University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Deputy Director of the Improvement Research Institute (Principal Research Associate) - Fixed Term

The proposed Improvement Research Institute (IRI) seeks to appoint a Deputy Director.

The proposed IRI will, subject to confirmation of funding by the Health Foundation, have a remit to advance research into how to improve quality and safety of patient care. Through collaborative partnerships across the UK and internationally, the Institute's mission is to create an enabling infrastructure for the NHS to become the world's largest producer of systematic learning about how to improve healthcare and to establish improvement research as a leading academic field.

The Institute will host around 40 staff, including academics, business support staff and visiting research fellows. It will have strong links across University of Cambridge departments, with RAND Europe (a not-for-profit Cambridge-based research organization), and with Homerton College, Cambridge, as well as with multiple external partners.

The Deputy Director of IRI will be a key member of the IRI's Senior Management Team, reporting directly to the Director. The role-holder will support the Director in developing and implementing a world-class research institute, taking oversight and responsibility for specific research programmes and the infrastructure necessary for their sound, efficient and effective delivery. Providing strategic leadership across the portfolio of activities managed by the IRI, the Deputy Director will work across the University and with NHS organisations, patient and public involvement stakeholders, and charitable organisations.

The role-holder will be responsible initially for leading the set-up of the Institute during its transition phase April-December 2017, including development of its vision in collaboration with multiple external partners and providing strategic leadership for the development of the operational and technical infrastructure for delivery of high quality research programmes and external stakeholder engagement.

After the transition phase, a major area of responsibility will be that of ensuring that the research infrastructure of the Institute is fit for purpose, enabling the academic objectives of the Institute to be met. The role-holder should, using academic expertise and sound strategic skills, ensure that systems are in place for delivering on the funder's expectations for excellent, ground-breaking research in the area of healthcare improvement that uses participatory approaches and that grows capacity throughout the UK through a world-class fellowship programme. Using academic skills and excellent leadership, s/he will also establish a robust governance structure and oversee a small business operations team.

The IRI will be strongly networked through its partners - university, charitable, NHS and patient-led throughout the UK and more globally. Part of the work of the Institute and one of the roles of the Deputy Director is to develop and grow an international network of collaborators to help shape the vision and produce learning about how to deliver improvements in healthcare.

After its initial 10-year period of funding (subject to confirmation), the IRI must attract other external research funds and philanthropic support, becoming self-sustaining by 2027. The role-holder will lead on developing the sustainability plan for the IRI, thus taking responsibility for working with potential donors and developing on innovative ideas for investment in cutting-edge research ventures.

The full requirements for this role are given in the Further Information.

The successful individual will receive an administration responsibility allowance.

The funds for this post are (subject to confirmation) available until 30 April 2022 in the first instance.

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply' button below. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please ensure that you upload a covering letter, CV and list of publications in the Upload section of the online application. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Professor Mary Dixon-Woods by email at

The closing date for applications is Friday 31 March 2017. The interview date is Wednesday 5 April 2017.

Please quote reference RH11723 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online