WANTED: Science professional ‘with business acumen’ to fill £300,000 a year civil service post

By on 05/09/2016
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is now recruiting for a chief executive to lead UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a civil service post that pays around £300,000 (US$400,000) a year

The British government is looking for an established science professional with “significant commercial acumen” and a “deep understanding of change management” to lead its new research and innovation body in a civil service post that pays around £300,000 (US$400,000) a year.

Ministers announced the creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in May as part of a drive to support growth and cross-disciplinary research.

UKRI, which is presently being established under the leadership of former Treasury official John Kingman to bring together the nine existing government funding bodies, will provide overall strategic direction and distribute all public funding for research – currently over £6bn (US$8bn) per year.

With Kingman acting as interim chair, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is now recruiting for a chief executive to lead UKRI’s formation and work with ministers, Kingman, the board and stakeholders to put in place the body’s strategic direction and policies, as well as a new working model, according to details published by the Centre for Public Appointments last week.

The successful candidate will be “someone of high personal research and scientific standing with a breadth of understanding across science and research disciplines, a proven track record as the senior leader of a large and complex organisation, deep understanding of change management and substantial evidence of having led the successful implementation of significant cultural change and organisational development and significant commercial acumen, business knowledge and a strong understanding of financial management.”

The department is looking for someone with “the ability to lead a global facing and world leading establishment, knowledge of the research and innovation sector within the UK, and across other major research nations, with the skills to build credibility and respect with academic, business, charitable and government communities and the ability to develop and drive forward a clear strategic vision for the organisation.”

While the organisation is being set up the new CEO will also be expected to support the secretary of state and the UKRI board on senior appointments as requested, build relationships with partners and staff and engage with the academic and business community, government departments, Parliament and other relevant groups.

Once UKRI is established, the appointee will be “personally responsible to parliament” for ensuring that the UKRI’s £6bn annual budget is spent properly and wisely.

He or she will also promote the organisation throughout the UK as well as globally in a bid to “enhance the UK’s reputation as a world leader in the research and innovation sphere.”

The appointment will be made for a five-year fixed term, with the possibility of reappointment.

The total pay package is expected to be around £300,000 a year including bonus and pension, according to recruiters Saxton Bampfylde, who are leading the search.

The closing date for applications is noon on 26 September.

For more information, visit www.saxbam.com

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About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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