Organisation UKRI
Organisation Detail UK Research and Innovation - Corporate Hub
Reference Number IRC256131
Location Swindon See on Map
Salary £83000
Date Posted 08 January 2021
Grade UKRI-X
Contract Type Open Ended
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 07 February 2021
Interview Date 05 March 2021

Brief Description

Salary: £83,000
Grade: UKRI X
Contract Type: Open-Ended
Hours: Full Time
Closing Date: 7th February 2021
Interview Date: 5th and 12th March 2021

Area: UKRI Corporate Hub, COO Group - Reforming our Business Portfolio (RoB) – Simpler and Better Funding (SBF) Programme

About us:

We live in highly disruptive, dynamic, and challenging times. This presents near limitless opportunities for research and innovation to generate and leverage new ideas to improve our livelihoods. Formed in 2018, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) sits in a unique position to help realise the benefits from research and innovation for the UK. Working in partnership with stakeholders across government, academia, businesses, and charities, UKRI seeks to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish in the 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. Our mission is to 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. 

Key purpose of role:

UKRI is bringing all the projects relevant to UKRI’s funding processes together into a single programme called ‘Simpler and Better Funding’ to deliver a reformed, end to end funding process for UKRI including a multi-million pound new, electronic application system.
The aim of the new Simpler and Better Funding Programme (SBF) is to deliver the best funding system possible to achieve UKRI’s vision, working collaboratively across UKRI and external stakeholders.  

The key purpose of this role is to lead all of the activities in the SBF that are being undertaken and planned by UKRI to improve its funding processes to the benefit of those who use them externally e.g. all Universities in the UK and those who run them within UKRI – e.g. the several hundred staff who deliver UKRI’s funding processes.

In this role, you will be directly accountable for:

 •  The successful leadership and delivery of the SBF programme impacting on a minimum of £3bn spend/year with a very high external profile as reflected in  announcements by the UK Government and UKRI on 10 September

This role will be line managed by the RoB Portfolio Director with activities being set by the SRO who is Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair, NERC.

Key areas of responsibility:

•  You will bring together the current multi-million pound Funding Service Programme and the original RoB ‘busting bureaucracy’ programme augmented by the 13 projects announced on 10 September relating to funding to become a single programme within the overall RoB portfolio.  These activities will directly impact on a minimum of £3bn funding/year.
•   You will be responsible for developing and agreeing an overall, integrated plan for the Simpler and Better Funding programme and allied business cases and agreeing it with the UKRI Executive Committee  
•   To set up and work with a new oversight Board for Simpler and Better Funding
•   You will work with operational leaders across UKRI e.g. Chief Operating Officers, to deliver the SBF programme 
•   You will form and lead a new leadership team for Simpler and Better Funding with 4 senior level direct reports plus an overall team of a minimum of 25 people reporting to the four senior level staff – a mix of subject matter experts, project/programme management and strategy and evaluation staff.

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us.

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.

Essential skills, qualifications and experience:

(Assessed via Application only = A, and Interview only = I, via both = A & I)

Qualifications (A):

  • Qualifications in major programme management either from within Government e.g. the Infrastructure Projects Authority or Prince2 or Managing Successful Projects (Masters level or equivalent)

Experience (A & I):

  • Significant senior management experience in leading major change programmes in the public sector across different disciplines
  • Demonstrable experience in the effective leadership and development of large groups
  • Proven track record of working with third parties in order to deliver joint commitments
  • Strong track record of working in an environment which is subject to rapid change
  • Successful implementation of effective and efficient processes whilst understanding where flexibility and fast-moving responsiveness is required
  • Proven track record of working effectively with a range of complex senior stakeholders.

Skills and Expertise (A & I):

  • Ability to get things done – being solution focused with a collaborative style
  • Immediate credibility and strong influence skills, with presentable and persuasive communications skills
  • Ability to work and successfully deliver in complex environments which are in transition
  • A strong team player with the ability to listen to, lead and inspire staff and a diverse stakeholder/customer interface
  • Strong strategic thinking skills, with the ability to translate ideas and policy into action in the delivery of customer focused services
  • Significant awareness of the political sensitivities and the workings of both Government and its partners and customers
  • An understanding and commitment to the values of accountability, probity, openness and diversity
  • A significant grasp of public accountability and the associated obligations.

Aptitudes and Behaviours (A & I):

  • An influential leader, with the gravitas and skill to gain respect and create a unified community
  • Ability to challenge at Board level
  • Clear strategic and creative thinker
  • Collaborative in style and a team player, ready to work with partners internally and externally
  • Demonstrates probity, integrity and a commitment to public service value
  • Strong technological insight and curiosity.


  • Higher education to bachelor or masters level (or vocational qualification equivalent)
  • Additional business qualifications
  • Experience in and/or clear understanding of the research/innovation funding landscape.

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:

Applicants are required to provide a CV and a statement of suitability (max 4 pages A4, Arial 11pt) setting out how they meet the requirements for this role.

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