Academic Champion: Networks and Partnerships

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Academic Champion: Networks and Partnerships

General description of the post

Launched in May 2013, TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) stimulates, supports and promotes research activity of the very highest quality that transcends disciplinary and institutional boundaries and engages with wider and public audiences. The TORCH Director is supported by two academic ‘Champions’ released part-time from their teaching duties to support the ongoing development of TORCH: in Knowledge Exchange, and Academic Networks and Partnerships. 

We seek an experienced academic staff member to work alongside the TORCH Director and provide leadership across interdisciplinary academic activity and international partnerships. This is a new role, reflecting the expanding scope of TORCH activities and the high priority attached to ongoing interdisciplinary, international and collaborative academic activity within the Centre. The individual  will have as a main focus the continuing development of TORCH as an interdisciplinary research incubator and hub for international networks and partnerships, including seeking funding to enable such growth. .  The Champion will ensure that TORCH remains closely attuned to the interdisciplinary interests of Oxford’s humanities researchers at every career stage, and enables collaborative activity at all levels. This central strand of academic activity will complement the Humanities Cultural Programme, chaired by the TORCH Director, which is in development as part of the Schwarzman Centre project.

Main duties of the role

  1. Work collaboratively with the TORCH Director, with specific responsibility for encouraging and strengthening interdisciplinary academic activity across Oxford’s Humanities and cognate disciplines.
  2. Serve as a member of the Management Committee of TORCH, and jointly oversee the allocation of funding for interdisciplinary TORCH Networks and Programmes.
  3. Support the heightened involvement of Oxford Humanities with UKRI, Research Council challenge-based funding, and international funding sources.
  4. Work with researchers across Humanities, with the Humanities Research support team, external organisations, and individuals to identify and develop academic networks and partnerships.
  5. Establish and convene planning groups of colleagues around relevant initiatives, to enable the creation of networks and partnerships and to provide general oversight of existing partnerships.
  6. Work with the University’s International Office and, where relevant, Legal Services to support the creation and continuation of the Humanities international partnerships.
  7. Attend events and meetings on behalf of TORCH in the UK and overseas, and represent TORCH both within and beyond the university.
  8. Oversee the allocation of international funds and seek opportunities for additional funding where appropriate.
  9. Deputise for the TORCH Director as required.

The Champion is supported by a dedicated and experienced professional staff team, within TORCH and also based in the Humanities Divisional Office.


Deadline for applications: 2 December 2019.


Selection Criteria


  1. A doctorate or equivalent in a Humanities field.
  2. A research profile of international standing in a Humanities field, including evidence of collaborative research
  3. Ability and willingness to raise external funding, including securing funding from grant-awarding bodies, foundations and/or private philanthropic sources.
  4. Familiarity with the national and international context for interdisciplinary research
  5. Experience of serving as a chair or member of committees or other bodies requiring academic representation at faculty or university level


Terms and conditions

The position is open only to internal candidates. For joint postholders, the appointment would be subject to approval by the postholder’s college.

The Academic Champion’s underlying University contract of employment, and its associated terms and conditions, will remain in place during the appointment. The appointment will be for a period of two years (with an option to extend for a third year), which includes an initial probationary period of one year. Should the Academic Champion wish to terminate the appointment prior to the end of the two-year period, the length of notice required shall be at least one month during the probationary period and three months thereafter. The Head of the Humanities Division may request that the appointment be terminated, and the notice period will be at least one month during the probationary period and three months thereafter.

The following arrangements are offered:

  • Teaching buy-out equivalent to 30% of teaching stint (or equivalent support for other academic activities)
  • Deferral of sabbatical leave due during the period of office, if not to do so would involve loss of entitlement.

The specific package of support will be agreed between the Head of Division and the office holder.



How to apply

Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae and covering letter, stating how they meet the criteria for the post and how they would expect to meet the responsibilities of the role. Where applicable, candidates are asked to indicate that their college will support their release from teaching duties.

The curriculum vitae should include qualifications, an up-to-date select list of significant publications, current and planned research activity, and details of two referees (who will be contacted for shortlisted candidates). For applicants who are shortlisted, two letters of reference and one or more interviews will be required.

Applications should be submitted electronically by 2 December 2019 to Kathryn Boyd-Miller,

If you wish to discuss the role, please contact Karen O’Brien, Head of Division, Humanities Division (; 01865 (2)70552.