Operations Programme Manager

Job reference:
BAS 21/133
Contract type:
Full Time
£50,702 - £64,786 per annum.
We offer generous benefits
British Antarctic Survey
Closing date:
31 October, 2021 11:59 pm


The British Antarctic Survey are looking for an Operations Programme Manager.

Who we are

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through its extensive logistic capability and know-how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure help sustain a world-leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs.

British Antarctic Survey is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC is part of UK Research and Innovation www.ukri.org We employ experts from many different professions to carry out our Science as well as to keep the lights on, feed the research and support teams, and keep everyone safe! If you are looking for an opportunity to work with amazing people in amazing places, then British Antarctic Survey could be for you. We aim to attract the best people for those jobs.


Primarily responsible for translating scientific requirements for logistics support into operational delivery. You will plan and deliver the annual UK Antarctic science programme, and where required, projects in the Arctic and elsewhere. A major element of this role is the management of the logistics planning processes required to deliver this programme.

This is a key role within operations and relies on successful collaboration with managers in operations, the UK and international science community, other National Antarctic Programmes and a range of other key stakeholders.

The role requires exemplary organisational and planning skills to deliver and optimise a series of complex and inter-related activities. The ability to deal with evolving and dynamic situations by effective re-planning and prioritisation is essential and requires the ability to exercise judgement, make informed decisions and communicate effectively.

While some flexible working arrangements may be possible, this role requires a regular and routine presence in the Cambridge office.


  • Responsible for the planning and delivery of the global annual programme, including travel to stations.
  •  Deputise for the Head of Polar Operations and play a full role in the Operations Senior Management Team.
  •  Responsible for all aspects of programme planning, including budget-setting and management. You will drive operational and financial efficiencies and seek opportunities to maximise income from operational assets.
  •  Responsible for the logistics planning required to deliver the programme, including long term planning.
  •  Ensure that all activities are undertaken with appropriate risk control and in line with BAS’s strong commitment to health and safety.
  • Actively develop relationships with NERC, international partners, collaborators and contractors.
  • Work collaboratively with scientists to maximise funding opportunities using the skills and knowledge of operational capability available in the in Operations team.
  •  Ensure that all field activity and related risks are captured and actively managed.
  •  Ensure that contingency planning is robust and delivers practicable mitigations to minimise operational risks.
  • Ensure effective staff management is undertaken through timely recruitment training, appraisals and develop strategies for good staff retention.
  • Ensure that deployed staff receive appropriate training, equipment and remote line management.
  • Be able to deliver against tight deadlines, producing work of a high standard.
  •  Ensure that assigned projects deliver the necessary benefits.
  •  Drive innovation, impact and change to ensure BAS remains fit for the future, anticipating challenges and actively looking ahead to create & exploit opportunities.
  •  Actively seek solutions for better integrations of systems, processes and activities in Operations.
  • Play a key role in BAS’s incident response plan, when required leading the Silver level response team during both practice and real incidents.
  • Provide 24hr On-Call emergency cover as required.

Functional areas, responsibilities and job descriptions are kept under review and are subject to change. Overseas travel & fitness to deploy to Antarctica are required.

Please quote reference for any queries: BAS 21/133
Publication date: 08 October 2021
Closing date for receipt of application forms is: 31 October 2021
Interviews are scheduled to be held on: 10th November 2021

At BAS, our vision is to be a world-leading centre for polar science and operations. Making our vision a reality depends on the excellence and diversity of our staff. We are committed to creating a workplace where all our staff can flourish and succeed. BAS is a Disability Confident employer, we are proud to hold a bronze Athena Swan award and we are a member of enei, the EmployersNetwork for Equality & Inclusion.

We appreciate the importance of achieving work-life balance and support this with a number of family and carer-friendly policies. Plus a flexible working policy for those who may wish to amend their working pattern or arrangement.

Skills are listed as either Essential or Desirable. Desirable skills importance rating in parenthesis (1 is high, 5 is low)

Business processes

  • Experience of driving change and improvement with systems and processes. - Essential

Change Management

  • Experience of delivering organisational change. - Essential

Communication skills

  • A confident communicator and presenter with the ability to put across complex plans in easily understood formats. - Essential

Computer / IT skills

  • ICT confident and familiar with the Microsoft office tools. - Essential

Leadership Ability

  • A credible and approachable leader capable of managing complex and dynamic situations and remaining calm and effective when under pressure. - Essential

Management A) Staff

  • Proven experience of managing staff at the team level. - Essential

Management B) Finance

  • Able to set, deliver and monitor a budget and make sound management decisions. - Essential

Management C) Decision Making

  • Proven experience as a senior team member able to deliver operational success by effective decision making and sound judgement. - Essential
  • Able to deal with uncertainty and complexity in high pressure situations. - Essential
  • Delivers high quality results against tight deadlines. - Essential
  • Experience of providing rapid emergency response in a variety of scenarios. - Desirable [3]

Personal Qualities

  • An engaging, flexible and dedicated person, who quickly gains people’s trust, inspires confidence and delivers results in line with cultural values - Essential
  • Must be able to remain calm under pressure when dealing with complex, fast moving and dynamic situations. - Essential
  • Must have good mediation skills and the ability to resolve conflicting resource demands. - Essential

Project Management

  • An understanding of project management principles and processes. - Essential
  • Prince 2 or equivalent qualification. - Desirable [3]

Skills / Experience

  • Thorough understanding of BAS Operations, particularly field, air and ship operations. - Essential
  • Experience of deployed operations (ships, stations, field) - Essential
  • Demonstrable experience of planning and delivering complex operations. - Essential
  • Thorough understanding of the critical importance of high standards of health and safety and of risk analysis and mitigations. - Essential
  • Relevant experience gained in a similar context in other organisations - Desirable [1]
  • Experience of BAS’s own operations. - Desirable [4]
  • Experience of undertaking,approving and managing risk assessments in remote operations. - Desirable [3]

Stakeholder management

  • Must be able to deal with a wide range of stakeholder and possess excellent negotiation skills to drive desired outputs. - Essential
  • Educated to degree level or equivalent experience. - Desirable [4]

In order to apply, please complete and upload all the application forms listed below. If you experience any issues in uploading your Application Form, please email us your complete application, making reference to the job reference and title.

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, please visit this website before applying.

Apply Online:

Apply by post:

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Recruitment team is working remotely and cannot access the building. If you would like to apply for this job but cannot apply online, please contact us: [email protected]

If you need more information

[email protected]
+44 (0)1223 221400
+44 (0)1223 362616

The information you provide during the application process will only be used for the purpose of progressing your application, to fulfil legal or regulatory requirements where necessary or, in the case of the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire, to help BAS meet its equal opportunities policy.

The British Antarctic Survey will not share the information you provide with any third parties, and the information will be held securely by the British Antarctic Survey whether the information is in electronic or physical format. Please note that the Equal Opportunities Monitoring Questionnaire will be detached from your application prior to the short-listing of candidates for interview.

Unsuccessful applications will be securely destroyed 6 months after the end of the recruitment process (or 1 year after the end of the recruitment process in the case of Marine Staff and AEP. The applications of successful applicants will be retained as part of their personnel file.

Further information can be found in the information notice of NERC, our parent body.