This is a fascinating Director role at the forefront of the UK’s science superpower ambitions. The International Research and Innovation Directorate works in close partnership with the Director of Science Research and Innovation in BEIS on delivering government ambitions on science superpower and innovation nation. This Director role takes the lead on developing and delivering the UK’s global international collaboration efforts and overseeing key domestic programmes, working closely with a range of partner organisations here and abroad.
You will be responsible for ensuring our leading scientists and innovators are able to partner with the best from the rest of the world, using our diplomatic influence and targeted funding across more than 40 countries ranging from the US to China, Singapore to Kenya. Personal representation of the UK internationally by you and your senior team is expected in negotiations and dialogues, including developing new bilateral and multilateral collaborations, the G7 science sherpas, and overseeing our investment in multilateral research infrastructures such as CERN and the European Spallation Source.
This role also sponsors a range of partner organisations including the government’s funding of the Royal Society, Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy and Royal Academy of Engineering – all charities. And it sponsors a range of national laboratories including the National Physical Laboratory, UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKEA) and the Met Office, with you and your senior team representing the government on their boards. In particular the team works closely with UKAEA – to put the UK at the forefront of commercialising fusion energy, including the strategic and regulatory framework to make that possible. The team also works closely with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Public Sector Research Establishments (PSREs) on making strategic decisions on investment in research infrastructure both in the UK and with others abroad.
This role will require close collaboration and trusted partnerships with a broad range of other Departments (the Government Chief Scientific Advisor, key BEIS arm’s length bodies and in particular UKRI and external stakeholders. The team co-sponsors (with the FCDO) the UK’s Science and Innovation Network based in UK overseas missions, supporting our global research and innovation relationships on the ground.
You will provide strategic direction and leadership to around 100 staff and oversee the delivery of large Official Development Assistance (ODA) and non-ODA R&D Capital budgets. This includes delivering the UK’s new international collaboration funding programme.
This role is currently leading on the final stages of seeking association to EU R&D programmes – and working with colleagues in the Group on the development of our alternative UK offer if that does not prove possible. Within that IRID is leading specifically on talent, fusion and global collaboration.
Considering the potential threats to UK interests from a minority of overseas partners, you will also oversee a programme of work to ensure the research sector is resilient to hostile threats, ensuring our counter measures keep pace with real world developments. You will also oversee cross-government work on Position, Navigation and Timing resilience for the UK.
This Director role works in close partnership with the Director for Science, Research and Innovation to deliver BEIS’ combined responsibilities for research and innovation – in particular ensuring that we get the best value from the overall portfolio of R&D investments as a whole. The exact balance of responsibilities between the two roles will change over time.
Please see the Candidate Information Pack for full details.
- Strategic thinker: able to lead and manage complex problems in situations with significant uncertainty, seeing the “bigger picture” while being able to understand quickly detailed policy issues, work through financial and delivery implications, and managing complex negotiations with multiple parties here and abroad.
- International representation and negotiations skills: able to represent and deliver HMG objectives with other countries, bilaterally or multilaterally.
- Established leader: able to build and lead a high performing team with a range of experience to deliver a common goal, championing talent development, diversity and creating an inclusive environment. As now with all BEIS leadership roles, this includes enabling successful multi-location working.
- Excellent communication and influencing skills: able to establish quickly credibility with senior stakeholders, including the Board and leadership teams of our arms’ length bodies, and demonstrate the ability to influence and collaborate with all those partners to deliver the Government’s objectives.
- Strong delivery skills: to ensure outstanding delivery of major new programmes, both directly within the Department and through external partners, and the management of significant financial expenditure and associated risks.