UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Chair

Body: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
Appointing Department: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sector: Science & Technology
Location: London and Swindon
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £28,000 per annum
Time Requirements: Length of term - 4-5 years, 1 day per week approximately.


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

Sir John Kingman announced as Chair of UK Research and Innovation. The current interim chair of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will take up the role of permanent chair in April this year.

Date: 16/01/2018

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

For the right person, this is an exciting, highly influential role. The Chair will be a key figurehead for UKRI and will be integral to shaping the new organisation and ensuring its success and the UK’s continued leadership globally on research and innovation. They will work with the CEO and the Board, leading UKRI in pursuit of its objectives. The Chair acts as custodian for UKRI’s mission and objectives and is responsible for overall direction and management of UKRI, ensuring that the Board takes an effective governance role.

The creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) represents the largest reform of the research and innovation funding landscape in the last 50 years. As a new, independent, non-departmental public body, it will bring together the functions of the seven Research Councils[1], Innovate UK, and the research and knowledge exchange functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (to be known as Research England). The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA), which underpins these reforms, received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017.

The new body will seek to maximise value from government’s investment in research and innovation of over £6bn per annum, and will advise the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the balance of funding between research disciplines. It will lead the overall strategic direction of research and innovation funding in the UK, managing funds with cross-disciplinary impact and a ‘common research fund’, whilst the Research Councils, Innovate UK, and Research England will continue to provide strategic leadership to their disciplines and thematic areas and continue to control their own delegated budgets.


 The Role:

Key Duties/ Objectives for the UKRI Chair from the launch of UKRI in April 2018

1.         Formulating UKRI strategy – Ensure coherent strategy develops across the organisation on cross-cutting research and innovation priorities.

2.       Work with the CEO to advise the Secretary of State on strategic priorities, the case for investment into BEIS and spending review allocations to the   executive bodies.

3.       Build vital relationships with various partners aimed at realising the potential of UKRI research and business to drive economically beneficial outcomes. In particular engaging with the academic community, Government departments, Parliament and relevant all-party groups as well as other public, private and third sector partners including those outside of the UK to increase the relevance and economic impact of UKRI’s research.

4.       Ensuring the UKRI board takes proper account of guidance provided by the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.

5.       Ensuring that there is coordination and co-operation with the Office for Students, the devolved higher education funding bodies and other key partners

6.       Working with the Senior Independent Members of each Council to ensure that UKRI’s Councils operate effectively and are able to discharge their remits within UKRI.


Specific responsibilities include:

7.              Chair board meetings, typically [eight] times a year, in a way that facilitates the corporate pursuit of UKRI’s objectives and gives due consideration to the interests of all stakeholders across academia and business.

8.              Chair the Appointments Panel and provide advice to the Secretary of State on appointments to the UKRI board. Assessing the performance of the Chief Executive and Board Members.

9.              Chair the Remuneration Committee, which determines Director-level pay policy and contracts, and corporate bonuses, as well as regular attendance at the Audit and Finance Committee and attendance at the Strategy Committee when required.


[1] The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Person Specification

We are looking for an outstanding individual with a passion for and knowledge of research and innovation to become Chair of UKRI.

Applications are sought from candidates who are able to command the confidence of the relevant academic, business, higher education and policy communities, promote effective stakeholder engagement, guide and challenge the development of UKRI’s organisational approach, ensure the organisation is realising the full benefits of reform and drive increased value for money and impact from research and innovation investments.

It is expected that you would be able to demonstrate the following abilities and attributes:

  1. Ability to Chair the Board of a substantial organisation and ability to develop and drive forward strategic direction;
  2. Exercise judgement across a broad spectrum of policy and high-level management issues and deal with complex and difficult discussions with diplomacy and resolve;
  3. Engage credibly with the breadth of UKRI stakeholders at senior level, including Ministers and senior officials within Government;
  4. Show a good understanding of governance and other governing body management issues such as an understanding of compliance and probity as these relate to a publically-funded organisation;
  5. First rate communication and interpersonal skills coupled with a strong intellect and negotiation and influencing capability across a range of stakeholders;
  6. Promote and embed diversity and an inclusive culture appropriate for a dynamic, flexible and innovative body.
  7. Ability to provide constructive challenge to the UKRI Executive and to drive forward change in behaviour and practice across the organisation.

Additional Information

This appointment is subject to a pre appointment hearing by the Science and Technology Select Committee.

How to Apply

Please submit the following documents by email to

  • A Covering Letter
  • A CV
  • Candidates Application Form
  • Diversity Monitoring Form

Please ensure that you include “UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), 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

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)-Chair-Diversity-Monitoring-Form
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