Administrator (Head of COO Office) & Personal Assistant

In the Crick's Executive Support & Secretariat Team.

Part of Crick Operations.

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.
Deadline for applications has passed.

Key information

Job reference
From £32,000
Applications closed
21 October 2021, 23:59 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 15 October 2021

This is a full-time, permanent position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.


This role reports to the Head of COO Office, to provide administrative and PA support to the Directors. The post-holder will work as part of a matrix team to support the senior 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.


The post-holder is responsible to the Head of COO Office for efficient administrative and secretarial activities. This principally involves administration of the institute’s activities such as informal work-experience, liaison with internal as well as external stakeholders, supporting key operational activities and institute initiatives, alongside part time PA support to Directors. 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.


Communicating effectively

  • Point of contact for Crick staff interested in bringing in friends and family for work- experience placements.
  • Oversee the flow of administration between staff, placement students, their parents and other Crick teams:
    • Responding to emails and requests in person for placements to be arranged.
    • Ensuring staff and students receive the correct documents and forms are returned on time.
    • With the support of the SHS team, review and approve risk-assessments.
  • Ensure that all data collection and storage relating to placements complies with EU GDPR.
  • Arrange any necessary occupational health assessments for the students.
  • Build effective communication networks with colleagues within the Crick and external stakeholders.
  • Interfaces with institute staff, collaborators and visitors to ensure communications to and from the Directors and for the COO Office 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 students, colleagues, collaborators and visitors.
  • Works as part of a matrix PA team 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 Head of COO Office and 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 and Head of COO Office 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.
  • Supports 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 standard problems that arise, with reference to the Head of COO Office, 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).


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


  • Significant experience supporting a senior individual/s, preferably in a research or academic environment.
  • A professional approach and ability to deal confidently with a range of stakeholders, including teenagers, and senior management.
  • 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.


  • Experience of organising work-placements.
  • Experience of communicating with a wide range of stakeholders including students, parents and staff in a professional environment.
  • Experience of risk assessment and/or laboratory environments.

All offers of employment are subject to successful security screening (including enhanced DBS check) and continuous eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.