You cannot apply for this role

The application deadline has passed or the role has been closed for applications.

Role details

Innovate UK Executive Chair

Application deadline 7 May 2024


UK Research and Innovation
Sponsor department
Department for Science, Innovation & Technology
Digital and Technology
Change Management, Technology / Digital, Transformation
Number of vacancies
Time commitment
5 day(s) per week
per annum
Length of term
4 years
Application deadline
Midday on 7 May 2024

Share this page

The following links open in a new tab

Timeline for this appointment

  1. Opening date

    28 March 2024

  2. Application deadline

    Midday on 7 May 2024

  3. Sifting date

    12 May 2024

  4. Interviews expected to end on

    31 May 2024

Timeline dates are only an estimate and can change

About the role


This is an exciting moment for an inspirational leader to join Innovate UK and drive productivity and sustainable growth throughout the UK.

As the UK’s national innovation agency, Innovate UK has a central role in delivering growth through business-led innovation. If anyone is thinking of starting, growing or investing in an innovation or technology-centred business, we want them to do it in the UK because the UK offers the best possible place to make their vision happen.

As the Executive Chair – effectively the CEO - of Innovate UK you will draw on the UK’s globally recognised strengths in early-stage research; you will work with UKRI’s research councils, other public sector bodies, and businesses up and down the UK to unleash innovation and productivity across our economy and society. You will develop and deliver strategies for accelerating corporate R&D investment while scaling the UK’s most exciting and investable research and tech startups.

Introduction from the Secretary of State

Dear Candidate,

Just over a year ago, the Prime Minister created the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) to help unleash the power of UK research and development and ensure that the UK cements its position as a Science and Technology Superpower, helping to grow our economy, create better jobs, and make bold discoveries which will enable us to live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Innovate UK is a vital part of DSIT’s ability to deliver on our Science Superpower ambition by taking forward the objectives we have set out in the UK Science and Technology Framework. Now a key part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Innovate UK is the UK’s national innovation agency – working to support business-led innovation throughout the country and across all sectors.

As the Innovate UK Executive Chair, you will work with business and industry to support and bring forward pioneering new technologies and startups and maximise the unique talent in the UK research base. You will do this through managing and developing Innovate UK’s extensive portfolio of grants of loans and by promoting and nurturing networks across the research and innovation landscape. You will also play a central role as a senior leader and voice of enterprise and sensible risk taking within UKRI to ensure innovation is central to UKRI’s ways of working.

We encourage applications from outstanding leaders from a diverse range of sectors and backgrounds. I trust you will find the information enclosed in this job pack of interest, and we look forward to receiving your application.

Minister Andrew Griffith MP, Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation

Role description

  • Lead and manage Innovate UK and its staff in the successful delivery of its objectives, providing the inspirational and inclusive leadership and vision to maintain and develop the quality, outputs and impacts of its grants, loans and wider innovation support programmes;
  • Be a core member of the UKRI Executive Team with a responsibility to deliver best value from the overall research and innovation funding and policy system and actively contribute to the development and implementation of UKRI’s strategy;
  • Work collaboratively across UKRI’s Councils to foster interdisciplinary work, maximise innovation and build on collective capabilities, particularly in driving forward cross-UKRI commercialisation opportunities;
  • Work in partnership across UKRI and with DSIT to develop Innovate UK’s strategic approach to innovation funding and delivery, joining up the innovation lifecycle and ensuring that the UK further enhances its position in championing business innovation;
  • Set out a strategy and objectives for Innovate UK, focusing on transforming UK innovation and making the most of Government’s investment in business-led innovation across the UK;
  • Deliver a high-quality service to the innovative businesses who access Innovate UK support, simplifying and streamlining that service offering to make it easier and faster for more businesses to access the help they need to innovate;
  • Maintain close links with the business community, government, academia and international partners to develop and catalyse new ideas and communicate the strategic outputs; and
  • Ensure that UKRI provides a strong, unified voice for science, research and innovation in the UK and globally, both in facilitating the dialogue with government and partners on the world stage

Organisation description

Innovate UK (IUK) is the UK’s innovation agency.  Managing a funding programme of approximately £2.3bn per annum, IUK delivers products, services and money to the UK’s business community to help drive up innovation, accelerate productivity and seize global opportunities for UK Plc.

With a portfolio of investments up and down the country, and a keen eye for opportunities at the leading edge of technology, IUK helps key sectors such as manufacturing, biotech, agri-food and digital to seize the power of revolutionary research, and technologies such as AI, quantum and engineering biology.

IUK has an active network of 335,000 innovators and plans to grow this to one million during 2024. IUK supported 19,500 businesses last year, of which 8,000 were supported for the first time. In addition, IUK partnered with over 22 government departments/agencies, and operates a growing network of Catapult centres, across 50 locations up and down the UK, supporting over 5,000 SMEs. More information on IUK’s portfolio of activity is available here.

Innovate UK as a key part of UKRI

Innovate UK is an integral part of UKRI, the UK’s national funding body for scientific and technological research and development.

Capturing the full benefits of IUK’s leadership position on innovation within UKRI, you will have a platform to work in partnership with the UK’s world class research sector. This partnership is critical to ensuring that the UK’s considerable strength in generating early-stage research and innovation is captured, commercialised and anchored as economic and societal value for British businesses, investors and citizens. Making the most of HMG work on skills, scaleup and regulation, you will help deliver the UK’s goal to become a science and tech superpower by 2030.

The Government is committed to UKRI continuing to evolve, finding synergies and cross-cutting opportunities across the whole organisation. As well as being responsible for Innovate UK’s strategy and operations, you will have a critical role in leading commercialisation and business engagement across the wider scope of UKRI.

Regulation of appointment

This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website 

Person specification

Essential criteria

  • You are a respected senior executive of international standing with relevant experience of, and success in, leading significant business innovation, growth and transformation within technology, scientific or R&D-intensive industries.
  • You possess an in-depth practical understanding of the business innovation landscape in the UK and overseas.
  • You bring proven commercial acumen and financial management experience, with an in-depth understanding of investments, financial products and how to remove barriers to growth in young businesses.
  • You have a proven ability to develop, lead and manage the delivery of strategies that deliver clear organisational outcomes and impact while prioritising value for money and return on investment.
  • You have a thorough understanding of what it takes to move the dial on the live innovation discussions that are happening across the UK’s public and private sectors.
  • You have experience of managing a large and complex organisation, inspiring and driving exceptional performance, building capability where needed, and inspiring and motivating people at all levels.
  • You are a politically astute individual with excellent interpersonal and influencing skills, able to build working relationships with a wide range of partners.
  • As a collaborative member of UKRI’s executive team, you are committed to delivering the Government’s overarching goals for UKRI as a more integrated and impactful organisation that integrates and unlocks the full potential of the UK’s world-leading research and innovation landscape. 

Desirable criteria

  • You will have operational experience in service delivery or equivalent evidence that demonstrates the capability to run Innovate UK effectively. 

Application and selection process

How to apply

Saxton Bampfylde Ltd is acting as an employment agency advisor to UKRI on this appointment. For further information about the role, including details about how to apply, please visit using reference AAYIP. Alternatively telephone +44 (0)20 7227 0880 (during office hours). Applications should be received by noon on Monday 29th April.

Overview of the application process

Public appointments are made on merit following a fair and open competition process which is conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments. We will deal with your application as quickly as possible and will keep you informed at key stages. We aim to conclude the appointment process within three months of the deadline for applications – this is in accordance with the Governance Code.

The assessment process

  1. Ministers are responsible and accountable to Parliament for the public appointments made within their department. As a result, they must be consulted at every stage of the appointments process.

  2. An Advisory Assessment Panel (“Panel”) is appointed by Ministers to assist them in their decision making. The role of the Panel is to decide, objectively, which candidates meet the eligibility criteria for the role.

  3. At the shortlisting meeting the Panel will assess applications against the eligibility criteria and decide which candidates have best met the criteria, who should be recommended for interview. Ministers will then be consulted on the Panel’s recommended shortlist. If you have applied under the Disability Confident Scheme and you meet all the essential criteria, then you will also be invited for an interview.

  4. Once the shortlist has been agreed by Ministers, you will be advised (by e-mail) whether you have been shortlisted. Those shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

  5. The Panel will meet again to interview candidates and determine who is appointable to the role. The Panel may invite you to make a brief presentation at the start of the interview and will go on to question you about your skills and experience, including asking specific questions to assess whether you meet the criteria set out for the post. The Panel will also explore with you any potential conflicts of interest or any other issues arising from your personal and professional history which may impact on an appointment decision.

  6. Details of the panel’s assessment of interviewed candidates are provided to Ministers, including whether they have judged a candidate to be appointable to the role. It is then for Ministers to determine merit and decide who should be appointed. In some circumstances, Ministers may choose not to appoint any candidates and re-run the competition.

  7. Ministers may choose to meet with candidates before deciding the outcome. Candidates should therefore be prepared for a short time gap between interview and a final appointment decision being made. Candidates who have been interviewed will be kept informed of progress.

  8. Once the decision on the appointment has been made, interviewed candidates will be advised of the outcome of their application, including whom they may approach for feedback. Successful candidates will be issued with their Terms & Conditions and a letter of appointment should they agree to take up the position.

Further information about appointments, including tips on applying, can be found on our guidance pages on

Advisory Assessment Panel (AAP)

  • Panel Chair and DSIT Representative: Eleanor Taylor, Director, Science Research and Innovation, DSIT
  • Representatives of Organisation: Nigel Toon, UKRI Board Member
  • Senior Independent Panel Member: Charlotte Croswell, Chair of the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT). 
Advisory Assessment Panels (AAP) are chosen by ministers to assist them in their decision-making. These include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive members of a board (apart from the Chair), the panel will usually include a representative from the public body concerned.
AAP’s perform a number of functions, including agreeing an assessment strategy with ministers, undertaking sifting, carrying out interviews in line with the advertised criteria and deciding objectively who meets the published selection criteria for the role before recommending to ministers which candidates they find appointable. It is then for the minister to decide who to appoint to the role.

Pre-appointment scrutiny

Pre-appointment scrutiny by select committees is an important part of the 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. This scrutiny may involve the relevant select committee requesting and reviewing information from the Department and the Minister’s preferred candidate. The select committee may also choose to hold a pre-appointment hearing.
If you are confirmed as the government’s preferred candidate for this role, the department will be in touch to confirm next steps. In most cases your name and CV will be provided to the relevant select committee in advance of the hearing.  Following a date being agreed for a pre-appointment hearing with the committee you will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of that. Following the hearing, the government will review and respond to the Committee’s report before confirming the appointment. 
Full information can be found in the Cabinet Office’s guidance here. 

Eligibility criteria

In general, you should have the right to work in the UK to be eligible to apply for a public appointment.

There are a small number of specialist roles that are not open to non-British citizens. Any nationality requirements will be specified in the vacancy details.

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. 

You cannot be considered for a public appointment if:

  • you are disqualified from acting as a company director  (under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986);

  • have an unspent conviction on your criminal record;

  • your estate has been sequestrated in Scotland or you enter into a debt arrangement programme under Part 1 of the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 (asp 17) as the debtor or have, under Scots law, granted a trust deed for creditors.

When you apply, you should declare if:

  • you are, or have been, bankrupt or you have made an arrangement with a creditor at any point, including the dates of this. 

  • you are subject to a current police investigation.

You must inform the sponsor department if, during the application process, your circumstances change in respect of any of the above points. 

When you apply you should also declare any relevant interests, highlighting any that you think may call into question your ability to properly discharge the responsibilities of the role you are applying for. You should also declare any other matters which may mean you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Code of Conduct of Board Members (see Outside interests and reputational issues section below)
If you need further advice, please contact

Security clearance

The successful candidate will be required to undertake Baseline Personnel Security Standard checks in line with the Civil Service guidelines. Additional Security Clearance may also be required for certain roles. However, where this applies, candidates will be notified during the appointment process. Further information on National Security Vetting can be found on the website here.

Additional information for candidates

Equality and diversity

We encourage applications from talented individuals from all backgrounds and across the whole of the United Kingdom. Boards of public bodies are most effective when they reflect the diversity of views of the society they serve and this is an important part of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
We collect data about applicants’ characteristics and backgrounds, including information about people’s educational and professional backgrounds, so that we can make sure we are attracting a broad range of people to these roles and that our selection processes are fair for everyone. Without this information, it makes it difficult to see if our outreach is working, if the application process is having an unfair impact on certain groups and whether changes are making a positive difference.
When you submit your application, your responses are collected by the Cabinet Office and the government department(s) managing your application. The data is used to produce management information about the diversity of applicants. You can select “prefer not to say” to any question you do not wish to answer. The information you provide will not be seen by the Advisory Assessment Panel who review applications against the advertised criteria and conduct interviews.

Disability confident

We are a member of the Government’s Disability Confident scheme. We use the Disability Confident scheme symbol, along with other like-minded employers, to show our commitment to good practice in employing people with a disability. The scheme helps recruit and retain disabled people. As part of implementing the scheme, we guarantee an interview for anyone with a disability whose application meets the essential criteria for the role, set out in the advert, and who has asked that their application is considered under the scheme. Indicating that you wish your application to be considered under the scheme will in no way prejudice your application. By ‘essential criteria', we mean that you must provide evidence which demonstrates that you meet the level of competence required under each of the essential criteria, as set out in the job-advert. When you apply you will have the opportunity to select if you would like your application considered under this scheme.

Reasonable adjustments

We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to make sure applicants with disabilities, physical or mental health conditions, or other needs are not substantially disadvantaged when applying for public appointments. This can include changing the recruitment process to enable people who wish to apply to do so.
Some examples of common changes are:
  • ensuring that application forms are available in different or accessible formats;
  • making adaptations to interview locations;
  • allowing candidates to present their skills and experience in a different way;
  • giving additional detailed information on the selection / interview process in advance to allow candidates time to prepare themselves;
  • allowing support workers, for example sign language interpreters;
  • making provision for support animals to attend.
When you apply you will have the opportunity to request reasonable adjustments to the application process.

Principles of public life

The Seven Principles of Public Life (also known as the Nolan Principles) apply to anyone who works as a public office-holder.
1. Selflessness
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.
2. Integrity
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.
3. Objectivity
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.
4. Accountability
Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.
5. Openness
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
6. Honesty
Holders of public office should be truthful.
7. Leadership
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour and treat others with respect. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Code of conduct for board members

The Government expects all holders of public office to work to the highest personal and professional standards. In support of this, all non-executive board members of UK public bodies must abide by the principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. The Code sets out the standards expected from those who serve on the boards of UK public bodies and will form part of your terms and conditions of appointment.

Management of outside interests and consideration of reputational issues

Holders of public office are expected to adhere and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life and the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies. Before you apply you should consider carefully: 
  • any outside interests that you may have, such as shares you may hold in a company providing services to government; 
  • any possible reputational issues arising from your past actions or public statements that you have made; 
  • and/or - any political roles you hold or political campaigns you have supported; 
which may call into question your ability to do the role you are applying for.
You will need to answer relevant questions in relation to these points when making an application. Many conflicts of interest can be satisfactorily resolved and declaring a potential conflict does not prevent you from being interviewed. If you are shortlisted for an interview, the panel will discuss any potential conflicts with you during that interview, including any proposals you may have to mitigate them and record that in their advice to ministers. Alongside your own declaration, we will conduct appropriate checks, as part of which we will consider anything in the public domain related to your conduct or professional capacity. This may include searches of previous public statements and social media, blogs or any other publicly available information. The successful candidate(s) may be required to give up any conflicting interests and their other business and financial interests may be published in line with organisational policies. 
Details of declared political activity will be published when the appointment is announced, as required by the Governance Code (political activity is not a bar to appointment, but must be declared).

Status of appointment

As this is an office holder appointment, you will not become a member of the Civil Service. You will not be subject to the provisions of employment law.

Appointment and tenure of office

Appointments are for the term set out in this advert, with the possibility of re-appointment for a further term, at the discretion of Ministers.  Any re-appointment is subject to satisfactory annual appraisals of performance during the first term in the post. There is no automatic presumption of reappointment; each case should be considered on its own merits, taking into account a number of factors including, but not restricted to, the diversity of the current board and its balance of skills and experience. In most cases, the total time served in post will not exceed more than two terms or ten years in any one post. 

Remuneration, allowances and abatement

Remuneration for this role is treated as employment income and will be subject to tax and National Insurance contributions, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid. 
You can claim reimbursement for reasonable travel and subsistence costs which are properly and necessarily incurred on official business, in line with the travel and subsistence policy and rates for the organisation to which you are applying. However these payments are taxable as earnings and will be subject to tax and national insurance, both of which will be deducted at source under PAYE before you are paid.  

Pension and redundancy

This is an office holder appointment and does not attract any benefits under any Civil Service Pension Scheme. You will not be eligible for redundancy pay as you are not an employee. No other arrangements have been made for compensation upon the end of your term of appointment because an office holder who is appointed for a limited duration would have no expectation of serving beyond that period.

Application feedback

We will notify you of the status of your application. We regret that we are only able to offer detailed feedback to candidates who have been unsuccessful at the interview stage.

How to complain

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy.
Please contact the public appointments team in the first instance if you would like to make a complaint regarding your application at They will acknowledge your complaint upon receipt and respond within 15 working days.

How to complain to Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)

If you are not content with the appointing department’s response you may wish to further complain to the Commissioner at information on how the Commissioner handles complaints can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ website

Data protection

The Cabinet Office will use your data in line with our privacy policy.

Contact details

For further information about the role, including details about how to apply, please visit using reference AAYIP. Alternatively telephone +44 (0)20 7227 0880 (during office hours).