Director, Research Commercial Management

Job Description


Director, Research Commercial Management

  • Research Partnerships office
  • Fixed-term position for up to 5 years
  • Closing date 28 November 2021
  • UQ Job Reference R-00280

Research and Innovation at UQ

UQ maintains a world class, comprehensive program of research, innovation, and research training. The University strives for international standards of excellence across the spectrum of research, from fundamental, curiosity driven work that builds the stock of knowledge and leads to new research questions to applied research and innovation with direct implications for industry, government, and communities. The Research and Innovation Portfolio supports the University's research community through strategic engagement with external stakeholders, funding organisations and research partners, international collaborations, grants management, research strategy, planning and performance, research infrastructure, higher degree research training and research ethics and integrity.

As a result of a recent review of the partnership function, a new role of Director, Research Commercial Management has been created. Reporting to the Executive Director, Research Partnerships, this important leadership position will have the opportunity to create a step change in UQ's research partnership function to achieve the University's research partnership goals.

Research Partnerships Office

The Research Partnerships function is transitioning, using a phased approach, to have three functional capabilities to support UQ's research and innovation aspirations and outcomes:

  • An expertise hub focused on strategy, capability development and enabling systems that includes custodianship of the new research partnership strategy, governance frameworks, capability development, function processes and toolkit. Responsible for customer relationship management (CRM) and reporting on partners engagement performance.
  • Research Commercial Management, including leading commercial and contract management of complex bids and deals developed as major initiatives, and providing quality assurance and support for local partnerships units on complex commercial arrangements.
  • Business Development and Major Initiatives, including leading the development and management of key strategic research partners and alliances, working closely with Faculties and Institutes and industries aligned to sectoral focused areas for translation. Deep understanding of the translation pathways of partners and the university's research partnerships and translation processes. Provision of support to the development of cross-university major initiatives.

Further information is available at:

About This Opportunity

The Director, Research Commercial Management is responsible for the stewardship of research commercial management (including contract and risk management) for the research partnerships function at UQ. Reporting to the Executive Director, Research Partnerships, the Director works closely with a network of Faculty- and Institute-based research commercial management staff to maximise the performance of the research partnerships functional team.

The Director will provide strategic and operational support for research commercial arrangements related to contract research and consultancy activities, opportunities to leverage industry and government funding schemes, and internal liaison with the UQ research community. The Director will work with external partners in industry, government, the research sector and the community, and ensure that UQ is operationally well positioned to adapt to changes in the policy environment which affect research partnerships.

In addition, the Director will provide best practice support on complex agreements to local research partnerships units, provide timely advice to senior executives across UQ, and represent UQ on high level internal and external committees. The Director is also the administrative lead for managing key aspects of research partnerships such as approvals of research contracts and liaising with counterparts in other organisations.

Key responsibilities will include:

Research Commercial and Contract Management

  • Lead the development and brokering of research partnerships agreements (including contract research and consultancy projects), particularly for bids and proposals developed by the business development and major initiatives staff within the office.
  • Lead the provision of best practice on complex research commercial arrangements to Faculty- and Institute-based staff.
  • Proactively work with UQ's senior executives to optimally position UQ for major research partnerships initiatives and alliances with key industry, government, business and academia stakeholders.
  • Be accountable for the management of UQ's exposure to research partnerships-related risk (including financial, contractual, environmental, intellectual property, strategic, operational and reputational), compliance with statutes and regulations, financial and project management, and determine the acceptability of legal agreements in accordance with the University's policies and procedures.
  • Provide trusted and timely advice to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) and the Executive Director, Research Partnerships, on matters related to excessive risk exposure terms in contract research and consultancy agreements.
  • Proactively engage with UniQuest and co-lead contract discussions on all matters related to the commercialisation of UQ's intellectual property for complex projects, and bids and proposals developed by the business development and major initiatives staff within the office.
  • Be accountable for the delivery of research commercial management activities across the University, including monitoring and reviewing UQ's performance and identifying opportunities for improvement.
  • Develop, encourage, and implement effective collaborative working partnerships across UQ's Faculties, Institutes, central portfolios and UniQuest to deliver seamless end-to-end research and innovation support to UQ.

Strategy, Planning and Policy Development

  • Support the Executive Director, Research Partnerships, in the development and implementation of the Research Partnerships and Translation strategy and other UQ policies related to research partnerships.
  • Work collaboratively with the Research Office, Global Engagement and Advancement to provide operational support for the implementation of industry, government and international contract research funding schemes, and philanthropic donations.
  • Oversee the development and implementation of governance processes, procedures, and digital systems to ensure that UQ has comprehensive and up-to-date information about its research partnerships, contract research and consultancy projects, funding opportunity pipelines and customer relationship management.
  • Provide advice as needed on matters relating to calls for comment on new guidelines, regulations or policy around industry engagement and research impact.
  • Liaise with funding bodies and State and Federal regulatory agencies, to ensure UQ's perspective is considered in relation to developments in research partnerships.

Leadership and Management

  • Manage the operational activities of the Research Partnerships office.
  • Lead a culture of continuous improvement and innovation across the research commercial management function to support the responsive, agile and seamless delivery of partnered research activity.
  • Drive a close partnership between the research commercial management function and UQ's research community to create a deep understanding of the research and innovation opportunities that may be leveraged to benefit UQ and its external partners.
  • Provide leadership to all staff within the research commercial management function, ensuring the research partnerships function has people with the skills, capabilities, and tools necessary to meet support delivery expectations.
  • Enhance, nurture and improve the capabilities, knowledge and skill sets of all staff within the research partnerships function and the UQ research community through targeted staff development, training, mentoring, and information sessions.
  • Provide strategic oversight to local research commercial management function staff via a dotted reporting line and facilitate a commercial management-focused community of practice involving central and Faculty- and Institute-based research commercial management function staff to foster and embed a culture of collaboration that connects, convenes, and catalyses and uses a partnering mindset.
  • Champion an inclusive and collegiate culture in UQ with strong relationships into all parts of the university.


  • Ensure you are aware of and comply with legislation and University policy relevant to the duties undertaken, including but not exclusive to:

This role is subject to The University's Code of Conduct.

Organisational Relationships

The position reports to the Executive Director, Research Partnerships, and manages a team of around 15 research commercial management staff, including a Deputy Director. Indirectly the Director provides leadership and oversight to around 40 professional staff embedded within the Faculties and Institutes.

The position will form part of the Research & Innovation Portfolio leadership team and will work closely with senior executives across the university.

About You

  • A Postgraduate qualification in a relevant discipline, and extensive experience; or an equivalent combination of relevant experience and/or education/training.
  • Extensive knowledge of the processes and frameworks for developing and managing strong research partnership programs and the related risk profile of a comprehensive research-intensive university, as well as managing activities with significant risk.
  • Significant experience delivering high-level contract management services in a research context, including complex agreements and governance arrangements for alliances and large-scale partnerships, and developing strategies and protocols that meet the standards of best practice, compliance and risk management.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the research and innovation ecosystem, research funding and policy environment in Australia and internationally, with established networks across the sector and with major industry and government stakeholders.
  • Extensive experience in industry engagement, research administration, intellectual property and research translation, with a demonstrated track record in identifying and encouraging practices in research commercial management that increase the quality and volume of research translation focused collaborations.
  • Demonstrated experience in a senior operational leadership role, including overseeing complex systems and processes and effective coaching, performance management and development of a team of senior managers.
  • Excellent consultative, verbal communication, and interpersonal skills, particularly in the successful development and management of relationships, with a significant capacity to persuade and negotiate with clients and stakeholders - including senior executives, industry partners, and potential investors.
  • Demonstrated ability to nurture staff wellbeing and foster a culture of diversity and inclusion and a commitment to upholding UQ's values.

What We Can Offer

A full-time fixed term appointment for five (5) years will be offered to the successful applicant. A competitive remuneration package will be negotiated with the successful candidate including 17% superannuation. Remuneration will be subject to periodic review.

The University will meet all reasonable removal and establishment expenses and details will be negotiated as part of the remuneration package.

For further information about UQ's benefits, please visit Why Work at UQ and review The University of Queensland's Enterprise Bargaining Agreement 2018 - 2021.

Position Description

For a copy of the position description and booklet, please contact Lachlan Inch via stating the job reference number in the subject line.


To discuss this role please contact Professor Bronwyn Harch, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) at

For application queries, please contact stating the job reference number in the subject line.

Want to Apply?

All applicants must supply the following documents:

  • A statement briefly addressing each of the selection criteria in the \"About You\" section
  • Resume

About The Selection Process

To satisfy pre-requisite questions and ensure your application can be considered in full, all candidates must apply via the UQ Careers portal by the job closing deadline or will not be accepted.

Other Information

Work Rights: You must have unrestricted work rights in Australia for the duration of this appointment to apply. Visa sponsorship is not available for this appointment.

Background Checks: All final applicants for this position may be asked to consent to a criminal record check. Please note that people with criminal records are not automatically barred from applying for this position. Each application will be considered on its merits.

We value diversity and inclusion, and actively encourage applications from those who bring diversity to the University. Our Diversity and Inclusion webpage contains further information if you require additional support. Accessibility requirements and/or adjustments can be directed to

If you are a current employee of the University, or hold an unpaid or affiliate appointment with the University, please login to your staff Workday account and visit the internal careers board to apply for this opportunity. Please do NOT apply via the external job board.


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