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23 Apr 2024

Full-Time MRC Deputy Executive Chair

MRC – Posted by HR UKRI London, England, United Kingdom

Job Description

MRC Deputy Executive Chair

Location: Polaris House, Swindon, Wiltshire or Caxton House, London with travel to both
Salary: £87,565 per annum
Closing date: 2 May 2024

About UKRI

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is a non-departmental public body, bringing together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK, and Research England. UKRI is charged with maximising the value from £8,776 million of the UK Government’s investment in research and innovation annually. This includes £1,368 million that we deliver from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF). As an Arms’ Length Body with a strong voice for research and innovation, both to government and internationally, UKRI is supported and challenged by an independent chair and board. UKRI is principally funded through the Science Budget by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

UKRI leads the overall strategic direction of the majority of the non-defence public sector research and innovation funding in the UK, pushing the frontiers of human knowledge, and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research and business-led innovation. UKRI needs to become more than the sum of its parts capturing synergies from the deep expertise in our disciplinary and domain-specialist councils to deliver cross-cutting activities and steward a world class research and innovation system for the UK. This requires us to transform the way we operate.

The organisation has circa 7,500 employees (in a broad variety of scientific, technical, professional and generalist roles), primarily in the UK, with key activities in London, Swindon, Harwell, Daresbury and Bristol. UKRI was also set up to advise and be a unified voice for transforming the UK R&D&I landscape, getting us to an intensity of 2.4% of GDP, including catalysing much stronger businesses investment in R&D&I. This is important because of the contribution it makes to the economy, to productivity and to tackling society’s most pressing challenges. UKRI enjoys convening power for international R&D&I collaborations, working with other national Governments, world class research establishments and businesses.

About the Medical Research Council (MRC)

Within UKRI, the MRC seeks to improve human health through world-class research. With an annual budget of over £800 m, MRC provides support both to individuals, through fellowships and grants, and to institutions, such as the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology and the Francis Crick Institute. The outcomes of our research span discovery science, improvements in public health and the development of new treatments for common diseases.

For more information about MRC, please visit https://mrc.ukri.org

Purpose of the Role

A key element of the role will be working closely with the Executive Chair, Chief Operating Officer, Directors, and Associate Directors to deliver the MRC’s strategy, while specifically overseeing MRC’s Strategic Partnerships and initiatives, Business Intelligence, Strategic Evaluation and Insight.  You will play a lead role collaborating and influencing within academia, government, industry, charities and other external stakeholders on behalf of MRC, acting as an ambassador for MRC’s strategic direction. You will champion and integrate the development and delivery of cross-cutting strategies, associated funds and programmes. The role will include the requisite delegated authority to formally deputise and represent the Executive Chair as required.  You will also be responsible for the MRC’s contribution to the UKRI strategic objectives of Ideas and Place.

Key Responsibilities

  • Deputise for the MRC Executive Chair, including representing MRC at UKRI and Government fora.
  • Engaging with and influencing stakeholders at the most senior levels outside and across the organisation and in government departments, to build support and confidence in MRC’s delivery plans and activities.
  • Drive and deliver the vision of the MRC across the health and life science research and innovation sector, nationally and internationally.
  • Drive opportunity identification and exploitation for the MRC using a range of tools to capitalise on short-, medium- and long-term opportunities.
  • Lead the development and delivery of evidence-based strategy and the MRC strategic delivery plan to address the diverse policy, healthcare, science and industry drivers aligned to the MRC strategy.
  • Position the MRC as a leading voice in the national and international life science sector.
  • Lead integrated planning across the UKRI councils to optimise pan UKRI and cross council opportunities.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships at a senior level across the public and commercial sector to enhance engagement, consultation and negotiation on strategy related work.
  • Lead the MRC’s contribution to UKRI collective research and innovation strategic themes, programmes and associated funds with a particular focus on UKRIs ‘Ideas’ strategic theme, the Cross Council Responsive Mode scheme, and other cross UKRI strategic initiatives relevant to health.
  • Act as UKRI liaison for the spending review process.
  • Oversee the team responsible for strategic evaluation and insight generation, ensuring that MRC’s activities align with its long-term goals and contribute to impactful outcomes.
  • To lead for the MRC on the UKRI Strategic Objectives: Ideas and Place

You will be expected to 

  • Work closely with the research community and external partners to build commitment to the MRC strategy and collaborate on key areas
  • Embody the ethos, vision and mission of MRC & UKRI, taking individual and collective professional responsibility for championing the MRC agenda within UKRI and proactively implementing initiatives which secure the organisation’s mission.
  • Work at all times with integrity and to the highest professional standards Build co-operative team-based relationships with relevant colleagues across and outside the Research Councils as required.
  • Champion MRC diversity policies and behave in a professional manner.
  • Commit continually to developing personal understanding of serious and complex fraud and system security in the context of research funding and shared services.
  • Line Manage.

About you

You will be assessed against the following throughout the recruitment process:

  • A sustained first-class track record of employment within multiple organisations that are key partners of the MRC. This could include government departments and agencies, UK science funders such as Wellcome and/or major charities, NIHR and NIHR research infrastructure, universities, the NHS or the commercial sector.
  • Substantial and diverse experience of working across the UK science funding landscape.
  • A deep understanding of biomedical science and its applications relevant to the MRC mission.
  • An ability to lead the integration of evaluation, partnership and strategy insight to develop and deliver an evidence-based strategy and delivery plan to address the diverse policy, healthcare, science and industry drivers.
  • An ability to position MRC as a leading voice in the national and international life science sector.
  • An ability to drive opportunity identification and exploitation using a range of tools to capitalise on short-, medium- and long-term opportunities.
  • A proven track record of strategic planning and policy development and an ability to take a broad view across the MRC portfolio in formulating future strategy and priority areas for future investments.
  • Political understanding and the ability to understand and respond to the wider political environment in which MRC operates
  • To work effectively within the governance framework of the MRC
  • An ability to make decisions in a transparent, objective and impartial basis.
  • A developed understanding of the pharma and biotech interests, and commercialisation strategies and the role of research and innovation in delivering UK strategic health and economic objectives
  • Strong emotional intelligence, excellent listening skills; good relationship and influencing skills and the ability to reach out and build consensus and trust.
  • Proven strategic and analytical skills with the ability to analyse and make sense of complex and potentially conflicting information in order to devise effective strategies to deliver desired outcomes and set priorities.
  • Considerable experience of stakeholder management including the ability to work with partners to build effective relationships for mutual benefit, reconcile potentially conflicting interests and influence others not in their management line to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Broad understanding of the research funding system in the UK, including knowledge of the activities and priorities of the other UK Research Councils and Innovate UK.

This is an outline description of the key responsibilities and accountabilities involved in the job. It is not exhaustive and may be revised from time to time.


Choosing to come to work at UKRI means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme, excellent holiday entitlement, access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme.  For more details, visit benefits of working for UKRI.

UKRI is an inclusive employer that values diversity in its workforce. We encourage applications from all individuals without regard to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or age.

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How to Apply

How to Apply To apply, please visit https://www.careersportal.co.uk/UKRI-careers/jobs/deputy-executive-chair-medical-research-council-mrc-4351 and submit your CV and a cover letter outlining your relevant experience and suitability for the role against the full specification via our Careers Portal. The closing date for applications is 23:59 Thursday 2 May 2024. Interviews are expected to take place on 20th or 22nd May 2024.

Job Categories: Equal Opportunities. Job Types: Full-Time. Salaries: 80,000 - 100,000.

Job expires in 2 days.

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