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Head of Strategic Programmes

CB21, Cambridge (On-site)
Cira £64,000 per year
Job description

Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) is the UK’s leading dementia research charity dedicated to diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and cure. Backed by our passionate scientists and supporters, we’re challenging the way people think about dementia, bringing together the people and organisations who can speed up progress, and investing in research to make life-changing breakthroughs possible.


By working at ARUK, you will be part of an organisation that has been recognised nationally as an outstanding place to work.


ARUK has established a number of high profile and strategic programmes of work over the years to help us advance our work towards a cure.  The Head of Strategic Programmes plays a pivotal role in managing and shaping the work of these initiatives and ensuring that they have opportunities to partner and grow.


This is a key role in supporting our translational and drug discovery work to help us achieve impact for people affected by dementia.  The post-holder will have extensive experience in managing complex research programmes, engaging and influencing high-level stakeholders as well as bringing expertise in research to deliver the strategic vision of the programmes.


The post holder will work closely across the research team to scope and develop new programmes of work and will work across the organisation with colleagues in Policy and Communications, Fundraising, Finance and Governance to ensure the successful delivery of workplans.


Main duties and responsibilities of the role:


Oversee the management and evaluation of ARUK’s current strategic partnerships


  • Oversee the monitoring, evaluation and management of ARUK’s strategic programmes including the Drug Discovery Alliance (DDA) and Brains for Dementia Research (BDR) and the Dementia Consortium, ensuring that the committees that oversee them have the appropriate make up, expertise and information to make recommendations to the charity.
  • Work with DDA leadership to identify and pursue opportunities for closer working within the DDA and with strategic programmes that sit outside of the DDA to create further impact.
  • Work with internal teams across ARUK to demonstrate and communicate the impact of ARUK’s strategic initiatives such as the DDA, Brains for Dementia Research, the DRI and the DDF to external stakeholders.
  • With support from other Heads in the team and the Director and Executive Director of Research, lead on development and implementation of ARUK’s approach to strategic initiatives such as the DDA and BDR, ensuring that the relevant stakeholders are consulted in the development and recommendation of new approaches to the Board of Trustees.
  • Ensure finances of ARUK’s strategic initiatives are appropriately managed with contracts being developed and agreed in a timely manner and new agreements related to partnerships or intellectual property are appropriately managed.
  • Support the Director of Research in developing restricted research programmes in partnerships with the UK DRI and supporting the evaluation of quality and impact of the DRI programme in partnership with UK DRI funders.
  • Work across the Research Team to ensure appropriate involvement of people with lived experience of dementia in strategic initiatives.


Lead on the scoping and development of new translational programmes


  • Lead on the development of new translational strategic initiatives and funding models that may require significant ARUK investment, working closely with the Executive Director of Research and Partnerships, Director of Research, Heads of Team and Research team staff.
  • Lead on scoping and relationship development with potential partners for new strategic initiatives, seeking appropriate input from internal and external stakeholders including but not limited to the ARUK Scientific Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees.


Stakeholder management and insight


  • Develop and maintain productive working relationships with relevant aspects of the dementia research community through active participation at relevant meetings and events.
  • Remain up to date on the latest trends in dementia research through regular review of the literature, feeding back insights to relevant members of the research team and wider ARUK staff teams.
  • Lead on relationship management with key research funders and potential partners for ARUK.


Commercialisation of research


  • Work with other Heads of Research to monitor and identify programmes of work with high potential for commercialisation.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of a commercialisation strategy for ARUK in collaboration with the Research Contracts Manager and seeking input from internal and external stakeholders as appropriate.
  • Work across the team to ensure that ARUK grant holders understand requirements for commercialisation of research so that ARUK can identify projects with high potential early.


Line Management and Team leadership


  • Work with the Research Leadership Team to develop and implement appropriate business plans and objectives that are in line with ARUK’s research strategy.
  • Support the wider research team through active participation in research team meetings as well as programmes that are cross-cutting such as the Research Conference, support for the Early Careers programme, our work on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as well as other relevant cross cutting work.
  • Overall responsibility for supporting and line managing direct reports within the team, setting appropriate objectives, providing insight and feedback regularly and supporting learning and development.



What we are looking for:


  • Knowledge of dementia research and the funding landscape.
  • Ability to think strategically, coming up with new solutions to complex problems.
  • Experience of developing new strategic approaches with an understanding of the key elements that make a good strategy.
  • Experience of building successful partnerships with medical research organisations, including industry.
  • Ability to lead and manage people to achieve high quality results.
  • Exceptional stakeholder management skills with a proven ability to influence a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Demonstrable commitment to collaborative working.
  • Demonstrable commitment to inclusive working, placing value on equity and diversity.          
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with the ability to communicate to a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Experience of monitoring and completing projects involving multiple parties, demonstrating ability to set timescales and deadlines.
  • Excellent time management skills and ability to prioritise competing demands.
  • Commitment to ARUK’s vision, mission and values
  • Highly self-motivated with the ability to work across different teams and departments.
  • Solution-focussed with the ability to problem solve creatively
  • Able to work independently.
  • Collaborative approach with ability to build strong relationships with a range of stakeholders.
  • Good communicator with the ability to tailor communications to a range of audiences.


Additional Information:

Ways of working: As part of our Agile ways of working you will be required to work approximately 2 days a week from the office, which is subject to the requirements of the role and the business needs. Flexibility on where you work can be split between working from home and our office.

Roles that are classed as part of the Agile ways of working are not able to claim any costs for Mileage/Travel on Public Transport, Accommodation and/or Meals.  This includes when attending the office for various meetings/events.

Our Office: Our office is at 3 Riverside, Granta Park, Great Abingdon, Cambridge, CB21 6AD. 

Salary: Circa £64,000 per annum, plus benefits.

Please download the Vacancy Pack for more information.

The closing date for applications is the 26th November 2023, with interviews likely to be held week commencing the 4th December 2023. We would encourage you to submit your application at the earliest opportunity as the closing date may be brought forward at any time. Please indicate in your covering letter if you are unable to attend an interview on a certain date.

We value diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive culture where everyone is able to be themselves and reach their full potential. We actively encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and cultures.  Should you need any adjustments to the recruitment process, at either the application or interview stage, please contact us via the channels on our website. 

How to apply:

Please create an online account using our Online Recruitment System which can be accessed through our Job Vacancies page. You will be able to attach your CV and covering letter to your application and track the status of your application.

About Alzheimer’s Research UK:

Alzheimer's Research UK is the UK's leading dementia research charity. Our mission is to accelerate progress towards a cure.  Today 1 in 2 people will be impacted by dementia, either through caring for a loved one, developing it themselves or tragically both. But there is hope. 

There has never been a more important and exciting time in dementia research. With promising new drugs in clinical trials that slow the progression of the diseases that cause it, and revolutionary new ways to diagnose them on the horizon, we are now at a tipping point. Working with the smartest minds globally and across the UK, with industry and academia, Alzheimer’s Research UK is uniquely placed to invest in the very best research identifying barriers to a cure and knocking them down so that there are more and better treatments for everyone with dementia. For the first time in history, we can see a future where people with dementia can get a swift and accurate diagnosis, and effective treatments that could slow or even stop their disease. We stand for everyone affected by dementia. We stand for a cure. 

In 2022, we were incredibly proud to be awarded a 3-star accreditation by Best Companies which recognises ‘World Class’ levels of workplace engagement and were also listed in the prestigious Best Companies lists:

• 48th in the 100 Best Large Companies to Work For in the UK.

• 19th in the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the East of England.

• 3rd in the 50 Best Companies to Work For in the Charity Sector.

In addition, we were also shortlisted for a special award recognising the work undertaken on reducing our environmental impact.

In 2021, we were awarded the HR Management award by The Charity Times for our Wellbeing initiatives throughout the pandemic.

In 2020, we demonstrated our commitment to changing the way we think and act about mental health in the workplace and signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge. 

ARUK really does look after its people, where you will be able to add value and make a difference. 

To view further details about working for us and the benefits we offer, please visit Alzheimer’s Research UK

More about Alzheimer's Research UK


Almost one million people are living with dementia today. Tragically, not one of them will survive.


Read more

Posted on: 09 November 2023
Closed date: 26 November 2023 at 23:59
Job ref: HSP/23
Tags: Policy/Research

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