Chief Operating Officer Job Description


The Alan Turing Institute

Chief Operating Officer

The British Library, Euston Rd, London -- the site of the Alan Turing Institute

Launched in November 2015, the Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science.

The Institute’s mission is to:

 undertake data science research at the intersection of computer science, mathematics, statistics and systems engineering;

 provide technically informed advice to policy makers on the wider implications of algorithms;

 enable researchers from industry and academia to work together to undertake research with practical applications; and

 act as a magnet for leaders in academia and industry from around the world to engage with the UK in data science and its applications.

The Institute is headquartered at The British Library, at the heart of London’s knowledge quarter, and will bring together leaders in mathematics, computing and social sciences from the five founding universities and other partners. Its work is expected to encompass a wide range of scientific disciplines and have broad impact on areas of societal and economic importance.

The Role

Reporting to the Institute Director, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) is responsible for the effective co-ordination and management of all support functions within the Institute, thereby enabling a world-class research organisation.

Duties and Responsibilities

The COO has the following main duties and responsibilities:

To support the Institute Director as a member of the senior management team

Direct, administer, and coordinate the operational activities of the organisation

Prepare, monitor and report on the business plan at appropriate intervals, per the Joint

Venture Agreement with founder universities and the Engineering & Physical Sciences

Research Council.

Ensure the appropriate standards of governance, financial regularity, ethics, propriety and transparency are maintained across the institute

Oversee all operations of the institute at the British Library site, coordinating with senior colleagues at the British Library and with partner universities

Lead and direct the following functions: operations, finance, human resources, information systems, communication, research programme support, and facilities , ensuring high quality services in all of these areas

Prepare and present papers and business information for the Institute Board, as required.

To give full effect to the above, the COO will be responsible for:

A strong professional team at the institute

High standards of health and safety in all Institute operations

Business policies in areas such as employment, data privacy, finance and security

Maintaining an Institute risk register

Overseeing relationships with suppliers and other partners in the provision of facilities and physical plant

Liaising with the heads of operations of other Institutes with which the ATI has working relationships

Representing the Institute externally in a variety of contexts and with a variety of organisations

Advising the Director and deputise in his/her absence as required, on appropriate matters

Delivering services effectively, a degree of flexibility is needed, and the post holder may be required to perform work not specifically referred to above.

Travelling in the UK and occasionally abroad from time to time, as required for the performance of Institute business, for which reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.

Person specification

The successful candidate will have:


Education to degree level or equivalent

Significant financial and operations management experience including the ability to operate at a senior level

A strong track record of operational leadership in a senior role within the private or public sector, managing substantial human, physical and financial resources and developing approaches to achieve performance and secure value for money in service delivery

The ability to develop and implement strategy in a complex environment with multiple stakeholders and balancing wider consequences

Excellent interpersonal and influencing skills, including the ability to communicate, influence and negotiate successfully with a range of internal and external stakeholders

Commitment to the aims of the Turing Institute and its role in scientific and societal leadership in methodology for the analysis of big data

A strong commitment to equality and promoting diversity


Experience of operating at a board level preferably in a similar role

A professional accounting qualification from a recognised UK accountancy body

Understanding of EU grants and public/private funding for research

Experience of designing and implementing operational processes and systems to support research, business creation and innovation activities

Terms and Conditions

Salary is negotiable and will be commensurate to the level of experience and seniority of the successful candidate.

This is a full time permanent post, to be held at the Institute’s site at the British Library, Euston Rd,

London. A generous benefits package includes flexible working, 30 days holiday, contributions to pension, health and other insurance, interest free season ticket loan and employee assistance programme including childcare vouchers. A relocation allowance is payable where appropriate.

How to apply

Please send a covering letter addressing the criteria presented in the Person Specification, and a full

CV including the contact details of three persons from whom references may be sought to


If you have any queries or would like to discuss the role further, please contact Norma Thorpe, Head of Operations on 020 74127472 or email



The Alan Turing Institute is committed to creating an environment where diversity is valued and everyone is treated fairly. In accordance with the Equality Act, we welcome applications from anyone who meets the specific criteria of the post regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender reassignment, marital status, pregnancy, religion or belief or sexual orientation. Reasonable adjustments to the interview process can also be made for any candidates with a disability.