Business Development Officer (12-2022)

Hours per week: Full Time, 35 hours per week
Contract Type: Permanent
Grade: Grade 6
Salary: £27667 to £41325  
Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Sunday 11 September 2022

Who We Are

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a global leading institution for research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, based at the University of Sussex.  We are ranked first in the world for development studies by the QS University Rankings, together with the University of Sussex. We are also ranked best international development policy think tank.

Our Vision

Our vision is of equal and sustainable societies, locally and globally, where people everywhere can live their lives free from poverty and injustice. We contribute to this by transforming the knowledge, action and leadership needed through our world-class research, learning and teaching.

Our Values

We aim to ensure that our core values based on respect, resourcefulness, excellence and inclusivity are reflected in the environment we work in. 

Our Commitments 

•           Upholding climate and environmental justice 

•           Reducing extreme inequities 

•           Fostering healthy and fulfilling lives 

•           Nurturing inclusive, democratic and accountable societies 

Our Priorities

•           Collaborate across sciences, sectors and communities to do research that brings about progressive change

•           Build future leadership for development

•           Champion the use of evidence for social and environmental justice

•           Work with partners to expand international research and mutual learning networks for development

•           Create a sustainable, resilient and equitable institution.

For more information go to:


Job Description

The Business Development Officer (BDO) post will be situated in the Fundraising and Development Office (FDO), and will report to the Head of Fundraising and Development HoFDO), while also working closely with the Partnerships Office, Alumni Relations Office as well as the Institute’s Research Clusters, Engagement Hubs, Communications and Engagement Unit, Knowledge, Impact and Policy Unit, Finance and the Directorate to develop a strategic and powerful approach to fundraising and development. As such, the Office is critical to the overall intellectual, financial and reputational success of the Institute.

IDS’ 2020-2025 strategy sets out how we will build on our current strengths and approaches to address a refreshed set of critical impact areas, pursue a set of strategic priorities to enhance the internationalization of our work, and commit to new actions to align our everyday operations more strongly with our vision and values.

The FDO leads a number of critical functions for the Institute, including:

1. Building donor relationships
2. Fundraising and horizon scanning
3. Attracting high net worth private philanthropy and foundations
4. Supporting large and cross-cutting bids and proactive thinking
5. Building systems
6. Managing frameworks and consultancies
7. Facilitating partnerships management
8. Engaging alumni

The Position

The BDO acts as the interface between IDS and its main funding partners. This entails maintaining clarity on who the key funders and potential funders are, maintaining good relationships with key funder contacts; keeping abreast of donor priorities, requirements and expectations; seeking out new funding partners and opportunities; and advising on how best IDS can engage with particular donors and opportunities and supporting responses to them. The BDO with the Head of FDO is responsible for supporting, and facilitating the efforts of the Director of Research, the Research Clusters and project support Hubs in delivering the strategy of the Institute in relation to its research and teaching objectives and income generation. The Development Office is the first point of contact for potential contractors, collaborators and partners in instigating new work with IDS, developing proposals and seeking information on the Institute and its activities. The BDO oversees these relationships, ensuring appropriate dissemination of opportunities and managing any substantive agreement with guidance from the Contracts and Compliance Manager and in liaison with the Partnerships and Fundraising Officer. The BDO supports the development of new work in the Institute through ensuring linkages across the Institute.

This work requires an experienced professional with outstanding communication and organising skills, who will work with others across the Institute to develop, support and implement an effective business development plan in relation to development research. The BDO will work closely with the Head of Fundraising and Development Office to deliver the IDS’ ‘Transforming Knowledge, Transforming Lives’ strategy through supporting the development of the Institute’s intellectual agenda and ensuring the financial health of the Institute. The role of the BDO is to act as a focal point for knowledge of the market for development research and information and to support engagements with it through coordination of activities, internal and external communication and administrative support.

S/He should have a demonstrated commitment to and understanding of working in research development office and collaboration with others, including excellent written, digital and oral communication skills.

Specific responsibilities will include:

1. Scanning funding opportunities
• keeping abreast with the programmes and needs of key clients/potential clients’ requirements through meetings and visits, internet searches, reports and other
media and explaining these clearly to colleagues. This also includes:
o scanning for new opportunities and communicating these effectively across the Institute.
o acquiring intelligence and keeping ahead of key funder procurement processes, as well as overseeing consortium development processes.
o working with individual researchers/Clusters and the Research and Teaching Forum to identify and explore new research programmes prior to the preparation
of specific proposals.
• Building a repository for information on consultants and organisations approaching IDS and identifying appropriate uses for this information. This also includes
building and maintaining relationships with relevant contact officers in key donor agencies.
• Maintaining awareness of significant opportunities for the development of IDS work. This includes working with the HoFDO to develop, implement and communicate
strategy for fundraising within IDS in line with the institutional strategy and in support of Cluster strategies.
• Working with groups/Clusters to outline funding strategies for new initiatives. This includes working with researchers, particularly those that are new, to identify
appropriate sources of funding for their research proposals and advise them on approaches.

2. Supporting proposal preparation
• Overseeing of research and major tender proposals in development within IDS to ensure quality standards and deadlines are met. For large competitions, work with
lead researcher to manage proposal development process, including meetings/workshops with partners, cross institute coordination, donor liaison, proposal drafting
as required.
• Understanding and ensuring adherence to guidelines for proposal formats and online application systems.
• Coordinating and supporting connections and acting as catalyst for work between different Clusters and Hubs in the development of projects – ensuring good
information flow between the different Hubs and the Clusters including ensuring that the robust financial plans are in line with the Institute’s financial policies, IDS’
policies and standard practice.
• Building capacity for proposal preparation and development, coaching, and advising Clusters on approaches, partners, donor expectations, proposal preparation
process are required.
• Working closely with the Contracts and Compliance Manager to ensure they can discharge their responsibility for robust contracting arrangements.
• Work with Hubs and Finance to collate, synthesise and present institutional information including profile, track record, personnel/financial statistics, supporting
documentation and certification.
• Work with Hubs and Finance to provide boilerplate/standard text inputs to proposals on IDS processes and aspects of management and risk.
• Supervising and supporting the Grants Coordinator in formatting, preparation and timely despatch of normal proposals and tenders.

3. Main point of contact between funders and the Institute prior to bids being accepted
• Overall coordination and management of all frameworks IDS is part of, including:
o Coordination and management of International Multi-Disciplinary Programme (IMDP) (soon to be IMDF) Framework, including providing support to the business
development and project management efforts under it, i.e. monitoring FCDO’s TEAMS site for opportunities and communicating these both internally and
external (to already selected partners) within a specific set time; liaising and collaborating with colleagues to set up core business processes related to the
IMDF Framework, have the day-to-day IMDF Framework management responsibility and support the IMDF Lot Leads/Project Support Officers with whom you
will be the key focal point for the Framework with FCDO and our Lot partners.
o Receive, disseminate and coordinate call down notifications/responses, lead on coordination of bidding, award analysis, management of Lot Partnerships, and
coordination of a cross-functional IMDF management team. Working with compliance and finance colleagues you will ensure IMDF value for money across all
call down contracts and working with post award colleagues lead on reporting of over-arching IMDF implementation.
o Support and contribute towards bid writing (specifically for IMDF framework which are extremely demanding and time intensive).
• Monitor and record IMDF activity for reporting purposes (reporting to be done by Contracts and Compliance Manager).

4. Ensuring compliance of research ethics process
• Ensuring IDS’s ethical review is followed and that the research work is ethically based and meets all relevant ethical criteria.
• Liaise with and flag all problematic ethical areas to the Research Ethics Convenor.

5. Working closely with the Head of Fundraising and Development Office and colleagues to provide an effective and efficient service in support of fundraising and
development including:
• Supporting the Head of FDO in planning and implementing for the emerging fundraising and project development priorities for 2020-2025 in fundraising efforts
• Trouble shoot and spread good practice, identifying critical issues arising from the Development Office’s work that need to be addressed through changes in policy
or practice, and areas of good practice to be disseminated
• Helping to implement other aspects of the wider private philanthropy prospect research including helping to map new funding opportunities
• Collaborating with the HoFD and the Director of Finance to produce accurate financial pipeline report for the Resources and Audit Committee (of the Board)
• Supporting systems improvements, building capacity, identifying good practice and desirable changes in policy or practice relating to grants management
• Tracking the proposal process and pipeline, monitoring submission success rates, providing management information for audiences including the Strategic
Leadership Group (SLG) and Board
• Line management of the Grants Coordinator, overseeing their work and development

Other tasks commensurate with the level of the post.


Person Specification

Skills and experience
Selection Criteria Description Essential [E] or
Desirable [D]
by *
Educational Qualifications
First degree in a relevant subject/discipline, or equivalent E A/I
• Relevant post graduate qualification

• Further qualification in development
• Excellent knowledge and interest in development studies research
• Proven knowledge of the funding environment for research, international development and/or key international actors
• Understanding of social science research methods
• Proven knowledge of high value proposal preparation
• Knowledge of international development, business development, partnership development and/or communications and/or

• Alumni engagement

• PR and fundraising in academic context
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills, tact, assertiveness and the diplomatic abilities needed to establish
constructive links with a range of people and organisations
• Strong interpersonal skills, influencing skills, empathy, mentoring and active listening skills, ability to motivate self and others,
communicate with colleagues and external contacts at all levels of seniority
• Staff management and development skills
• Excellent, proven research skills, able to seek out and present information in relevant formats, including internet research, and
outstanding writing and editing skills for research proposals
• Good computer skills, including familiarity with databases and spreadsheets
• Proof-reading and ability to interpret and adhere to complex and detailed requirements
• Financial skills – able to compile and understand complex budgets and financial information
• Exceptional work planning, time management and workload management
• Significant demonstrated and successful experience of working in business development office activities
• Experience of fundraising for research and writing high value funding proposals
• Experience of working in a research environment
• Experience of project management of diverse teams including senior members
• Experience of the qualities required to produce an outstanding research proposal and ability to support others to achieve these
• Experience of working with development organisations and building effective, long-term relationships
• Working in a developing country

• Organising events, workshops or conference internationally

• Fundraising and project proposal development

• Working with academics/in an academic context

• Alumni engagement
• Ability to use initiative and to work with minimal supervision
• Able to contribute ideas and good at problem-solving
• Confidence in engaging appropriately with a wide range of people internally and externally, senior and peers.
• A team player with enthusiasm and a commitment to supporting colleagues to achieve high quality
• Excellent attention to detail
• Flexibility, adaptability and a ‘can-do’ attitude to work
• Complete reliability under pressure
• Team leadership
• Persuasiveness
• Empathy for the researcher perspective
• Clarity of thought
• Commitment to achieving progressive social and development outcomes as reflected in the IDS mission
• A commitment to learning, reflection and flexibility in work
• Attention to detail and a commitment to the quality of outputs
Willing to travel within the UK and internationally E A/I
*A - Application I - Interview

Information to Candidates

Benefits At IDS we offer a number of additional benefits to staff. These include:

The successful candidate will be based at the Institute of Development Studies on the University of Sussex campus. The University of Sussex is located 10 minutes away from the lively and cosmopolitan seaside city of Brighton on the UK South Coast, 60 minutes away from central London, 30 minutes away from London Gatwick Airport and is surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the Sussex South Downs. Situated between the sea and the South Downs, Brighton is one of the most vibrant and unique cities on the South Coast, for more information please go to

How to apply

Please apply using the online application form.