NERC Science Committee - Chair vacancy

Employer: UKRI - Natural Environment Research Council
Job location
Various UK
Job salary
Attendance allowance
Job term
3 Years
Job closing date

Shortlisting: Early September 2022

Interview Date: 26 September 2022

Number of positions: 1

Start Date: October 2022 ((first meeting 19 & 20 October 2022, to observe)

Would you be interested in an exciting opportunity to lead the NERC Science Committee in contributing to current and future funding priorities and investment?

UKRI-NERC invites applications from across the NERC science remit to lead its Science Committee. This is a great opportunity to support an excellent and sustainable UK environmental science community by leading the Committee in working collegiately to offer advice and recommendations to Council and NERC Head Office on current and future funding priorities and new NERC investment.

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.

Who can apply

Applications are sought from individuals who possess a range of expertise and experience in research and innovation across the higher education sector.  You should have a range of subject matter knowledge appropriate to the Council’s areas of research, innovation, training and capital.

Our ideal candidate will have the enthusiasm and time to commit to advise us on how we can best achieve our Delivery Plan ambitions.

Essential Skills

We are seeking a candidate that can communicate well and can lead the Committee to work collaboratively to support and challenge the Science Committee’s debates and fellow members, and have the following skills:

  • Understanding of the environmental challenges confronting the world based on a deep understanding of environmental science with a whole-systems, solution-focused approach. Recognised expertise as an environmental scientist.

  • A clear, strategic vision for the work of Science Committee

  • The ability to chair a complex, strategic meeting, and ensure that when required, Science Committee reaches agreed decisions.

  • The ability to act impartially and ensure the actions of the Committee are objective and fair across the entire Science remit.

  • Experience in strategic planning and pre-sight of large investment portfolios and programmes involving some or all of: research; innovation; training and skills; scientific infrastructures and services; international partnership.

  • An understanding and appreciation of the role of the NERC institutes alongside that of the Higher Education Institutions

  • The ability to quickly gain the confidence of stakeholders and communities across NERC;

  • Sufficient time to commit to the role. The time commitment for Science Committee Chair is expected to be up to 30 days pa.

The role

The Chair is responsible for leadership of the Committee and for working with the Executive to ensure its overall effectiveness.

  • Ensure Science Committee carries out its business efficiently and effectively
  • Work with the Executive in planning and conducting Committee meetings effectively (including agenda setting)

  • Ensure papers and other information for the Committee are appropriate for the decisions they have to make.
  • Ensure the Committee answers to its Terms of Reference
  • Ensure Science Committee members know their roles and responsibilities
  • Support the members in their involvement with the Committee’s work
  • Represent Committee’s views and outcomes to Council. Attend Council meetings.
  • Lead, in consultation with the Executive, on the Committee’s composition and development
  • Participate in the induction of new members.
  • Undertake an annual assessment of Science Committee members

Science Committee will bring broad strategic perspective and expertise to support the development and delivery of the UKRI-NERC strategic priorities, investments and policies. The Committee will advise the Executive and Council across NERC’s research, innovation, training and national capability portfolio, and will recommend NERC strategic research and innovation investments. NERC will ensure the new Chair has appropriate handover from the previous Chair and advice from Head Office to support introduction to the new role.

Overview: Science Committee – UKRI

Terms of Reference: Science Committee Terms of Reference

Time commitment / Remuneration

The Science Committee Chair is expected to dedicate up to 30 days pa (which includes 4 Science Committee meetings per year and 4 Council meetings per year). Some meetings will be virtual, and some will be face to face. An attendance allowance (for meetings) of £230 per day (if eligible) together with reasonable travel and subsistence costs will be reimbursed in accordance with UKRI’s travel and subsistence policy (PDF, 162KB).

2023 Meeting Dates

  • 26 -27 January 2023
  • 26-27 April 2023
  • 5-6 July 2023
  • 18-19 October 2023

How to apply

Please complete the application form found on the NERC Science Committee Chair vacancy page and email this along with a 2-sided CV. Details on vacancies page.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion

At NERC as part of UKRI we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with the appropriate opportunities and tools to flourish and succeed within an ethical and trusted working environment that enables them to do so and that is attractive and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us.

We also value diversity of thought and experience and are committed to creating systems that value difference so that everyone can feel welcomed, included and nurtured throughout their time with us. 

For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

At NERC as part of UKRI we are proud to be users of the disability confident scheme. We guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for any of our vacancies. There is a section on the application form to indicate if you would like to be considered under this scheme.

Please ensure you have visited the NERC Science Committee Chair vacancy page and read the application pack. If you have any questions, please contact:

Gemma Davies
Governance Manager; Science Committee