Head of Strategic Projects and Change

Requisition ID:  27053

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Open Ended
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  13 May 2024


Salary: £56,021 to £59,421 with progression to £64,914 per annum


Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.


Closing Date: 11 June 2024



The Head of Strategic Projects and Change plays a key role in the delivery of University-wide strategic projects, change and business process improvement activities. You would lead a team of highly skilled project and change managers whose role is to support the delivery of a portfolio of strategic projects and influence the maturity and effectiveness of University-wide strategic change initiatives and business improvement activities.


We’re looking for an individual who:

  • can lead and inspire change and continuous improvement across the organisation
  • has a track record of successfully leading a project management, change or business  improvement team in delivering on their organisations strategic aims and objectives
  • is able to develop strong working relationships across multiple departments and teams


For further information on the role, please contact Neil Gardner (neil.gardner@newcastle.ac.uk)


Key Accountabilities


  • To provide leadership and project management for major University-wide strategic projects and change initiatives, supporting these projects through the full life-cycle from initiation and business case development through to the delivery of the benefits
  • To provide leadership for specific projects of strategic significance and ensure performance measures are in place for the monitoring and delivery and to capture benefits against the University strategy
  • To shape, manage, have effective oversight and ensure delivery and implementation of the portfolio of projects delivered by the team, ensuring strong alignment with the University’s strategic priorities and a clearly differentiated and strategic high-value adding role in partnership with other teams, both in the projects undertaken and the role within the project
  • To play a key role in the implementation of the University’s strategy, supporting Senior Leaders with the development of longer-term programmes of change to align with the strategy and supporting the delivery of strategic outcomes and objectives
  • To support the governance oversight and reporting of the implementation of strategy and major strategic projects
  • To lead the University’s project and change management community, and wider community of project sponsors and stakeholders, to achieve advancement in the maturity and effectiveness of managing change through the development, promotion and adoption of best practice project management approaches, and to build University-wide capacity and capability
  • To lead the development and delivery of a business process improvement programme, creating senior stakeholder understanding, commitment and buy-in to the programme and delivering the effectiveness, efficiency and value for money improvements
  • To promote a culture of continuous business process improvement and innovation, and to support this with building a wider network of organisational capacity for business process improvement, supported by expertise and best- practice tools that will enable line managers across the University to engage in and contribute to organisational and process improvements
  • To provide professional leadership and management for the University Strategic Projects and Change team and to work closely with other professional service teams/individuals in faculties and professional services with a projects, change and business process improvement role
  • To provide support to the Director of Strategic Planning and Change in the delivery of their portfolio of responsibilities and to deputise on key University groups and committees and external groups as required, and to contribute to the overall development of maturity of Strategic Planning and Change
  • To undertake other specific projects on behalf of members of Executive Board and the Director of Strategic Planning and Change as determined from time to time


The Person 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • An excellent understanding of the Higher Education sector and the political and policy, regulatory and reporting context research intensive universities operate in
  • Experience of leading a project management and/or change and/or business improvement team (included distributed members of a team) at a senior level within a large and complex organization
  • Substantial experience of scoping, initiating and leading the delivery of complex change projects and programmes using structured modern management and governance approaches
  • An analytical, strategic and tactical thinker with experience of shaping strategy implementation programmes in a complex organisation and ensuring delivery of strategic and financial objectives
  • Experience in designing and leading longer-term business process improvement and continuous improvement programmes in a large complex organisation

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Leads and advocates change, improvement, innovation and advancement; able to operate in a complex and change resistant cultures and environments
  • Team-worker who builds effective internal and external relationships; with colleagues at levels in distributed roles and with external organisations
  • Excellent communicator and influencer, with highly developed interpersonal and verbal, written and presentation communication style and approach
  • Influential and able to achieve results navigating political complexity and lead complex processes working with colleagues without line management authority
  • Achieves results working with ambiguity in a fast paced environment, flexible, adaptable and able to complete multiple complex objectives, tasks and projects to tight deadlines table
  • Highly structured in approach and able to navigate considerable complexity, resistance and politics to achieve outcomes


    • Qualified to degree level or equivalent
    • Project or change management qualification e.g. Prince2 / MSP / Agile



Newcastle University is a global University where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


We are committed to being a fully inclusive university which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all of our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from individuals who can complement our existing teams, we believe that success is built on having teams whose backgrounds and experiences reflect the diversity of our university and student population.


At Newcastle University we hold a silver Athena Swan award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  We also hold a Race Equality Charter Bronze award in recognition of our work towards tackling race inequality in higher education REC.  We are a Disability Confident employer and will offer an interview to disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role as part of the offer and interview scheme.


In addition, we are a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe. 

Requisition ID: 27053