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Health Technology Assessment (HTA ) Programme Director - Person Specification



Post: Programme Director
Accountable to: Director for Science, Research and Evidence for the Department of Health and Social Care, through the Head of Research Programmes.
Time commitment: 6 sessions (3 days) a week 
Reimbursement of salary to employing institution. Payment for secretarial support may be possible following negotiation with the Department of Health and Social Care.
Tenure: Five years in the first instance, with a review at three years.

Knowledge, qualities and skills:    
Knowledge of clinical research methodologies Essential 
Ability to communicate efficiently and effectively Essential
Confident negotiation skills Essential
Discretion in handling confidential information Essential
Knowledge of the NIHR portfolio Essential
A strong sense of fairness, probity and equality and diversity Essential
Embrace patient and public involvement as a core value throughout the programme Essential
Proven experience of chairing large committees Essential
Track record of research leadership Essential
Track record of involving patients and the public in research Essential
Experience of leading health related research Essential
Experience of leading clinical trials Essential
Experience of research commissioning Essential
Experience of an HTA committee or other equivalent NIHR decision-making group or committee Essential
Current experience in front-line care of NHS patients Essential
Experience of managing significant budgets Desirable
Higher degree Essential
Appropriate professional registration in relation to current NHS practice Essential
Research background Essential
NIHR Senior Investigator Essential

Job Description


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme is the largest of the NIHR programmes and reached its twentieth anniversary milestone in 2013. A recent summary of the programme, its features, context and challenges was published in the Lancet to mark this anniversary. This and other summaries relating to the impact of the programme can be accessed via the NIHR website.

The programme funds independent research about the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of healthcare treatments and tests for those who plan, provide or receive care in the NHS. Our studies are funded via a number of routes including commissioned and researcher-led workstreams. Our research serves a variety of key stakeholders including: policy-makers (including NICE), researchers, NHS health professionals, other NIHR stakeholders, decision-makers in local government, and the general public.

The programme has a mixed portfolio of clinical trials, pilot and feasibility studies, and evidence synthesis projects. To take a look at our current portfolio of funded projects please visit the portfolio page. All funded projects are eligible for publication in the journal series of the HTA Programme, Health Technology Assessment, which is part of the NIHR Journals Library. The journal’s impact factor of 4.5 ranks it eighth in the Health Care Sciences and Services category.

The HTA programme is committed to ensuring the appropriate involvement of the public throughout its processes and activities. Public involvement helps to ensure that we assess the importance of research questions according to patient need, offers a broader and more relevant perspective on commissioning briefs and research proposals as well as increases the range of knowledge and insight into our prioritisation and funding committees.

Role Summary

As Programme Director, you will be accountable for the programme’s research budget, the overall scientific quality of its portfolio and for probity of decision-making. Typically, in any year, the programme will fund around 60 new proposals at a total cost of about £76M. You will: 

  • Advise the NIHR on all matters related to the programme and area of work
  • Attend HTA Funding Committee meetings (usually nine 2-day meetings per annum in London) and chair discussion of individual applications if the Committee Chair and Deputy Chair are conflicted
  • Attend and chair the HTA Programme Oversight Committee (usually 3 1-day face to face meetings per annum and additional remit and competitiveness teleconferences – normally at least six per annum), which directs the focus of the programme
  • Attend and chair the HTA Programme’s annual senior leaders’ away-day
  • Attend a monthly skype meeting with the monitoring team to evaluate contract variation requests and late draft final reports
  • Attend Funding Committee Policy Group, Monitoring Strategy Group and Programme Liaison Group teleconferences which are usually by teleconference three times a year per group
  • Maintain a watching brief on the HTA portfolio; making recommendations to the DHSC on variations to contract requests, making decisions on project closures, and meeting research teams to review progress
  • Play a key role in developing the profile of the programme and the NIHR through significant external liaison and ambassadorial activities
  • Support the development of NIHR programmes and strategy, in areas of your expertise, through attendance and participation in the NIHR Strategy Board and meetings with other NIHR Programme Directors.
  • Communicate the work of the programme effectively to the research community in person and via electronic sources such as monthly YouTube videos

You will be supported in your role by the HTA Programme Deputy Director, the Chairs and Deputies of the programmes’ committees who are responsible to you, the programme’s committees’ membership (made up of patients, and clinical and research experts), and by the committed and experienced secretariat at the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre (NETSCC) based at the University of Southampton.

Submitting an application

For an informal discussion about the role or if you have any questions, please contact Ms Stephanie Garfield-Birkbeck, Head of the HTA Programme, NETSCC. Email: Tel: 02380 597066

Applications in the form of a CV together with a supporting statement of suitability must be emailed FAO Stephanie Garfield-Birkbeck to

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 2nd December 2019 by 1 pm. The interviews will be held in central London on 19th February 2020.