.
  • Allocate and monitor designated budgets, expenditure and resources


  • Use your professional knowledge to identify and recommend priorities for long-term business plans.
  • Provide professional guidance and advice when managing complaints, referrals and specialist services.
  • Design creative and innovative communications to promote and increase engagement relating to RIS.
  • Influence University policy and standards by leading operational business meetings, working groups and sub-committees.
  • Design and deliver training to your stakeholders to support their development and information needs.
  • Create strong working relationships, including internal and external networks, using your networks to increase your knowledge and skills, swap information with peers and positively influence the University’s reputation.
  • Represent RIS and University at promotional events.
  • Identify opportunities to develop and increase participation in special interest groups.
  • Any other reasonable duties.


Useful links

If you would like further information you may find the following will help:

Please note that in submitting your application Durham University will be processing your data. We would ask you to consider the relevant University Privacy Statement Privacy Notices – Durham University which provides information on the collation, storing and use of data.  

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds which are applicable to some visas.

View or Apply
To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.