Research England, Executive Chair

Body: Research England
Appointing Department: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sectors: Education, Science & Technology
Location: Bristol/Flexible
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £120,000 with Performance Related Pay of up to 10% (with scope to negotiate up to £144,500 base salary for an exceptional candidate).
Time Requirements: The Research England Executive Chair will be appointed for a term of 4 years and is a full-time role.


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

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has selected Professor Dame Jessica Corner as the preferred candidate for the role of Executive Chair of Research England.

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


All timelines are indicative and are subject to change. Please regularly check the advert for any updates.


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Executive Chair, working with the Research England Council Members, is responsible for setting the strategic vision for RE and contributing to the wider direction of UKRI. As a visible and credible leader of Research England you will provide direction, ensuring delivery research, skills, and infrastructure investments. 

As a member of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Executive Committee, the Executive Chair will be accountable to, and work closely with, the UKRI Chief Executive Officer. The Research England’s Executive Chair may also be responsible for leading and delivering one or more cross cutting areas for UKRI.  

The Executive Chair is also responsible for maintaining good working relationships and providing knowledge and leadership with the Council’s primary stakeholders: the English Higher Education research and Knowledge Exchange sector the other UK Higher Education Funding Bodies and the Office for Students. 

Additional aspect to the role may be developed over time such as leadership for a cross cutting UKRI theme.



  • Ensure delivery of Research England’s objectives, providing the inclusive leadership and vision to make the most of its research, skills and capital investments portfolio
  • Collaborate with the management team and Board to provide overall leadership and direction to UKRI; modelling the values and behaviours required to bring to life UKRI’s values
  • Lead and develop the capacity and capability of the Research England team

Stakeholder engagement

  • Work with the Senior Independent Member (SIM) of Research England and other Council members to lead and develop Research England’s approach to the funding of research and innovation in England
  • Work with the SIM and other Council members to develop knowledge exchange and commercialisation in universities within England to enhance their contribution to economic growth and social capital
  • Fulfil Research England’s remit to build and sustain the conditions for a healthy and dynamic research and knowledge exchange system within the sector
  • Coordinate university research capital funding and Quality-related Research funding to maintain the excellence of research capability in English Higher Education Providers
  • Stimulate research collaborations across the UK between Universities, businesses and charities that help support economic growth and build local collaborations
  • Be a core member of the UKRI Executive team, working to deliver the best overall impact of the research and innovation funding system and contribute to delivering the UKRI mission
  • Work collaboratively across UKRI to foster interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral work
  • Develop positive relationships between Research England and its counterparts in the Devolved Administrations, ensuring excellent research is identified wherever it is being undertaken 
  • Engage constructively with BEIS, especially on the role of universities in the delivery of the R&D policy in England
  • Work closely with the Office for Students to support Higher Education generally, deliver the Higher Education Innovation Funding Programme and other areas of joint responsibility

Finance, Planning & Analysis

  • Continuously improve efficiency and value for money from Research England’s activities
  • Work with the UKRI CFO to ensure robust budget planning and financial control
  • Collaborate with UKRI’s analytical and strategy teams to ensure the best possible evidence base for Research England’s activities

Person Specification

The successful candidate will be able to command confidence and represent Research England at the highest level of Government/Academia and be able to meet the following criteria:


  • A highly respected senior leader and manager with proven experience of delivering research and innovation results; 
  • An in-depth understanding of research and knowledge exchange in the UK Higher Education sector – particularly the challenges of institutional block grant funding;
  • An inspirational leader and communicator with a collegiate approach, able to command confidence and credibility with a wide range of partners;
  • The ability to build and deliver a clear strategic vision for Research England, based on a detailed understanding of the landscape;
  • Flexibility to adapt and respond to major developments and manage risk


  • Experience of working on university research policy and knowledge exchange functions and funding


Additional Information

Please tailor your application to show how you meet the criteria listed. You should set out your suitability for the role and how you meet the criteria set out in the person specification.

If you are shortlisted for the role, due diligence will be carried out and your referees are likely to be contacted.

Please note feedback will not be provided after the shortlisting stage. Only candidates who attend an interview will be provided with feedback.

How to Apply

Your application is submitted in two parts.

Both parts must be submitted by 11pm on 23 January 2022 in order for your application to be considered complete. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

Part one: CV and Statement of Suitability

  • You must submit one document which contains a two-page statement of suitability and two-page CV (no more than four sides of A4 in total). The key to a good application is to give the reader specific information about how you meet the criteria for appointment. Think about your knowledge, skills, experience and personal attributes, and take full advantage of the space available. Provide practical evidence that best demonstrates how you meet the criteria listed.
  • Save the document as ‘Surname, First initial – Application
  • Send to with ‘URN 416 – Research England’ in the subject heading.


Part two: Diversity Monitoring and Conflict of Interest Form.

  • You must complete this form. 
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Research England Executive Chair Candidate Pack DRAFT 200821
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