Organisation NERC
Organisation Detail NERC, Head Office
Reference Number IRC255154
Location Swindon See on Map
Salary £49708
Date Posted 16 September 2020
Grade NERC-4 New
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 12 October 2020
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £49,708 per annum
Grade: F
Contract Type: Open Ended
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 12th October 2020
Interview Date: 3rd/4th November 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 Associate Director, Corporate Affairs, the Head of Futures leads externally driven futures activity and strategic engagement to inform the development of NERC-domain programmes that meet the needs of business and industry. 


The Head of Futures will use their excellent foresighting and stakeholder engagement skills to spot trends, build links and networks, and combine these to develop ambitious, strategic opportunities for NERC. They will identify significant, strategic challenges (industry or societally driven) for which environmental science can play a part, initiating the development of coalitions of support and building momentum to drive through to business case success, finally handing over successfully to programme delivery teams.

The role plays a critical part in providing an ‘outside-in’ perspective maximising strategic alignment of long-term NERC research ambitions and UKRI collective fund programmes with business and industry needs, working in collaboration with the Business Partnerships function in NERC.

The post-holder will promote NERC science, building NERC’s reputation as a leader in environmental science and advocacy through effective engagement with business and industry sectors. They will ensure effective, strategic business and industry engagement that is core to delivery of environmental science solutions to major societal and economic challenges.  


  • To develop and deliver Futures insights activities (e.g. horizon scanning, foresight and related approaches) to provide NERC with intelligence of longer-term business and industry challenges where environmental science can play a role
  • Using this information to develop coalitions to support the development of ambitious NERC-led business cases and programme bids for UKRI funds (e.g. Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, or similar)
  • Work closely and collaboratively with the Business Partnerships function, Strategic Programme Generation team and other NERC colleagues to ensure a joined-up approach to business and industry engagement and development of Futures-led programmes and business cases
  • To develop and lead delivery of an annual NERC strategic business engagement plan to enhance advocacy for NERC science at senior and board-level and inform development of new research programmes
  • To provide leadership and line management to the Futures team
  • To be an active member of the NERC leadership team within and beyond the Corporate Affairs Directorate
  • To develop and implement evaluation activity to demonstrate effectiveness of engagement
  • Deputise for the Associate Director, Corporate 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.

Shortlisting and Interview Criteria

Essential skills:

  • Skilled at identifying strategic opportunities for research and innovation, initiating the development of coalitions of support and maintaining momentum to drive through to business case success
  • Able to analyse business supply chains and markets, understand business challenges and spot opportunities to address them through environmental science and innovation
  • Business literate, with a high level of understanding of how businesses and markets work and how they use scientific research and innovation
  • Lead, influence, build relationships and advocacy – among internal and external stakeholders, including businesses, at senior level
  • Proven track record of creating and delivering effective and evaluated engagement
  • Demonstrable experience of planning and managing major projects strategically
  • Able to write successful business cases and business/commercial proposals
  • Attitude – agile, ‘can do’, creative, willing and able to get out-and-about (this role involves travel and face-to-face relationship building)
  • Effective team leadership and personal working – to include planning, organisation and delivery under pressure.

Desirable skills:

  • Passion for and understanding of the UK research and innovation ecosystem – including UKRI and NERC roles, stakeholders and the political environment we operate in
  • Passion for and understanding of how NERC science and innovation contributes solutions to the economy and society – our ‘offer’ to Government Industrial Strategy and businesses
  • Able to demonstrate flexibility in working approach to meet changing business priorities
  • Good knowledge of environmental science and sustainability in business and industry.

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.

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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