Blood Cancer UK • London (flexible)

Deputy Director of Research

Employment type:  Full time
Salary:  £80,000 / year

Remote-first – With Office Locations

Fully flexible hours

Job Description

We’re looking for an exceptional leader with the vision, drive and ability to lead our research team and deliver our ambitious plans for research. You’ll have substantial experience in designing and delivering research funding strategies gained across the charity or public sector.
You’ll join at an exciting time as our new organisational strategy gets underway and as we seek to double our investment in research funding.
This role will direct our research funding and shape our research portfolio. You will develop excellent relationships with blood cancer researchers and the wider cancer and healthcare sector, to bring us a step closer to realising our vision of beating blood cancer in a generation. The closing date for this exciting opportunity is: 12 noon on Friday 8 December

First stage interviews will be held online on Friday 15 December.

Second stage interviews will be held in-person at our London office on Wednesday 20 December

Key Responsibilities

MAIN RESPONSIBILITIESDevelop and oversee the management of a diverse portfolio of blood cancer research, that will deliver impact for people affected by blood cancer and realise our mission to beat blood cancer:

  • Oversee the development and implementation of our research strategy, which currently stands at a portfolio of 85 live grants and a budget of at least £7.5M a year
  • Line manage and support a team of Research Funding professionals, acting as an effective, approachable and authentic leader.
  • Ownership and responsibility for the research funding and associated research operations budget
  • Oversee the management of our grant funding committees and maintain high standards of peer review, ensuring our grant funding processes are best in class, meeting AMRC requirements
  • Support the work of the research governance committee to maintain high standards of research governance and decision-making
  • Oversee our approach to involving people affected by blood cancer in the grant funding process, to ensure that our priorities and decision-making reflect their needs
  • Oversee the implementation of our impact framework and support a culture of continual portfolio monitoring and evaluation, across our grant funding schemes which enables us to track and understand the benefits of our research investment
  • Deliver the Research Workstream of our wider organisational strategy and input research expertise into the other workstreams, focusing on our Major Appeal and Income Generation workstreams.

Develop and deliver innovative and impactful new approaches to accelerate progress in blood cancer research:

  • Take overall responsibility for the direction of growth of research funding, aiming to get to £14M a year by the end of our 2028
  • Identify potential opportunities that will accelerate our progress towards our goal to beat blood cancer and deliver benefits for people affected by blood cancer
  • Implement novel approaches to funding that meet patient needs and address research gaps, whilst continuing to support scientific excellence and world class research
  • Identify and deliver plans that actively work to reduce inequalities in blood cancer research
  • Support the development of a more diverse blood cancer researcher base – particularly at the early career stage.
  • Work closely with our fundraising teams, particularly philanthropy and Trust teams, to develop compelling narratives for donors to increase income generation for research.

Bring researchers, clinicians, people affected by blood cancer and other funders together to develop new partnerships and collaboratives:

  • Drive our programme of engagement with our funded researchers, particularly thinking of ways to support and provide value to early career researchers
  • Convene networks around specific issues or opportunities to identify where Blood Cancer UK can make a difference, either through funding or influencing
  • Develop meaningful partnerships with other charities, funders and others, to deliver impact for people affected by blood cancer, building strong relationships underpinned by robust delivery
  • Engage with national and international partners and funders to galvanise support for potential funding opportunities
  • Create positive and engaged relationships with blood cancer researchers, developing a detailed understanding of their priorities and possible opportunities

Act as our leading research voice, both internally and externally:

  • Be an expert in the key themes and developments in blood cancer research, both nationally and internationally
  • Provide scientific expertise to the wider organisation, on issues related to blood cancer research and more broadly
  • Own our research communications strategy and support our research communications manager to develop an ambitious and measurable plan to increase our external engagement around blood cancer research
  • Raise external knowledge of Blood Cancer UK by attending external events (conferences/networking etc), and bring external insight into our activities.
  • Act as a senior representative for Blood Cancer UK, particularly with a scientific audience and in the media

General Responsibilities at Deputy Director level:

  • Champion your own area and take responsibility for cross-organisational strategy as part of the leadership team and operations board
  • Develop annual plans the work of your own team and ensure there is input into wider strategic planning for activities within the Directorate and across the organisation
  • Facilitate knowledge sharing across the organisation by linking up teams/individuals across directorates on projects
  • Lead and champion continuous improvement within your team and provide advice to others on process improvements
  • Promote well-being in your area and across the organisation
  • Champion equality, diversity and inclusion, within the research team, the wider organisation and the broader blood cancer research community
  • Role model agile working
  • Coach individuals and teams to becoming high-performing and champion CPD within your own team
  • Display our values in all aspects of your work
  • Understands and promote digital within your teams


  • Promote Blood Cancer UK’s vision, mission and core values
  • We’re all fundraisers. This is slightly different for all roles, and your team will have fundraising KPIs and objectives we all work to
  • Attend and assist at Blood Cancer UK events and activities as required (NB this involves evening and weekend work)
  • Be an effective ambassador for Blood Cancer UK at any activity you attend
  • All staff are expected to adhere to Blood Cancer UK’s policies and procedures
  • Do any other reasonable things your manager needs you to do

Skills, Knowledge and Expertise

  • Substantial experience of leading a grant management and grant funding process in a medical research organisation, working with grant funding committees and panels to deliver best practice in research funding operations.
  • A PhD with a focus on a bio-medical science or an equivalent level of experience gained through research or clinical practice. Knowledge of blood cancer is not essential, but we are looking for someone willing to immerse themselves in blood cancer research.
  • A strategic thinker, with a comprehensive understanding of the scientific environment and research funding landscape, constantly horizon-scanning and able to identify new themes and opportunities for research investment
  • Experience of developing and implementing research strategies or similar organisational strategies, including developing innovative and impactful funding schemes
  • Experience of building relationships internally across an organisation and working collaboratively to deliver projects
  • Experience of building partnerships externally, particularly funding partnerships with charities and public sector funders, and corporate partnerships
  • Experience of working with researchers, clinicians and the wider scientific sector, promoting research and developing impactful relationships
  • Experience of involving patients and people affected by a condition in research, and driving a culture of putting beneficiaries at the heart of decision-making
  • A fundraising and income generation mindset, with the experience and ability of working with fundraising teams to develop compelling propositions for donors and corporate partners to support research funding
  • Experience of building highly motivated teams, establishing a culture of quality performance and continuous improvement
  • Strong communication skills, and demonstrable experience of being able to adapt to a range of audiences and desire to develop, e.g. media
  • Evidence of leading change, including being comfortable with uncertainty and able to work at pace to a clear outcome

Company benefits

Open to part-time employees
Open to job sharing
Open to compressed hours
Enhanced maternity leave – Our maternity/shared parental/adoption offer is 12 weeks at full pay, 12 weeks at half pay, followed by 15 weeks at the statutory rate.
Enhanced paternity leave – Our paternity leave offer is 6 weeks at full pay.
Adoption leave
Shared parental leave
Work from anywhere scheme – For the vast majority of our roles, there is no requirement to work from one of our offices. We meet up as an organisation at 2-4 in-person events each year, such as all-staff away days.
30 days annual leave + bank holidays
Enhanced sick pay – Our enhanced sick pay offer is: Up to two years’ service: 4 weeks full pay and 4 weeks half pay After two years’ service: 12 weeks full pay and 12 weeks half pay
Pregnancy loss leave
Fertility treatment leave
Teambuilding days
Employees are very happy with their working location freedom
Employees are very happy with the flexibility in the hours they work
Employees are very happy with the benefits their company offers
Work-life balance
Employees feel that they can switch off quite easily from work
Role modelling
Employees feel that flexible working is part of the culture
Employees feel they have complete autonomy over getting their work done

Working at Blood Cancer UK

Company employees


Gender diversity (male:female:non-binary)


Office locations

London and Edinburgh

Hiring Countries

United Kingdom

Awards & Achievements

Most flexible companies

Most flexible companies

Flexa100 2024
3rd – Charity & Tech For Good

3rd – Charity & Tech For Good

Industry awards 2023
Most flexible companies

Most flexible companies

Flexa100 2023
1st – Charity & Tech For Good

1st – Charity & Tech For Good

Industry awards 2022