Personal Assistant (Head of COO Office) & Senior Research & Operations Directors

In the Crick's Executive Support & Secretariat Team.

Part of Crick Operations.

Deadline for applications has passed.

Key information

Job reference
Competitive with benefits, subject to skills and experience.
Applications closed
18 June 2021, 00:00 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 04 June 2021

Job title:

  • Personal Assistant (Head of COO Office) & Senior Research & Operations Directors

Closing date and time:

  • 17 June 2021 at 23:59

Reports to:

  • Head of COO Office

Contact term:

  • This is a full-time/fixed-term position for 12 months on Crick terms and conditions of employment.

Project summary

This role reports to the Head of COO Office, but also provides support to the Directors. The institute’s Personal Assistants work as part of a matrix team to support the senior research and operations leadership, providing cover for other team members where required, and taking on tasks and projects to support the broader operation of the institute. The incumbent will be responsible for delivering their own workload and priorities and will work without close daily supervision. There will be a requirement to take on some line management responsibility and they will also be required to deputise for the Head of COO Office on occasion.

The Personal Assistant is responsible to the Head of COO Office for efficient administrative and secretarial support of the COO Office. This principally involves administration of the institute’s activities such as liaison with internal as well as external stakeholders, organising key events and initiatives. The successful candidate will also need to develop effective working relationships with other institute staff. They will be expected to cover for other team members where required, and take on tasks and projects to support the broader operation of the institute. They will lead on the organisation and administration of the meetings they are responsible for and coordinate their own projects.

Key responsibilities

These include but are not limited to:

Communicating effectively

  • Assist with facilitation of day-to-day operations and answer routine internal and external enquiries related to the work of the Directors.

  • Build effective communication networks with colleagues within the Crick and external stakeholders.

  • Provides secretarial services as required, ensuring that written work is completed accurately, to a high standard and to the required timescale.

  • Interfaces with institute staff, collaborators and visitors as a first point of contact to ensure communications to and from the Directors are transmitted and received promptly.

  • Exhibits discretion when handling details of a confidential and sensitive nature.

  • Acts as an enthusiastic, knowledgeable and professional face of the Crick, managing interactions with colleagues, collaborators and visitors.

  • Works as part of a matrix team with the other PAs to support each other when required.

Effective decision-making

  • Takes independent decisions on how to respond to queries, directing them to others where appropriate.

  • Keeps the Directors well informed of upcoming commitments and responsibilities. Acts as a “barometer” for emerging issues related to priority concerns.

  • Makes collaborative decisions with colleagues within the executive administrative team on changes to operational processes affecting administrative operations across the institute.

Planning and organising

  • Performs a variety of administrative tasks for the Directors including but not limited to: managing an active calendar of appointments and meetings; coordinating logistics for meetings, interviews, tours and appointments; arranging and monitoring travel plans, schedules and agendas; timely and accurate processing of expenses; prompt and accurate database entry.

  • Leads on the operation of meetings including proactive agenda preparation, coordination and quality assurance of papers, creation, distribution and updating of action logs and minutes.

  • Proactively prepares briefing documents and ensures all paperwork is provided in a timely manner ahead of relevant meetings.

  • Assists with the preparation of reports, correspondence and presentations.

  • Regularly liaises with the Head of the COO Office and the Directors to determine priorities and goals to maximise efficiency and productivity.

Innovation and improvement (effective problem solving)

  • Uses initiative to resolve problems that arise, with reference to the Directors and other staff as necessary.

  • Takes responsibility for improving workflow and communications, ensuring that documents and files are in order and compliant.

  • Reviews operating practices and procedures in order to determine whether improvements can be made in areas such as workflow, reporting procedures, or expenditures.

Project work

  • Works collaboratively, as well as independently, on projects to support the Head of the COO Office, the Directors and the broader leadership, as required.

  • Maintains a live list of ongoing actions, managing, supporting and prompting the Directors to complete tasks to the agreed timescale.

  • Specific projects will be allocated to the post holder. This will be reviewed on an annual basis (or as necessary).

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial, in addition to the following:


  • Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience)
  • Significant experience supporting senior individuals, preferably in a research or academic environment
  • Experience of Line Management of team members
  • Analytical and organisational skills that reflect ability to perform and prioritise multiple tasks with excellent attention to detail
  • Highly developed interpersonal and diplomatic skills with the ability to build and maintain relationships with stakeholders at all levels
  • Proven ability to handle confidential information with discretion and adapt to various competing demands
  • Adaptable and flexible with a positive attitude, prepared to take on a variety of tasks
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • High degree of computer literacy with proficiency in Microsoft Office suite
  • Confident and articulate with excellent time management skills
  • Ability to take initiative, but also to accept direction and seek guidance appropriately
  • Flexible and results-oriented, willing to occasionally work on evenings and/or weekends where required to support special events, meet deadlines or support operational matters