The National Nuclear Laboratory, Non-Executive Director

Body: The National Nuclear Laboratory
Appointing Department: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sector: Energy
Location: London and UK various
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: Remuneration will be £25,000 per annum.
Time Requirements: 20 days per year.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


The interviews are currently scheduled for week commencing 10 February. Please note that the panel dates may be subject to change.


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is the national laboratory responsible for nuclear fission R&D and independent science-based advice. It is wholly owned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It operates commercially, with an annual turnover of approx. £100m. Major clients include Sellafield Ltd, Ministry of Defence (MoD) and EDF Energy. It employs around 900 people, most of whom are highly qualified experts in a variety of scientific and technical disciplines.

The NNL is seeking one Non-Executive Director, with nuclear sector expertise, to sit on its Board and to fulfil all the duties and responsibilities commensurate with this position. The Board is collectively responsible for the oversight of the operation of the NNL, with emphasis on its strategic direction, management control, and corporate governance.

The Board currently comprises four Executive Directors and five Non-Executive Directors, including Sir Andrew Mathews, the Chair. All Non-Executive Directors are expected to make a substantial contribution in all Board discussions including the vison, values and strategy for the business.

The Board meets at least six times a year, in NNL offices around the UK and in London. In addition, the successful candidate may also be expected to chair the NNL Technology Advisory Board.

It is expected that the new Non-Executive Director will join the Board to replace a current appointee who is coming to the end of their term in May 2020.

The position will be of interest to candidates who thrive on complex challenges, can foster a culture of innovation, and who have the strategic and team skills to work closely with board colleagues.


Person Specification

The Key priorities for NNL are:

  • to deliver increased levels of Earnings to Reinvest as their investment in business transformation comes to an end;
  • to respond to the evolving nuclear industry in the UK, having regard to the Industrial Strategy and Nuclear Sector Deal;
  • to adapt its current capabilities to respond to the domestic industry needs but also to capitalise on international opportunities;
  • to build upon work with other national labs, academia and the wider supply chain, as well as to draw on expertise in other sectors, to find new and innovative approaches to ensuring nuclear has a role in the UK’s energy mix; and
  • continue to perform an advisory function to HMG through the government funded Nuclear Innovation and Research Office.

Essential Criteria

The Non-Executive Director should be a senior leader with an ability to demonstrate:

  • Clear and effective influencing and communication skills, including an ability to contribute fully to Board discussions, challenge the Executive effectively but constructively, and communicate with a wide range of audiences;
  • Independent and strategic thinking with an ability to analyse complex issues and promote innovative thinking;
  • Team working and collaboration skills, including an ability to work together with other executives and non-executives in the organisation to solve problems collectively;
  • Results orientation and a willingness to look for solutions combined with a focus on targeted performance measurement; and
  • Adaptability and pragmatism, including an ability to adapt quickly to fast moving situations.

The appointee will also need to bring experience and knowledge covering the following areas:

  • A deep and wide technical understanding of civil nuclear technology sufficient to act as a credible and authoritative chair of the NNL Technology Advisory Board. Such experience may have been gained in an academic or industry environment but with evidence of relevant interface with the commercial sector and government;
  • A sound understanding of matters relating to nuclear safety and security, including familiarity with relevant legislation and regulations and/or experience of working in a highly regulated environment:
  • Knowledge of international nuclear organisations, policies and companies;
  • Capable of chairing the NNL board in the absence of the chair.

Desirable Criteria

It is desirable that the appointee has an understanding of business or commercial activity gained in competitive markets, with some experience of one or more of the following: the commercialising of technology; strategic planning; risk management; project management; and managing organisational and cultural change

Some understanding and experience of government relations would also be desirable, as would experience and understanding of brand, particularly its role in implementing growth and diversification strategy and engaging employees.

Previous experience as a Non-Executive Director would be an advantage but is not essential, although candidates must have a clear understanding of the differences between executive and non-executive roles.

Additional Information

BEIS is committed to providing equal opportunities for all, irrespective of race, age, disability, gender, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, transgender and working patterns and to the principle of public appointments on merit with independent assessments, openness and transparency of process.

BEIS offers professional training courses on public sector finance and governance for those new to the public sector.


National Nuclear Laboratory - Applicant Pack
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