Cluster manager Teaching & Students and Research & Impact (2.0 FTE)


Office of the University


University of Groningen

The University of Groningen (UG) ranks amongst the best research universities in Europe and has an international focus. The UG is socially active and closely involved with its surroundings. Our staff put their academic passion to good use, researching and teaching in a wide range of fields.
All members of the University community have the opportunity to develop their talents to the fullest. The talents, ambitions, and achievements of the more than 36,000 students and 7,500 members of staff are rewarded wherever possible.

With a rich history and academic tradition dating back to 1614, the University of Groningen is an academic community with a strong sense of belonging and a culture of innovative teaching and research. It is an academic community that is strongly characterized by curiosity, questioning without judgement, and commitment to each other and to society. It is a community that equips its students to become active, independent, critical, and responsible global citizens.

Innovation, an open mind and, most importantly, commitment to and for society are therefore values that occupy a central place in the new Strategic Plan for 2021-2026. They are the key to the University’s future. These values are not unique to Groningen. They are also being addressed explicitly in discussions concerning the future of universities throughout Europe.

Society is facing major scientific and social challenges relating to climate resilience, sustainability, social resilience, population ageing, and digital transformation. As a broad-based university, the University of Groningen can and should play an important role in meeting these challenges through teaching, research, and socially impactful activities. The University of Groningen is convinced that it can fulfil this role by establishing and reinforcing connections: between disciplines; between teaching, research and social impact; within the academic community; and with the region, Europe, and the rest of the world. The contemporary, multi-dimensional challenges can be addressed by learning, working, and conducting research across boundaries.

The components of the University of Groningen include 11 faculties and a number of support services, including the Office of the University.

The faculties are managed by the Faculty Boards, which are accountable to the Board of the University. The Office of the University is headed by two managers, who also act as advisors to the Board of the University.
Staff Regulations apply to the Faculty Boards, the Management of the University Office, the University Librarian, and the Directors of the service units.

The Board of the University is supported by the Office of the University, which is also charged with providing services for the faculties and the University Council. The duties of the Office of the University can be divided into three main categories:

- Policy and administrative support: within the framework of the institutional policy concerning the Board of the University, Committee of Deans, Management Council, University Council, and other administrative bodies
- Business administration: financial, students, personnel
- Services: to audiences including students, staff members, faculties, service units, alumni, companies, and journalists

The Office is led by a two-headed Management Team. The 2021 budget for the Office as a whole includes 465 FTE and budget of €45 million.

In 2020, a process of change was initiated within the Office, with the goal of making it more agile, more easily governed, and prepared for the future, so that it can also contribute to the new UG strategy and work in an even more interdisciplinary manner. For the main structure, a choice has been made for a limited number of ‘pyramids’, in which policy and implementation are linked and in which substantial attention is devoted to ties between elements, interdisciplinarity, and management attention to staff members. Following a positive recommendation from the Employee Council (accompanied by a number of comments and conditions) and a positive response from the Board of the University, the main structure was established: five clusters and an executive office (consisting of two components: Administrative Support & Legal Affairs, and Corporate & International Relations).

A choice was made to have five clusters, each of which is to be headed by a cluster manager.

This is a new position, which combines the supervision of the cluster with the provision of strategic advice and the maintenance and expansion of regional, national, and international networks.

To this end, the UG is seeking a cluster manager for Teaching & Students, and a cluster manager for Research & Impact to begin 1 January 2022. Each of these cluster managers will be charged with supervising a cluster based on comprehensive responsibility and contributing to the effective and successful implementation of the UG strategy, in addition to developing and implementing policy initiatives for these purposes.

Job description

The cluster manager is a new position within the Office. The cluster manager provides for change and innovation within the framework of the New Office.

The cluster manager has an eye for processes and knows what needs to be done, including with regard to the processes taking place in work flows, both within and between the various clusters. Integrality, optimization, and interaction with stakeholders are key focal points in this regard. To this end, the cluster manager should have knowledge of the primary processes (research, teaching, and impact). The cluster manager has experience with results-based working. The cluster manager possesses generic knowledge of the discipline of the cluster and ensures that specific substantive knowledge is adequately vested in the employees. The primary duty is to structure and maintain the operations of the cluster both effectively and efficiently. Affinity with the content and an overview of the specializations and scope of the discipline is necessary. This applies to all clusters.

The cluster manager is the leader and director of a cluster and fulfils a leading, coordinating, connecting, and directing role at the tactical and policy levels. Together with the Board and the other cluster managers, the cluster manager forms the Management Team (MT) of the Office. As needed, the Board may decide to supplement the MT with representatives from Corporate & International Relations and from Administrative Support & Legal Affairs.

The cluster manager possesses empathy, is communicative, and has a strong personality. The cluster manager is able to adopt a position within the administrative and political playing field and recognizes the complex interests with which stakeholders are confronted. The cluster manager acts independently and is aware that the primacy lies with the Board.

The work of the cluster manager is bi-directional, involving communication to both the cluster and the MT. The cluster manager renders account to the Board. As needed, the cluster manager has a direct line to the Board of the University, although the channel primarily runs to the Board and the substantive leaders of the various departments within a cluster.

The purpose of the position is as follows:

To supervise a cluster based on comprehensive responsibility and to contribute to the effective and successful implementation of the University Strategy, in addition to developing and implementing policy initiatives to this end; to achieve the agreed-upon objectives for the optimal development and implementation of strategy and policy, as well as the performance of operational duties.

The duties of the cluster manager are as follows:

Supervision, management, and organization
• leading and directing the cluster
• providing supervisors with information concerning the objectives and serving as the delegated client on behalf of the Board of the Office or the Board of the University
• realizing processes of change (including cultural change) and developing other ways of working within the framework of the changing environment
• ensuring an optimal structure for the cluster and ensuring that the cluster is able to work properly and that it is not disrupted by a wide range of emerging assignments
• fulfilling a critical role in this regard and monitoring the cluster’s workload. Organizing additional capacity as needed
• distinguishing between policy-related, ad hoc, and continuous operational activities, and ensuring that they do not impede each other (primarily in order to safeguard operational tasks and preventing their disruption or delays in development)
• fulfilling a coaching and facilitating role towards supervisors, in addition to supporting and inspiring them in their efforts to develop and share knowledge. Being aware of the talents of the supervisors and ensuring that people realize their full potential
• improving work processes and intervening in case of imperfections and problems
• promoting good communication and cooperation within and outside the cluster, as well as with other components of the university or with external parties
• conducting R&O interviews with supervisors within the cluster
• contributing to the design and implementation of HR policy. Responsibility for HR rests within the line
• formulating a Strategic Personnel Plan (SPP) for the cluster, in consultation with the supervisors
• ensuring that the working methods take into account the differences between the various departments within the cluster
• formulating a multi-year vision, in collaboration with supervisors, staff members, and stakeholders within the cluster’s policy area
• directing internal and external projects within the cluster.

Policy development and implementation
• cooperating with the MT in the development of strategy and policy, and translating the strategy into a comprehensive implementation policy
• working with the cluster to implement, monitor, and adjust policy, and to evaluate the policy that has been implemented
• serving as a process supervisor/bearer of process responsibility within the framework of policy initiatives that support the strategy of the organization
• continuously seeking innovation within the discipline and focus area
• preparing the cluster’s annual budget, preparing financial reports, and rendering account to the General Director. Working with the departments to realize financial results for the cluster
• working with the MT to ensure the distribution of revenues from the general funds of the University.

• collaborating with the supervisors of the departments in the cluster to ensure the careful and proper implementation of business operations and operational tasks
• promoting good communication within and outside the cluster, as well as with other components of the University or outside the institution
• coordinating activities with the other cluster managers in order to achieve integrality
• managing ongoing processes within and between the various clusters.

These main duties are identical for all clusters. The discipline calls for generic knowledge and a vision on developments. As a basic principle, cluster managers should have or be capable of developing work experience and/or affinity and vision within the working area of the cluster. Cluster managers know what they are talking about and concentrate on the main points of the policy to be realized. The position focusses primarily on management.


Based on the duties detailed above, the cluster manager should possess the following competences:

Ability to contribute to a joint result with other individuals or groups, even if doing so is not of any direct personal importance.

• ability to share information and experiences with others
• ability to provide assistance to colleagues as needed
• ability to share contributions, ideas, or proposals aimed at group results, putting differences of opinion to use
• ability to respond actively and constructively to the ideas of others
• ability to adjust to the group when needed in order to achieve a joint result
• ability to bridge oppositions and differences in perspective between people.

Administrative and organizational sensitivity
Ability to recognize the influence and consequences of one’s own decisions and activities on the organization of the cluster, and to act accordingly, taking the political context into account.

• ability to translate administrative decisions to the organization
• ability to address the right person, without bypassing others
• ability to take the interests of others into account
• ability to know and take into account the opinions and sensitivities within the organisation
• ability to take acceptance within the organization into account when making proposals
• ability to approach the proper individuals to assess whether there is sufficient support for a proposal
• ability to change the approach if required by a component of the organization.

Ability to step back from day-to-day practice. Ability to concentrate on main points and long-term policy.

• ability to take time to think about the main issues in advance
• ability to identify opportunities and possibilities for the future of the cluster or organization, both nationally and internationally
• ability to seek sources of inspiration and adopt an orientation on visions relating to one’s own position or discipline
• ability to outline a clear image of the future of the cluster or organization and its environment
• ability to formulate one’s own objective or mission in light of internal and external developments
• ability to indicate how the strategy should be changed in order to allow an appropriate response to internal and external developments.

Analytic ability
Ability to dissect situations or a quantity of information into major and minor points. Ability to see internal connections and get to the heart of the matter.

• ability to distinguish between major and minor points in information
• ability to dissect and get to the heart of issues or problematic situations
• ability to consider identified problems from multiple angles to determine whether they are truly problematic
• ability to describe the internal coherence between elements of a problem or issue
• ability to pose targeted questions in order to determine the possible causes of a complex issue
• ability to provide a clear indication of the consequences of specific choices.

Social awareness
• ability to demonstrate a good knowledge of national, international, political, and subject-specific developments Ability to use this knowledge effectively for one’s own position or organization
• ability to identify the topics in current news that are important to the area of the position
• ability to stay abreast of economic, social, disciplinary, and other developments
• ability to stay abreast of important developments in disciplines that overlap one’s own discipline
• ability to navigate cultural differences appropriately
• ability to translate developments in society to one’s own field of work
• ability to maintain external contacts to keep oneself informed with regard to societal trends and developments that are important to one’s own position or discipline.

Result-driven management
• ability to provide direction and guidance to staff members or a project group in order to achieve objectives and results
• ability to specify achievements or expected results as agreements that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).
• ability to ensure that groups or working groups have a clear division of labour aimed at achieving the objective
• ability to adopt a directive standpoint in case doubts are expressed with regard to an approach that has been chosen
• ability to maintain an overview of the progress of results in relation to the objective
• ability to hold to account people whose achievements disappoint
• ability to express appreciation to staff members who achieve the agreed-upon goals and agreements.

Given the international character of the University and the scope of the position, an excellent command of both Dutch and English is required.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 12 months.

The University of Groningen is an inclusive organization; a multi-faceted employer for all groups within society. The UG therefore welcomes a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and knowledge. The position’s University Job Classification (UFO) is that of a Service-unit Director.

In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, we offer the following terms of employment:

- a salary based on qualifications and experience between € 6,009 and € 7,748 (salary scale 15) gross per month, based on a full-time appointment
- an 8% holiday allowance and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus, calculated on the basis of the annual gross salary
- the option to choose a work week of 36, 38, or 40 hours (based on full-time employment)
- good opportunities for training and development
- a starting contract for the period of one year, in order to assess whether you meet the requirements of the position. Good performance will result in an employment contract for an indefinite period of time.

Start date: 1 January 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Job Application

We would like to receive your application by Saturday 30 October 2021.

Applications can be submitted through our website (
Motivation letters and CVs can be submitted through the vacancy posting on the website (stating vacancy numbers 7551 for Education and 7566 for Research) through the ‘direct application’ link.

Once we have received your application, you will receive an automatically generated confirmation of receipt by email. Please contact us if you have not received any confirmation of receipt.

Draft Planning Procedure:

Application deadline : 30 October 2021
Pre-selection interviews with PublicSpirit : 1–11 November 2021
Candidate applications presented to the UG: Week 46
First-round Selection: Week 47
Second-round Selection: Week 48
Appointment: as soon as possible.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Drs. Jeanette Breekveldt, MBA, Senior Consultant (content-related questions)
+31 033 4459050

Audrey Valentijn, project assistant (for questions about the application procedure)
+31 033 4459050

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 221592-93E

Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

Direct application link Job page PublicSpirit