Medical Research Council, Executive Chair

Body: Medical Research Council
Appointing Department: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sectors: Health and Social Care, Science & Technology
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The post comes with a competitive remuneration package and candidates will be able to retain an existing Clinical Excellence Award. Remuneration and expenses are taxable.
Time Requirements: Full Time (However, this role could be reduced to four days a week to allow clinical or research activity to be maintained.)

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

MRC drives inter- and cross-disciplinary activity to improve human health through world class medical research and by training the very best biomedical and clinical scientists. To achieve this, it supports research across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials in all major disease areas.

MRC works closely with medical research charities, industry, the NHS and UK Government health research funders, including with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and gives a high priority to research that is likely to increase our understanding of illness and disease and that will make a real difference to clinical practice and the health of the population.

The MRC is an integral part of UKRI alongside the other six Research Councils, Research England and Innovate UK. This facilitates the closest possible collaboration across the whole breadth of the UK’s research and innovation activity, allowing completely new integrated ways of working to thrive. UKRI is led by Dame Ottoline Leyser as CEO and overseen by an influential independent Chair and Board. It is funded by UK taxpayers via the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. The successful applicant will be accountable to the Board and CEO, have access to Ministers and will be selected by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Role

The Executive Chair, working with the MRC Council members, is responsible for setting and implementing the strategic vision for MRC and through this, shaping UKRI’s direction and position on medical and biomedical research. As a visible and credible leader of both MRC and the wider medical and biomedical research community, you will provide direction ensuring delivery of world-class research, innovation, skills development and infrastructure investment.

You will be closely involved in the wider leadership and decision-making of UKRI and have the opportunity to lead on one or more major cross-cutting themes for UKRI.

The Responsibilities

Within MRC

  • Ensure the MRC is a high performing organisation, leading it in successful pursuit of its objectives, providing the inclusive vision vital to maintain the quality and outputs of its research, postgraduate and capital investment portfolio.
  • Lead MRC, with the support of the Senior Independent Member and Council, to develop MRC’s strategic approach to the funding of research and alignment with innovation, in relation to both directed and responsive-mode programmes, to the funding of postgraduate/skills training and its investment in major longer term capital projects; and to ensure that the UK further develops its world leading position in medical and biomedical research and innovation.
  • Enhance MRC’s capability as a major contributor to world-leading research in the biomedical sciences both nationally and internationally through funding excellence and championing MRC’s specialist national institutes and other major investments.

Across UKRI

  • Work collaboratively across UKRI to foster interdisciplinary work and training and build on collective capabilities, ensuring cross-Council working links through to innovation, and providing support and challenge when required.
  • As a member of UKRI’s Executive Committee, work with the UKRI Board to deliver value from the science and innovation funding system and contribute to the development and implementation of the overall UKRI strategy.
  • As a core member of the senior leadership team, drive forward the ongoing programme of transformational change to build UKRI and its capabilities as a steward of the research and innovation system, led by the UKRI CEO.

Wider engagement

  • Represent the MRC across Government, public and private sectors and with patients, to promote the work MRC does and to influence the work of government and the private sector to further MRC’s objectives.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with the other funders and users of medical research including the NIHR, NHS and Medical charities to ensure effective translation into outcomes for patients.
  • Enhance the linkage of biomedical research to innovation through fostering closer links with the private sector and support the academic sector in working closer to the market and with businesses.
  • Strengthen the links between the MRC and central government, using MRC’s resources and networks to add value to and inform public policy and advocate for the value of the medical and biomedical sciences. Bringing insight from funding agencies, higher education institutions, academic and research communities, third sector, industry and the public at large and internationally.

Finance, Planning & Analysis

  • Maximise efficiency and value for money from public investment; overseeing and managing the budgets allocated to MRC by the Secretary of State.
  • Work with the Chief Financial Officer to ensure robust budget planning and financial control.
  • Work closely with the corporate hub to ensure strong analysis underpins decisions which, evidence outcomes.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

  • A highly respected biomedical or clinical scientist and leader of international standing, with a firm grasp of developments across the UK and international ecosystem of medical and biomedical research; public, charitable and industry.
  • Politically astute, excellent interpersonal skills, able to influence, build and maintain strong working relationships across industry, the NHS and academia; collaborative and consultative.
  • An ability to develop, lead and manage a clear and strategic vision for medical and biomedical research through the development of high quality, value for money programmes and collaborations, built on a detailed understanding of, and engagement with, the UK stakeholder landscape – both public and private.
  • Demonstrable inclusive leadership and management skills with experience of leading and managing a large and complex organisation to be highly performing while tackling issues of equality and diversity; evidence of having successfully led cultural change and organisational development.
  • Commitment to the overarching goals of UKRI, multidisciplinary working and the health of a wider and more integrated R&D landscape

Desirable criteria

  • Track record of delivering wealth creation and economic benefit through the life sciences.

Additional Information

This is a Public Appointment, made by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The post holder will be an office holder and an employee of UKRI.

The successful candidate will be encouraged to take up their appointment as soon as possible, following the successful completion of pre-appointment checks and security clearance.

If you are shortlisted for the role, due diligence will be carried out.

Shortlisted candidates may also be required to complete a written exercise as part of their assessment. The written exercise will be assessed against the essential criteria for this campaign and support will be offered to those candidates requiring a reasonable adjustment.

Interviews will be held in person at UKRI’s office in Central London.

This appointment is subject to pre-appointment scrutiny by the Science and Technology Select Committee. Pre-appointment scrutiny is an important part of the appointment process for some of the most significant public appointments made by Ministers. It is designed to provide an added level of scrutiny to verify that the recruitment meets the principles set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments.

Information concerning the appointment and the Government’s preferred candidate will be shared with the relevant select committee. As part of this process you will need to be content for your name and your CV to be shared with the Science and Technology Select Committee as the Government’s preferred candidate.

Further information can be found in the applicant pack.

MRC _ Executive Chair 419 _ Candidate Pack _ Final _ April 2022
Return to Search