Institute of Development Studies

Project Support Officer (21-2019)

Hours per week: Full Time, 35 hours per week
Contract Type: Permanent
Grade: Grade 4
Salary: £21527 to £24771  per annum pro rata
Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Sunday 25 August 2019
Interview Date: 02/09/2019

Who We Are

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a global research and learning organisation for equitable and sustainable change.

Our Vision

Our vision is of equal and sustainable societies, locally and globally, where everyone can live secure, fulfilling lives free from poverty and injustice.

What We Do

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a global research and learning organisation for equitable and sustainable change. 

In partnership with the University of Sussex, IDS is ranked first in the world for development studies by the QS University Rankings.

We believe passionately that cutting-edge research, knowledge and mutual learning are crucial in shaping the transformations needed to reduce inequalities, accelerate sustainability and build more inclusive and secure societies. In line with our engaged excellence approach, we are committed to collaborating closely with local civil society, governments, international NGOs, citizens, donors and many others to realise this positive change.

IDS has been working with partners to tackle complex development challenges in this way since 1966.  Our partnership with the University of Sussex supports and accredits our master’s degrees and PhD research programmes.  We also offer a range of thematically and approach-focused professional development courses, learning journeys and online and blended learning.  Through our learning offer we aim to strengthen the skills and capabilities of those already working within the development sector, as well as nurture a new generation of development thought, policy and practice leaders.  

IDS publishes a wide range of high quality and high impact outputs, including our flagship publication, the IDS Bulletin, an open access, peer-reviewed journal exploring emerging international development challenges.  

The Institute is home to over 200 staff and 200 students at any one time. But the IDS community extends far beyond, encompassing an extensive global network of over 360 partners, 3,000 alumni and hundreds of former staff.

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Job Description

Overall purpose of the job

The Project Support Officer will provide project support for a portfolio of projects and teams (known at IDS as Clusters or Units) and will be based in a Hub (the project support office function at IDS).  The role will support the Hub Managers, Project Managers, Unit Managers and Cluster Leaders to deliver consistent high quality project support services in line within agreed IDS standards and partner requirements.  The mix of project and team responsibilities will vary in relation to business needs.

Project office support at IDS is centred in 2 Hubs. Project Support Officers are based in a single Hub but would be expect to work flexibly across all Hubs as required. Each Hub contains a team of professionals providing Research Clusters and Units with all the functions of a project support office, including Project Management, Communications, Finance and Administration.

Main Roles and Responsibilities

Cluster/Unit Administration

General Administration

- Ensure effective co-ordination of administration and communication at the cluster level in support of the Cluster Leader and the cluster strategy, including scheduling meetings, communicating and following up the timetable for delivery of actions

- Act as central knowledge intermediary for the cluster on administrative matters, supporting the cluster to build partnerships across IDS, through the arranging of meetings and communicating with other departments, updating cluster internet and intranet web content as required, and responding to internal and external requests

- Coordinating inductions for new employees and students to specific  clusters

- Work with communications officers to coordinate and deliver on cluster communication and dissemination strategies

- Supporting the Cluster members in the time posting process

- Compile cluster information to support the Cluster Leader as part of any cluster contribution e.g. to SLG, or annual report contributions

Project Administration

- General administrative duties including assisting with project planning at all levels within the Hub,  providing administrative support for managers and project teams, communicating with stakeholders, collating, light formatting and proofreading, preparing documents and reports, filing. 

- Coordinating day-to-day operational aspects of the project(s).

- Work closely with relevant stake holders to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the project(s).

- Coordinating and monitoring budgets to ensure that the project is delivered within budget.

Proposal Development. 

Supporting the development of project proposals.  This will involve supporting the Development Office, Hub Managers and technical lead in:

- Collecting partner support letters

- Working with Finance to populate budgets

- bid formatting

- collating of IDS institutional  information 

- CV formatting and any other task as required in support of the proposal submission process.

Events Management.  

Supporting the administration of specific events, such as workshops, seminars, or short courses.  Events will range in size and complexity. Other tasks could include:

- Budget tracking 

- Support for travel arrangements, hotel bookings, visa processing

- Providing daily on-site support during events

System, policy and procedure management & development. 

This will involve:

- Ensuring systems, policies and procedures are adhered to, by themselves and others, within the projects they administer.

- Implementing existing systems, policies and procedures.

Information Management.  

This will involve:

- Coordinating the collection of information in an efficient and standardised way (wherever possible).  Ensuring project documents are complete, current and appropriately stored.

Other tasks commensurate with the level of the post and including general support to the Hub Managers and general support to Clusters, Cluster Leaders, Technical leads and Project Directors wherever possible.


Person Specification

Skills and experience
Selection Criteria Description Essential [E] or
Desirable [D]
by *
GCSEs in Maths and English E A/I
Project Management qualifications D A/I
Understanding of work prioritisation within a dynamic environment
Is flexible and open to exposure to new skills and challenges
A good working knowledge of Microsoft applications (Word, Access, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook), including a good understanding and practical experience of using databases, spreadsheets and the Internet
Good written and verbal communication skills
Web-editing skills
Professional experience of all stages of administration, including organising meetings, conferences and seminars
Setting and monitoring project budgets
Experience in coordinating and booking international travel arrangements where cost, efficiency and safety should be considered
Experience in using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software or other database management tools
Previous project management experience and some knowledge of the social sciences would be an advantage
Administrative experience within a research, academic or charity environment
A tactful, assertive and articulate voice in meetings and other situations
The ability to work autonomously with a high degree of motivation and initiative
Able to operate as part of a team
Enthusiasm, creativity and willingness to work flexible hours on occasion
Ability to interact effectively with a wide range of people
An interest in international development work D 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.