The Better Care Programme Director will be a key member of HDR UK, working with Professor Simon Ball, the HDR UK Better Care Research Director to provide national leadership of the programme.  The role of the Programme Director is to provide the drive and leadership to advance the Better Care research programme.  They will ensure that the programme achieves its aims and delivers the vision for a health system in which healthcare decisions by clinicians and patients are routinely informed by insights drawn from analysis of the most up to date real world data.  The role involves development of an integrated programme of research to answer the key questions in this field and requires the ability to provide thought leadership and partnership to the programme’s Research Leadership Team and other stakeholders.  This will include identifying the key research questions, structuring and driving an extensive programme of research, managing both internal and external stakeholders to a high level of seniority, and reporting to both internal and external stakeholders on the progress and impact of the programme.

Main Responsibilities

As the HDR UK Better Care Programme Director, you will be responsible and accountable to the Research Director for the successful development and delivery of the Better Care work programme, increasing engagement across the community and growing the number of active community members.  In particular, you will:

  • Ensure the voice of patients, the public and health and care practitioners is at the heart of all programme activities, building a common commitment to delivering benefits for patients and the public
  • Work with key stakeholders across the HDR UK community, partners and wider NHS, to understand the landscape/context, support the delivery of the programme’s objectives, and refine areas of investigation for thought leadership and research
  • Lead, plan and coordinate the annual strategic review of the programme and interim learnings from programme activities, transparently sharing insights with the Better Care Community, HDR UK leadership and wider stakeholders
  • Lead the development of the strategy and research priorities for the programme, in partnership with the programme leadership team and wider HDR UK leadership team
  • Lead the co-ordination of the work programme, working closely with the project teams to ensure that delivery is on track and identify mitigating actions where necessary
  • Work in close collaboration with project teams and the wider Better Care programme team to identify and ensure that resources are in place to deliver the priority.
  • Commission and oversee policy, guidance, thought-leadership research and publications to contribute to the programme’s strategic objectives
  • Develop calls for projects, oversee selection process and track progress and delivery of projects
  • Be responsible for the programme budget, providing reporting and ensuring resources are well deployed and managed
  • Develop relationships with key internal and external stakeholders to build support for the programme and secure external funding
  • Develop lasting relationships with the key stakeholders that grow the Better Care community and that foster efficient and collaborative ways of working across the whole of the community.
  • Develop external institutional partnerships to support the programme objectives and provide day to day leadership of these partnerships
  • Work across different elements of programme and Institute as need arises, always ensuring join up between:
    • the workstreams within the Better Care programme
    • the Better Care programme with other HDR UK priorities
    • the Better Care programme with the activities of external partners
  • Establish the programme governance structures, run the performance management process for the programme, defining and capturing data on programme activities, including coordinating reporting across the projects, reporting to the Science Strategy Board, HDR UK Board and Core Funders Committee and putting in place actions to increase impact.
  • Develop reports and other external materials about the programme with the support of the Communications team
  • Respond to challenges and opportunities with optimism and respect, seeking to identify the cause, rather than focussing on immediate issues, and thinking ahead to actively manage risks, anticipating issues and proposing solutions.
  • Display flexibility to adjust plans as necessary, managing ambiguity, providing clarity and support to others through change.

Personal qualities, key skills and experience

Personal qualities


The Programme Director will be required to work across many different organisations and sectors (NHS, academia, industry, civil service), engaging with senior leaders across these groups (including clinicians, academics and policy-makers). This will require the ability to understand and navigate sensitive areas and diverse political environments. The post-holder should be able to excite and inspire others to deliver on their behalf, in the absence of direct management responsibilities.

Planning and organising

The Programme Director will be responsible for managing the HDR UK Better Care programme, aligned to the overall strategy, objectives and values of HDR UK, with significant autonomy.  This will require considerable planning, organisational and partnership skills, an organised mindset with strong grasp of detail and a flexible approach to work to fast-paced and changing demands. They will need to be independent, dynamic and self-driven with an ability to set own goals and achieve them, while making effective judgements on when to escalate issues to senior colleagues’ attention and with what urgency.

Problem solving

The Programme Manager will be expected to use problem solving skills to respond to diverse demands and support others in delivering the programme.

Decision making

The post-holder will make all day-to-day operational decisions for their own workload and on behalf of the programme, where required.  In partnership with the Research Director, the Programme Director will lead the strategic decisions for the programme. They will need critical thinking skills with the ability to formulate and contribute their own point of view.

Continuous improvement

HDR UK is dedicated to continuous improvement through our quality management system and demonstrated by our commitment to achieve ISO 9001 certification. The post-holder will review, analyse, identify and implement opportunities for quality improvement within their remit and as part of the wider team through our strategy development and internal audit processes.  Close relationships with the project teams will be essential and the post-holder will be required to trouble-shoot specific delivery challenges, as well as identifying opportunities to develop more systematic approaches to facilitate the success of the programme.

Key contacts/relationships

The post holder will build and maintain effective working relationships across the Programme, members of the central HDR UK office and with other key stakeholders.  The Programme Director will have strong listening and written and verbal communication skills: a key part of the role will be coordinating, building consensus and influencing internal and external stakeholders; and producing both internal materials and external reports.



  • Expertise in successfully delivering complex programmes with multiple components and many collaborating organisations in a fast-paced environment, with expertise in a range of specific project management tools and improvement methodologies.
  • Experience of developing effective strategies and building buy-in across broad and diverse stakeholder groups
  • Experience of navigating ambiguity, championing change and providing clarity, with the ability to bring simplicity to complex processes
  • Experience of working directly with senior leaders, working effectively with humility and confidence
  • Experience of research and innovation in UK healthcare or life sciences sector and an understanding of the organizational and political environment


  • Experience of developing and working with learning healthcare systems within the UK or internationally
  • Experience in leading and developing ambitious and transformative science programmes



  • Ability to lead others and make strategic decisions
  • Ability to rapidly develop an understanding of data-influenced healthcare processes
  • Flexible problem-solving ability
  • Excellent organisational skills and the ability to work accurately with attention to detail
  • Ability to manage complex issues under time pressure
  • Ability to be pragmatic, flexible and adaptable
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to handle sensitive issues positively and build effective relationships
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with the ability to influence effectively and confidently people at all levels
  • Ability to apply management principles and processes and proactively manage risk


  • Experience of working with electronic health record systems in primary and / or secondary care
  • Experience of public and patient engagement and involvement in research, audit or service improvement.


  • This is a 4 day per week role. Frequent travel will be required to HDR UK research sites and partner organisations.

The role can either be based in London or in Birmingham, with a minimum of 1 day per week in London if the role is based in Birmingham, and fortnightly travel to Birmingham if the role is based in London.

More information and to apply