Organisation UKRI
Organisation Detail UK Research and Innovation - Corporate Hub
Reference Number IRC256070
Location London See on Map
Salary £83000 - £95000
Date Posted 23 December 2020
Grade RC-X
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 20 January 2021
Interview Date 08 February 2021

Brief Description

Salary: up to £95,000
Grade: X
Contract Type: Perm
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: Wednesday 20th January 2021
Interview Date: 5th and 8th February 2021
The Government launched its Research and Development Roadmap in July 2020 setting out the UK’s vision and ambition for science, research and innovation, including to reach 2.4% of GDP by 2027. The 2020 Spending Review reconfirmed R&D as a key priority to cement the UK’s future as a scientific superpower and drive economic growth, providing almost £15 billion for R&D for 2021/22. A significant proportion of this public investment will be channelled through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Launched in April 2018, our organisation brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

UKRI’s Vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system in the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally. We convene, catalyse and invest in close collaboration with others to build a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system that connects discovery to prosperity and public good. By bringing together nine organisations with great depth and breadth of expertise, we can connect research communities, institutions, businesses and wider society, in the UK and around the world. This combination enables us to work across the whole research and innovation system, informed by our networks and expertise.

The UKRI Investment Strategy and System Insight Director will shape the UK’s overall research and innovation strategy, including: how we best to deploy the significant investment confirmed in the 2020 Spending Review; build the evidence and approach for future fiscal events; and shape specific strategies that integrate and ensure the sustainability and vibrancy of the broader R&D system. Near term priorities and opportunities are likely to include shaping the role R&D plays in the UK’s economic and social recovery from Covid’s impact; in levelling up the UK; in tackling critical challenges like Climate Change; as well as ensuring UKRI acts as a responsible steward of the financial sustainability of the R&D sector. The successful candidate will work in partnership with Government and influential stakeholders from the CBI through to University VCs; and he or she will also work across the 9 councils and UKRI’s corporate hub to ensure that we are embedding evidence based approaches which deliver a sustainable system to support the UK’s knowledge economy.

Organization Description

What is UK Research and Innovation?

Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, 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. UKRI will build on the successful elements from the current funding system and maximise the contribution of each of the component parts to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish.

Building on success

The UK has a world class research and innovation system. Our expertise spans all fields of knowledge, from the discovery of penicillin and monoclonal antibodies, to the jet engine and the world-wide web. Our inspirational creative industries are strong in art, design and the innovative use of new materials and technologies. Our universities and laboratories produce a disproportionate percentage of the world’s top research, and their academics are highly-sought as international colleagues and co-authors and are among the world’s best at attracting overseas students Nor is this excellence confined to university campuses and research centres. Our engineering, automotive and pharmaceutical industries are successful in part because of the superb graduates they can hire and the top rate researchers that support them.

Our partners

The nine UK Research and Innovation partners each bring unique assets to this cooperation. Innovate UK helps businesses to identify the commercial potential in new technologies and turn them into the new products and services that will drive economic growth and increase productivity; Strong discipline-facing Research Councils encourage breadth and diversity, curiosity-driven research, and priority-driven initiatives; Research England’s work on knowledge exchange will focus on capacity and culture in universities and provide balance to the funding system. It will drive quality and impact through the REF and work closely with its counterparts in the devolved administrations.


• Provide inspirational and collaborative leadership to the Directorate of around 90 staff; to an SMT of three Deputy Director reports and to the whole organisation through how you participate (very regularly) in Executive Committee, Board, Strategy Committee and other fora
• Convene the organisation in developing UKRI’s overall investment strategy[OLU1] , particularly in the context of the government’s recent Spending Review to ensure that the money invested in UKRI delivers on our Vision for a sustainable research and innovation system that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit, enriching lives locally, nationally and internationally
• Harness the depth of expertise from strategy functions across UKRI by fostering proactive, open and collaborative engagement with the councils including using UKRI’s Strategy Committee and our Analytical Leadership forum to develop effective cross cutting strategies and build and deploy evidence and evaluation
• Build important external partnerships and lead negotiations with BEIS, No 10, HMT and influential others around fiscal events, deploying evidence and superb policy advice, and thinking tactically as well as strategically about how to secure excellent outcomes for R&D
• Develop the evidence and evaluation base, including metrics for our new performance framework, and our approach to managing and using data, to ensure UKRI sets the bar as an evidence-based organisation, using this to improve our policy development and delivery
• Engage superbly with influential and diverse external stakeholders to understand and learn how to improve strategies and impact for the whole R&D system, using UKRI’s levers most effectively, and to develop collective momentum around reforms
• Provide compelling and comprehensive strategy advice and analysis to the Board, Executive Committee and Ministers on behalf of UKRI on overall strategy and support the financial allocation of funding to councils and cross cutting initiatives, working closely with the Chief Finance Officer and her finance teams
• Lead work to support the sustainability of the research and innovation system including how UKRI and others act to incentivise those delivering research and the implications of this for funding mechanisms
• Support Executive Chair sponsors in the development and delivery of cross cutting strategies on place; international; and infrastructure
• Build excellent relationships with key officials in BEIS and government more broadly so that there is an open culture of trust and respect, and we are invited in to shape the policy debate and outcomes.

Key Skills:

• Excellent leadership skills and behaviours and a clear ability to use these to create diverse, highly engaged, highly performing teams, harnessing people from right across a complex organisation
• A strategic thought leader with the ability to challenge the status quo; bring others with you and develop novel, innovative and deliverable solutions, backed up by robust evidence, analysis and argument
• Effective negotiation skills, built on a spirit of partnership and collaboration, assessing tactically as well as strategically how to steer towards a positive end-game, over the short and long term
• Enthusiastic, motivated, resilient and adaptable with the ability to work flexibly in a changing environment
• Calm and authoritative under pressure and in the face of challenge and able to act quickly and decisively when required
• Experienced team player – able to listen and contribute in equal measure and engage with and encourage a wide range of opinions
• Outstanding written and oral communication skills, able to explain and generate buy-in to senior audiences in UKRI, in government, and externally
• Outstanding analytical skills, with a track record of developing evidence-based policy proposals
• Politically astute, excellent interpersonal skills, able to influence, build and maintain strong working relationships with a wide range of senior stakeholders
• Able to critically and positively challenge at all levels within the organisation and, within Whitehall up to Ministerial level


• Experience in or a very strong understanding of working with central government
• Experience in or a strong understanding of the research and innovation sector, including of working with business and/or academic stakeholders.
• Ability to assimilate and draw strategy conclusions from wide ranging views and bodies of evidence
• Understanding of public sector spending environment and familiarity with the principles of HMT Managing Public Money


• Delivering solutions to complex problems in an environment where policy and politics is highly relevant (including interrogating analysis and developing financial strategy)
• Convening strategy development and delivery in a complex organisational environment
• Securing high-trust relationships with a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders, across organisational and sectoral boundaries and securing buy-in from these senior audiences
• Building and leading high performing multi disciplinary teams 
• Complex financial strategy development and negotiations



• Degree or relevant qualification or equivalent experience


• Relevant science, research and/or innovation qualification(s)
• Relevant qualifications in finance or business administration 

UKRI is committed to continuing to make a success of flexible working, learning from our experience of the past few months, so would welcome applications from exceptional candidates based anywhere in the UK or seeking flexible working patterns – including part-time working or job-sharing. 
The successful candidate will however want to be visible with their teams in both Swindon and London, and with Ministers and senior Government officials in London, when it is safe and responsible to do so

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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