Organisation NERC
Organisation Detail NERC, Head Office
Reference Number IRC254589
Location Swindon See on Map
Salary £60026 - £66695
Date Posted 30 July 2020
Grade UKRI-Band G
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 21 August 2020
Interview Date 17 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: 17th September 2020


NERC is the UK's leading funder of environmental science research, investing £330 million each year in cutting-edge research, postgraduate training and innovation in universities and research centres. Our scientists study and monitor the physical, chemical and biological processes on which our planet and life itself depends – from pole to pole, from the deep Earth and oceans to the atmosphere and space.

Reporting to the Director of Strategic Partnerships, the Associate Director Digital Research, Infrastructure and Data will lead activity across NERC’s digital programmes.  The purpose of this new role is to bring together NERC digital environment research, data policies and digital infrastructures to meet NERC Delivery Plan objectives and build NERC’s capability as a leader in using and developing digital tools, techniques and infrastructures to lead environmental research and tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges. The post holder will play a critical role working across UKRI with counterparts in other Research Councils ensuring join-up and effective synergies with data infrastructure, and with stakeholders across the environmental science community to develop digital environmental science.  The Associate Director will ensure effective leadership of the NERC Environmental Data Service, NERC’s Data Policy and Data Management plan, High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities, as well as the Strategic Priorities Fund Digital Environment Programme.  

Key purpose of role:

The Associate Director, Digital Research, Infrastructure and Data will deliver against NERC’s strategic ambitions set out in the Delivery Plan by bringing together all NERC activity relating to the digital environment, including infrastructure development, High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities, research programmes and data centres and policy. 

The role provides leadership and direction for the Digital Environment programmes in NERC and to foster engagement with research stakeholders, data centres and across the UKRI digital community to:

  • Drive leadership in NERC for developing our ambitions in digital environment research and infrastructure
  • Engage NERC external stakeholders, including the digital environment Expert Network, businesses and academia to enhance NERC’s reputation as a leader in digital environmental science
  • Work across UKRI to ensure NERC influences and contributes to the digital infrastructure programme and wider digital approaches including on AI, Space and Earth Observation data that support the research community and inform decision makers
  • Generate opportunities to create new research programmes in the digital environment domain, for the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund or future UKRI analogous funds, with academia and end-user organisations to enhance NERC’s contribution to economic growth and prosperity in the UK and internationally, working with the NERC strategic programme generation function
  • Generate a future strategy for NERC digital infrastructure, including delivering NERC’s contribution to the UKRI digital infrastructure fund.


  • To shape, lead and line manage a new team that brings together NERC’s digital environment research, management of NERC’s data centres, HPC facilities and broader digital and data responsibilities including data policy, AI and infrastructure investment to drive NERC’s digital ambitions as set out in the NERC Delivery Plan
  • To oversee the development and delivery of NERC’s digital environment research, including the Strategic Priorities Fund Digital Environment Programme and the Digital Solutions Programme
  • To horizon-scan the opportunities to develop new research programmes that meet NERC’s Delivery Plan ambitions that could form bids for the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund or future UKRI analogous funds with other partners across UKRI and other key stakeholders
  • To lead NERC’s provision and development of High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities to environmental scientists, including JASMIN, ARCHER, NEXCS and Monsoon2. This includes working with the NERC HPC Steering Committee and colleagues across UKRI to develop strategic policy and future direction on use and capacity
  • Work closely with colleagues across NERC Head Office and NERC centres[1] in developing and delivering the digital environment research and digital infrastructure capability. Including developing a collective understanding of priorities and opportunities and communicating these to form a strategic plan for NERC
  • To lead outward facing stakeholder engagement for NERC’s digital environment programme. Including working with the digital environment network of experts, key organisations including the Alan Turing Institute and the Meteorological Office, government departments and more broadly across academia and industry
  • To lead NERC’s contribution to the digital component of the UKRI Infrastructure Fund, working with colleagues across UKRI and key stakeholders to identify priorities and strategic opportunities to enhance the UK’s digital environmental infrastructure
  • To ensure NERC data policies are up-to-date and take account of technological advances
  • To be an active member of the NERC leadership team within and beyond the Strategic Partnerships Directorate. Including representing the digital environment programme at Board level
  • To champion and implement evaluation activity in relation to the digital environment programme to demonstrate effectiveness of engagement
  • Deputise for the Director of Strategic Partnerships Affairs as needed.

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.

Position and Person requirements

Essential skills

  • Experience of working in the digital environment field, through research, capability development and/or policy development
  • Strong interpersonal skills and a proven track record of creating and delivering effective engagement with external and internal stakeholders that has led to tangible, strategic outcomes, specifically in the digital environment field
  • Experience of managing research programmes at a strategic level including financial management and evaluation
  • Experience of influencing Board level stakeholders and/or strategic policymaker engagement
  • Credibility with relevant stakeholder communities; ability to influence and network with senior stakeholders
  • Excellent leadership and change management skills with the ability to inspire, motivate and develop capability to deliver high-quality outcomes; line management experience
  • Able to produce high quality written and verbal advice suitable for executive and senior level decision makers
  • Confident and self-guiding, able to hit the ground running due to sector expertise and insight
  • Educated to degree level or appropriate knowledge/experience.

Desirable skills:

  • Public or third sector experience
  • Knowledge and experience of relevant UKRI-NERC strategy, business, policy, expert domains and stakeholders
  • Able to demonstrate flexibility in working approach to meet changing business.

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.

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.

If you would like to receive this advert in an alternative format (e.g. large print, Braille, audio or hard copy), are unable to apply online or do not wish to create an account but would still like to apply for a specific role, please contact us by telephone on 01793 867000.

If you have not already logged into iRecruitment (including as a current employee) you will be re-directed to the login/register page by clicking the "apply now" button. If you don't have an account with us, by choosing to register you consent to UK SBS processing the information you provide as part of the Recruitment Service. You can select appropriate job alerts and notifications as part of your account preferences, and you are able to close your account (withdraw consent) should you wish to do so. Before starting your online application and inputting your personal details, please read our Privacy Notice which contains full details of how your information is processed once you have made an application.