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Chief Operating Officer job at MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit

About the Organization

The MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit is an internationally recognized centre of excellence for research and training. The Unit was established in 1988 to improve the understanding and control of the HIV epidemic in Uganda and globally, following a request from the Uganda Government to the United Kingdom (UK) Government. After wide consultations, and in response to the changing public health landscape, Unit work has broadened beyond HIV to include other infections, neglected, endemic, emerging and re-emerging infections and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Job Description

Medical Research Council/Uganda Virus Research Institute and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Uganda Research Unit (MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit) was established in 1988 to improve the understanding and control of the HIV epidemic in Uganda and globally. Since its establishment the Unit has grown, and now also covers research on vaccines, immunology, virology and non-communicable diseases. The Unit is part of LSHTM, has core funding from the MRC, and works closely together with UVRI, which hosts the Unit on its Entebbe campus. The Unit’s scientific activities are delivered via three broad research Themes (Viral Pathogens, Vaccine Research and Non-Communicable Diseases) to maximise cross-programme fertilisation, allowing for greater flexibility in response to the evolving research landscape and enabling the delivery of studies addressing priority health challenges in Uganda, greater Africa and worldwide. The Unit, with a compelling record of scientific achievement and a suite of cutting-edge platforms and capabilities, is uniquely placed to play a leading role in the continued growth of the scientific landscape in Africa, while directly supporting the development and training of talented African researchers
Having recently appointed a new Unit Director, the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit is now seeking to appoint a new Unit Chief Operating Officer (UCOO). This is a unique opportunity for an experienced manager to join the Unit, at an exciting time in its history, playing an instrumental role in the development and delivery of its mission and objectives. The UCOO will be expected to support the Unit Director and, in association with LSHTM COO, to ensure effective leadership and management of the Unit. Responsible for the management and planning of operational services, the post holder will ensure compliance with policies and procedures, manage Unit budgets, and assist the Unit Director in planning and implementing the business strategy for the Unit.
The post holder should have experience of delivering transformational change and be able to evidence strategic alignment and optimal service delivery and organisation. The post holder will be a strong strategic and operational manager and will need to be a highly credible leader. Direct reports and teams will look for inspirational leadership, so candidates should evidence staff development, creativity and autonomy. They will share the Unit’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and nurturing culture in which all colleagues and students have the opportunity to thrive and progress their careers.

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Duties and Responsibilities

Operational Management:

  • Oversee daily operations of the company, ensuring smooth and efficient workflows.

  • Develop and implement operational policies and procedures to enhance productivity and efficiency.

  • Monitor and manage operational budgets, expenditures, and resources.

Strategic Planning:

  • Collaborate with the CEO and executive team to develop and implement the company’s strategic plan.

  • Identify opportunities for growth, innovation, and improvement in operational processes.

  • Set performance goals and metrics aligned with the company’s strategic objectives.

Leadership and Team Management:

  • Provide leadership and direction to the management team and staff.

  • Foster a positive and productive work environment, promoting teamwork and collaboration.

  • Oversee recruitment, training, and development of employees to ensure a skilled and motivated workforce.

Performance Monitoring:

  • Establish performance benchmarks and monitor progress toward achieving goals.

  • Conduct regular performance reviews and implement corrective actions as needed.

  • Use data and analytics to assess operational performance and identify areas for improvement.

Financial Management:

  • Work closely with the CFO to manage financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting.

  • Ensure financial stability and sustainability by optimizing operational costs and resources.

  • Review financial reports and make strategic decisions to enhance profitability and growth.

Risk Management:

  • Identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies to minimize impact on operations.

  • Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and industry standards.

  • Implement and oversee health and safety policies and procedures.

Innovation and Improvement:

  • Drive continuous improvement initiatives to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Encourage innovation and the adoption of new technologies and practices.

  • Evaluate and implement best practices and industry trends.

Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, and partners.

  • Represent the company at industry events, conferences, and meetings.

  • Communicate operational updates and performance results to the board of directors and executive team.

Project Management:

  • Oversee the planning and execution of major projects and initiatives.

  • Ensure projects are delivered on time, within scope, and on budget.

  • Monitor project progress and address any issues or challenges that arise.

Crisis Management:

  • Lead the company’s response to crises and emergencies, ensuring business continuity.

  • Develop and implement contingency plans and disaster recovery strategies.

  • Coordinate with relevant teams to manage and resolve crises effectively.

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Qualification, Experiences and Competencies

Educational Background:

  • A bachelor’s degree in business administration, management, finance, or a related field.

  • An MBA or other advanced degree is often preferred.


  • Extensive experience in a senior management role, preferably in operations, finance, or a related area.

  • Proven track record of successfully managing and improving business operations.

Leadership Skills:

  • Strong leadership and people management skills.

  • Ability to inspire and motivate teams to achieve high performance.

  • Experience in developing and implementing strategic plans.

Analytical and Decision-Making Skills:

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities.

  • Ability to make data-driven decisions and implement effective solutions.

  • Experience in financial management and budget oversight.

Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.

  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to build and maintain relationships with stakeholders.

  • Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from the board of directors, employees, and external partners.

Operational Knowledge:

  • Deep understanding of business operations and industry-specific processes.

  • Knowledge of regulatory requirements and industry standards.

  • Experience in risk management and compliance.

Project Management Skills:

  • Strong project management skills, with the ability to oversee multiple projects simultaneously.

  • Experience in leading large-scale projects and initiatives.

Innovation and Adaptability:

  • Ability to drive innovation and adopt new technologies and practices.

  • Flexibility to adapt to changing business environments and market conditions.

  • Experience in managing change and implementing improvement initiatives.

Ethical Standards:

  • High ethical standards and integrity.

  • Commitment to upholding the company’s values and principles.

  • Ability to handle confidential information with discretion.

How to Apply

Are you interested? Click the "APPLY" button below to submit your application.

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