Executive Chair

Body: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Appointing Department: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sector: Science & Technology
Location: Swindon and London
Skills required: Change Management
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Remuneration of up to £142,450
Time Requirements: 5 days per week. Applications are very welcome from those who wish to work part-time, in particular as part of a job-share arrangement, and those who wish to undertake the role on secondment from their current employer.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Professor Melanie Welham has been selected to be the Executive Chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) when UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) comes into being in April 2018

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

We are seeking an inspirational individual with international standing and a proven track record to lead the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as its Executive Chair, once it becomes one of the nine Councils of UK Research and Innovation in April 2018.

As part of UK Research and Innovation’s Executive Committee, the Executive Chair will have a critical role within UK Research and Innovation and in championing and increasing the impact of biotechnological and biological research.

The BBSRC’s Executive Chair may also be responsible for leading and delivering one or more cross cutting areas for UK Research and Innovation, on behalf of all the Councils.

The BBSRC Executive Chair’s main responsibilities will be to:

  • Lead and manage the BBSRC and its staff in the successful delivery of its objectives, providing the inclusive leadership, and the vision to develop the quality, outputs and impacts of its research, skills and capital investment portfolio;
  • Work with, and Chair, the BBSRC Council to lead and develop BBSRC’s strategic approach to the funding of research, in relation to both directed and responsive-mode programmes, to the funding of postgraduate and skills training and its investment in major longer term capital projects; and to ensure that the UK develops its world class position in the biological sciences, supported by the Council’s ‘Senior Independent Member’;
  • Actively engage and consult with the academic community, charities, government and industry to develop and catalyse new ideas and communicate the strategic outputs. This will involve close engagement with stakeholders in the full range of industries interested in the biological sciences, including the biopharmaceutical industry, diagnostics and medical devices, food and medical informatics companies;
  • Be a core member of the UK Research and Innovation Executive Team, led by and accountable to the UK Research and Innovation CEO, to deliver best value from the overall science and innovation funding system and actively contribute to the development and implementation of the strategy of UK Research and Innovation;
  • Act to ensure UK Research and Innovation provides a strong, unified voice for science, research and innovation in the UK and globally, both in facilitating the dialogue with government and partners on the world stage;
  • Work collaboratively across UK Research and Innovation Councils to foster interdisciplinary work and build on collective capabilities, providing support and challenge when required. This may include specific responsibility for the strategy and delivery of one or more cross cutting area on behalf of all the Councils;
  • Maximise efficiency and ensure value for money from public investment; and
  • Represent and develop positive relationships between the BBSRC and its numerous and diverse stakeholders in government and public funding agencies, higher education institutions, academic and research communities, business, especially bioscience-using industries, and the public at large and internationally.

Person Specification

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy wishes to attract the highest calibre of candidates with the appropriate academic standing for this role. The successful candidate will be able to command confidence and represent the BBSRC at the highest level and be able to demonstrate the following:

Skills, Experience and Standing

  • A highly respected bio-scientist of international standing with a proven track record; and
  • An inspirational communicator able to command confidence and have credibility across both the academic domain of the biological sciences and the broader stakeholder landscape.

Strategic Vision

  • An ability to develop, lead and manage a clear and strategic vision for the biological sciences through the development of high quality, value for money programmes built on a thorough understanding of and engagement with the stakeholder landscape;
  • An ability to take a broad view of the BBSRC’s objectives and issues arising across the range of the biological sciences; and
  • An ability to advise on major business developments which bring a significant change in the Council’s role or activities and on its exposure to and management of risk;

Leadership and Management

  • Proven leadership and management skills with a deep understanding and experience of change management and evidence of having successfully led cultural change and organisational development; and
  • Experience of managing and building capability of a cadre of skilled employees and programme managers and able to inspire and motivate colleagues at all levels in the organisation.

Breadth of Understanding

  • In depth understanding of current developments in the full spectrum of the biological science disciplines landscape and other areas relevant to the work of the BBSRC; and
  • An ability to understand and demonstrate the highest standards of research in the biological disciplines and its wider relevance to and impact on the cultural, social and economic wellbeing of the country.

Additional Information

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is committed to the principle of public appointments on merit with independent assessment, openness and fairness of process and to providing equal opportunities for all.

How to Apply

The closing date for applications is 3rd November 2017 @ 23:00.                    

Please submit the following documents by email to publicappointments@beis.gov.uk

  • A Covering Letter                         ☐
  • A CV                                           ☐
  • Candidates Application Form        ☐

Please ensure that you include “Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Executive Chair” in the subject box.

Alternatively, you can send your application in hard copy to:

Public Appointments Team, 7th Floor, Spur 2, 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H OET

Applicant packs can be provided in other formats upon request.

BBSRC - Applicant Pack
BBSRC - Diversity Form
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