Chief of External Affairs and Communications

Ref: 7105

UK Research and Innovation


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Role coordinated by:

Jaanvi Patel

Senior Researcher

t: +44 (0) 20 3928 7368


Primary Practice Group: Higher Education and Research

Salary & Benefits: TBC

Closing Date: 03/03/2024

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the UK’s largest public funder of research and innovation. We invest more than £8 billion annually to advance our understanding of society and the world around us, and deliver benefits for society, the economy and the environment. Our organisation comprises nine councils – the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK; the seven disciplinary Research Councils; and Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England. Through our Councils and the critical national capabilities provided by our centres, units and institutes, UKRI delivers, supports and champions the creativity and vibrancy of research and innovation in the UK. UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT).

Our 2022-27 strategy emphasises UKRI’s role in delivering national ambitions for the UK as a global leader in research and innovation. Critical to our reputation and effectiveness is ensuring that our mission and strategy are informed, understood, and championed by a complex set of stakeholders. Demonstrating our impact and public value is critical.

To enhance our ability to deliver these imperatives, we now seek to appoint a new position, the Chief of External Affairs and Communications, reporting to our CEO Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser. This role will serve as a member of UKRI’s executive committee and will advise senior leaders right across the organisation. Leading and developing a strong team, this position will focus on delivering integrated communications and engagement across both external and internal audiences. The role requires deep strategic thinking, agility, and the ability proactively to develop and implement strategies that will enhance UKRI’s performance and build an understanding of our role and advocacy from our stakeholder communities.

Candidates will be passionate about our mission and vision and will bring a successful track record of leading the strategic development, implementation, and management of internal and external affairs in a comparably complex context.

UKRI is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. We welcome and strongly encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply for this role. 

An executive search exercise is being undertaken by Perrett Laver who will support UKRI in identifying the widest possible field of qualified candidates and assist in their assessment against the requirements for the role. If you wish to have a conversation about the position, please reach out to Jaanvi Patel at

To apply, or to download further information on the required qualifications, skills and experience for the role, please visit quoting reference 7105. The closing date for applications is Sunday 3rd March at midnight GMT


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For a conversation in confidence or should you require access to these documents in alternative formats, please contact Jaanvi Patel. If you require any reasonable adjustments to assist you in the selection process, please advise us of these so that we can make appropriate arrangements.

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