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Senior Futures Programme Manager

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Sustainability, Climate, CSR, EMS
Town/City Swindon, Wiltshire, England
Salary Additional Information £39,748 per annum / Contract type: Open Ended
Salary (Minimum)
Salary (Maximum)
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Senior Level
Deadline 16/01/2022
Company Name UK Research & Innovation
Contact Name
Website Further Details / Applications
UK Research & Innovation  logo
Also Listing:

Your base location will be in Swindon (Polaris House). However, the working location is flexible if you are able to travel to Polaris House when required. The role may require travel, both nationally and internationally.


The role plays a pivotal role in delivering the Futures team objectives as part of achieving NERC’s ambition. The Senior Futures Programme Manager provides day-to-day leadership and management of foresight activities, Futures idea pipeline and perform analysis to identify the emerging trends and market opportunities that are key to UK success. The post holder will lead on analysis and interpretation of data and market intelligence and work closely with UKRI/NERC colleagues and external partners in the development of new business cases, plans and strategies based on the best available evidence. 

Futures team applies a range of foresight toolkits and engage strategic business at C-suit level to gain insights into emerging trends and grand challenges to recommend and secure investment on most promising areas for UK prosperity where environmental sciences can contribute towards a systems solution.

Key responsibilities:

  • Develop and deliver Futures insights activities (foresight such as horizon scanning and scenario analysis and related approaches) to provide NERC with intelligence of longer-term business and industry challenges where environmental science can play a role.
  • Provide credible and high quality analysis and insights to support the development of business cases and strategies via evaluating market research reports and business insights and coordinating the procurement and contract management of relevant resources.  This includes:
    • Delivering NERC’s strategic business engagement plan to gain market insights and to inform development of new research and future NERC strategy.
    • Supporting the development of bold and ambitious NERC-led business cases and programme bids for UKRI collective funds, such as ISCF and SPF. 
    • Working across UKRI and the wider UKRI “family” (e.g. Knowledge Transfer Network and Catapults), public bodies and other organisations to share insights and good practice in market analysis
  • Evaluate and update Futures’ strategic business engagement plan and engage stakeholders via a range of tailored mechanisms, such as interviews, roundtables and business breakfasts.
  • Work closely and collaboratively with the Business Partnerships function, Strategic Programme Generation team and other NERC colleagues to ensure a joined-up approach to business and industry engagement and development of Futures-led programmes and business cases.
  • Develop and implement evaluation activities to demonstrate effectiveness of foresight and business engagement activities. 
  • Contribute to the delivery of NERC’s strategic engagement plan.
  • Participate in cross-UKRI projects and share good practice with counterparts across UKRI.
  • Deputise for the Head of Futures as needed.

Shortlisting and Interview Criteria:

Essential skills: 

  • Ability to analyse business supply chains and markets, understand business challenges and spot opportunities to address them through environmental science and innovation as part of a systems approach.
  • Business literate, with an excellent understanding of how businesses and markets work and how they use scientific research and innovation.
  • Experience in leading and delivering a market intelligence and analysis service with a focus on research and innovation. 
  • Ability to meet ambitious deadlines, manage a diverse range of portfolio simultaneously and work flexibly on own initiative.
  • A track record of successful programme / portfolio management of research or innovation activities undertaken in collaboration with a range of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to establish effective working relationships and networks with a range of internal and external stakeholders at all levels, and to use these to deliver outcomes for the organisation.
  • Excellent team working skills, and experience of encouraging a collaborative approach within and across teams and organisations; including recognising the contribution of individuals and enabling them to realise their potential.
  • Ability to absorb, evaluate and communicate complex information and new concepts in language appropriate to the audience.
  • Ability to prepare briefings and communicate effectively (both verbal and written) to a wide range of audience.

Desirable skills: 

  • Passion for and understanding of the UK research and innovation ecosystem – including UKRI and NERC roles, stakeholders and the political environment we operate in. 
  • Passion for and understanding of how NERC science and innovation contributes solutions to the economy and society – our ‘offer’ to Government Strategies and businesses 
  • Experience in developing successful business cases or funding proposals.
  • Experience in organising workshops, events and conferences in person or online.
  • Able to demonstrate flexibility in working approach to meet changing business priorities.

About National Environmental Research Council (NERC) 

NERC is the UK's leading funder of environmental science. Our scientists study and monitor the physical, chemical and biological processes on which our planet and life itself depends – from pole to pole, to the deep Earth and oceans, to the atmosphere and space. The science we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future UK prosperity by contributing to a safe, healthy, productive nation. Many programmes involve collaborations with national and international partners to tackle large-scale environmental science challenges, including those faced by developing countries. 

As well as research, innovation and training are supported from the NERC core budget. There are exciting emerging opportunities from cross-UKRI funds to develop interdisciplinary programmes enabling environmental researchers to lead and collaborate in major projects. This advances knowledge and has significant potential for delivering economic impact. 

For more information about NERC, see: https://nerc.ukri.org 

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation. 

More information can be found at www.ukri.org.  

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 
How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

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