Organisation NERC
Organisation Detail NERC, Head Office
Reference Number IRC254565
Location Swindon See on Map
Salary £60026 - £66695
Date Posted 28 July 2020
Grade UKRI-Band G
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 21 August 2020
Interview Date 25 September 2020

Brief Description

Salary: £60,026 - £66,695
Grade: G
Contract Type: Open-Ended
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 21st August 2020
Interview Date: 25th September 2020


NERC strategic ambition  [See]

We aim to deliver solutions for a productive, healthy, and resilient environment through a portfolio of strategic research and innovation programmes. 

Reporting to the Director of  Research & Skills, you will lead and shape this role, to develop new programme proposals for investment through NERC budgets and UKRI collective funds to maximise impact.  Past NERC-led proposals have secured leadership on £250m of new programmes under the UKRI Strategic Programme Fund (SPF).

You will lead an initial team of 3 staff. You will build strong working relationships across other NERC teams to benefit from relevant environmental science domain expertise and to hand over successfully funded programmes for delivery. An essential requirement is to augment NERC’s internal capability using external expertise to inform business and policy user needs for research and innovation, and to develop the strongest possible science and economic justification for investment proposals.

Leadership responsibilities

You will devote time, energy, and skill to provide individual and collective leadership within NERC, across UKRI, and among external stakeholders:

  • Provide strategic advice and senior leadership for the Directorate and NERC objectives
  • Lead for UKRI-NERC in relevant engagement, partnership, and activities within and beyond your own responsibilities, and deputise for executive leaders as necessary
  • Promote understanding of UKRI-NERC strategic roles, context, relationships and priorities
  • Lead and empower people, within and across teams, to deliver agreed UKRI-NERC priorities and outcomes
  • Champion UKRI-NERC values, behaviours and corporate responsibility. Promote effective cross-working and resource-sharing to realise UKRI-NERC priorities and outcomes.

Delivery responsibilities

You will be responsible for ensuring NERC has the planning, partnerships, and processes to generate a strong pipeline of ideas for NERC core funds and to realise opportunities with UKRI collective funds. Your authority will derive from deep knowledge of relevant UKRI-NERC policy, environmental science, and stakeholders. Your initial responsibilities in this role will include:

  • Work with other NERC and UKRI leaders, and external stakeholders, to identify and recommend potential research and innovation investments that will deliver NERC strategy aims:
    • Through NERC funding
    • Through UKRI collective funding
    • By providing leadership that promotes creativity in NERC to identify ideas for investment that deliver our future ambitions.
  • Lead and coordinate internal colleagues and external stakeholders to develop and submit research and innovation programme proposals that will deliver NERC strategy aims, targets and priorities. This requires:
    • Extensive engagement with expertise held across NERC and UKRI
    • Engaging external experts to co-develop successful programme proposals (in particular rigorous and compelling scientific and economic rationales)
    • Acting as NERC profession lead for writing business cases to support your programme generation responsibilities. You will develop relevant capability and capacity to write full business cases that are compliant with HM Treasury and BEIS guidelines
    • Embedding mechanisms for the coordination and oversight of planning, resourcing and delivery of business cases and the resulting programmes, reporting to the NERC Collective Fund Oversight Group (CFOG)
    • Progressing relevant business cases through NERC and UKRI/Government investment approval processes.
  • Act as NERC professional lead, policy lead and key contact for the business, public policy and third sector engagement needed to develop successful programme proposals, collaborating with partnership expertise and strategic business engagement leads across other NERC directorates and teams
  • Oversee the NERC strategic research and innovation budget:
    • To develop a balanced portfolio of strategic research and innovation investments that collectively deliver NERC strategy ambitions
    • To meet NERC expenditure targets
    • Run the NERC Executive Funding Group, which decides on NERC ‘Partnership & Opportunity’ programme investments.
  • Establish, lead, and develop an effective team and set of business processes to coordinate and deliver these responsibilities
  • Lead and support other UKRI-NERC priorities and activities as required

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the largest funder of environmental science in the UK. We invest £300 million each year in research, training and innovation through UK universities and research centres. Our scientists study and monitor the whole planet from pole to pole, from deep Earth and oceans to upper atmosphere and space. Through collaboration with scientific partners, business and policy-makers, our science supports sustainable economic growth and improves public wellbeing. Our Headquarters in Swindon provides the corporate policy, planning and administrative focus for NERC.

Person Specification


  • Deep knowledge and experience of relevant UKRI-NERC strategy, business, policy, expert domains and stakeholders:
    • Environmental research and innovation, its users and applications
    • Research and innovation funding policy
    • Partnership involving interdisciplinary programmes; research, business and policy users.
  • Able to produce high quality, successful business cases for investment that are compliant with HM Treasury and BEIS guidelines
  • Credibility with relevant stakeholder communities; able to build and maintain strong partnerships and working relationships with a range of stakeholders at all levels; and able to intelligently navigate complex stakeholder landscapes:
    • Astute political acumen, plus judgement to handle complex and sensitive issues
    • Strategic thinker, outside-in perspective, solution-oriented
    • Influence, persuade and negotiate
    • Absorb, evaluate and communicate complex information in language appropriate to the audience.
  • Excellent leadership and change management skills, with ability to inspire, motivate and develop capability to deliver high-quality outcomes:
    • Emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills
    • Tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty, resilient, flexible and adaptable to change.
  • Able to provide high quality written and verbal advice suitable for executive and senior level decision makers
  • Leadership excellence in process design and implementation
  • Effective financial planning and control.

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

Polaris House is located next to Swindon Train Station and has excellent public transport links. Limited parking subject to waiting list (Swindon site only).

Employee Benefits
UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aims to provide a pay and reward package that motivates staff to the best of their ability. The reward and benefit package includes a flexible working scheme, an excellent Defined Benefit pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance and a number of other benefits.

Developing Talent
We are committed to developing employees in their roles throughout their career. Learning and development plans enable employees to continue their professional development through training and development opportunities such as e-learning, classroom training and on-the-job experiences. We encourage our employees to share their learning across teams and organisations.

Equal Opportunities
We strive to make decisions based on individual merit and ability. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and promote equality of opportunity in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. As holders of Disability Confident Employer status, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

As this job does not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK. At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK. You can check your eligibility here:

Online applications only. Please submit a covering letter and CV ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Please note that failure to address the above criteria or submitted without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

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