Operations Administrator – School of Physics and Astronomy

Part-Time University of Birmingham in Administrative/Clerical Email Job
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Job Description


Position Details

School of Physics and Astronomy

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £25,866 to £27,518, with potential progression once in post to £30,820

Grade: 4

Part Time (18 working hours per week)

Fixed Term contract up to July 2025

Closing date: 17th July 2024


Our offer to you

People are at the heart of what we are and do.

The University of Birmingham is proud to have been a part of the City of Birmingham and the wider region for over 100 years, and we are equally proud to be recognised as a leading global university. We want to attract talented people from across the city and beyond, support them to succeed, and celebrate their success.

We are committed to helping the people who work here to develop through our sector-leading Birmingham Professional programme which provides all professional services staff with development opportunities and the encouragement to reach their full potential. With almost 5,000 professional services jobs in a wide-range of functions in Edgbaston and in our campus in Dubai, there are plenty of opportunities for you to be able to develop your career at the University.

We believe there is no such thing as a typical member of staff and that diversity is a source of strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation, and debate. We warmly welcome people from all backgrounds and are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where diversity is at the heart of who and what we are, and how we work.

Supporting our people to achieve a healthy work/life balance is important both to our employees and to the success of the University and, depending on the role, we offer a variety of flexible working arrangements. We therefore welcome discussions on all forms of flexible working. In addition, you will receive a generous package of benefits including 40 days paid holiday a year, one paid day a year for volunteering, occupational sick pay, and a pension scheme. We also have three high quality subsidised day nurseries.

The University is situated in leafy Edgbaston and there are excellent transport links to our beautiful campus, including main bus routes and a train station on site. On campus we have a state-of-the-art sports centre with pool, shops, places to eat and drink, our own art gallery, museum and botanical gardens.

Find out more about the benefits of working for the University of Birmingham


The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham invites applications for an Operations Administrator to support for the School’s Astrophysics Research Group. The successful applicant will work closely with members of the Group, to provide a front of house service across a range of functions, including HR, finance, facilities and events. This is a varied role requiring good interpersonal skills and relationship management across staff and students within the School, as well as across wider University contacts. The post holder will be part of the School’s wider operations team, and have the opportunity to also contribute to School-wide activities.

The Astrophysics Research Group comprises around 50 people – including academics, researchers, PhD students and technicians – and includes the Institute for Gravitational Wave Astronomy. It is a world-leading research centre, opening new windows on the universe using gravitational waves (tiny ripples in the fabric of the universe), studying the most energetic cosmic explosions in the universe, and the evolution of distant galaxies.

The School of Physics and Astronomy has a wide-ranging research portfolio covering not only astrophysics, but also particle and nuclear physics, and quantum physics. Our research was ranked top in the UK for 4-star-category research by the Research Excellence Framework 2021. Researchers in the School have been associated with three Nobel prizes over the past ten years (through membership of collaborations, and two former colleagues winning the prize for work conducted in Birmingham).

The School of Physics and Astronomy is an Institute of Physics Juno Champion since 2014 and holder of the Athena SWAN Silver Award. Both initiatives recognise the School’s commitment to promote diversity and equality, and to encourage better practice for all members of the community, whilst also working towards developing an equitable working culture in which all students and staff can achieve their full potential. We welcome applications from all qualified applicants, but applications from traditionally under-represented groups in physics and astronomy, such as women and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups, are particularly encouraged.

Role Summary

You will provide an effective Administrative support service to the Astrophysics Research Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy. In order to flexibly use resource you may be given the opportunity to work in different areas of the School and the opportunity to support the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, which the School is part of.

Main Duties

  • You will undertake areas of executive support include diary management and meeting planning.
  • Support meetings by providing all administrative activities such as taking minutes and following up on actions, chasing up on actions to ensure they are delivered, and flagging up to your manager where there are issues.
  • Provide administrative and project support for senior staff, which will typically include gathering information and updates on projects, and liaising with others extensively to ensure progress.
  • Undertake activities collect data and other sources of information to aid decision making.
  • Support the administration of managerial duties, including recording staff absences, preparing induction packs and organising onboarding, and overseeing the leavers process.
  • Maintain high profile working relationships with key stakeholders, fielding enquiries and ensuring that appropriate information is disseminated to stakeholders as appropriate.
  • Administer and oversee certain budgets, including processing payments, authorising expenditure, preparing and circulating returns and creating accurate financial statements as required.
  • Supports equality and values diversity, moderates own behaviour to avoid unfair discriminatory impact or bias on others.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications, Experience

  • Evidence of the skills and ability to undertake the role
  • A good standard of literacy and numeracy as may be evidenced by GCSE Maths and English grade C/4 minimum or equivalent level 2 qualification.
  • Good IT skills with working knowledge of standard Microsoft Office software.
  • Ability to take responsibility for specific tasks, carrying out duties without needing to refer to others, with scope for some choice and using your own judgment.
  • Ability to work on your own initiative.
  • Ability to proactively contribute to improving processes and for proposing new ways of working.
  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to communicate clearly and effectively with others.
  • Well organised with the ability to prioritise work proactively, independently and as part of a team.
  • A good understanding of how to deliver excellent customer service.
  • Experience of using and maintaining complex work systems, and an aptitude for learning new IT packages and systems.
  • Experience of supporting committees in a secretarial capacity.
  • The ability to cope with change in a fast moving, dynamic environment where change is often required immediately.
  • An understanding of the importance of equality and diversity in the workplace.
  • The ability to identify and respond to equality and diversity issues in line with relevant policies and procedures and how to respond to issues in line with relevant policies and procedures.


This role does not manage others.

This role does not own a budget.

Planning and Organising

The role is required to manage and prioritise a varied workload to deliver within required timeframes. There is also a strong need to maintain an awareness of activity across the department and wider College.

Problem Solving and decision making

You will be working under the direction of a senior manager, with the necessary degree of autonomy to deliver the outputs and support required. You will be working within the framework of existing policies, processes and procedures for the department. You will take day-to-day decisions within the remit of a PA such as diary management, but otherwise will check decisions and the best course of action with the senior manager.

Internal and External relationships

This role will be liaising with internal colleagues and stakeholders, and likely external stakeholders as well, with an expectation to maintain good working relationships with all.


Informal enquiries to Anna Jenkin, email: a.c.jenkin@bham.ac.uk

View our staff values and behaviours here


We believe there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ member of University of Birmingham staff and that diversity in its many forms is a strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation and debate at the heart of University life. We are committed to proactively addressing the barriers experienced by some groups in our community and are proud to hold Athena SWAN, Race Equality Charter and Disability Confident accreditations. We have an Equality Diversity and Inclusion Centre that focuses on continuously improving the University as a fair and inclusive place to work where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. We are also committed to sustainability, which is a key part of our strategyYou can find out more about our work to create a fairer university for everyone on our website.

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