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Head of Innovation

Role Summary

At a time of political and technological change, the ability of the UK’s businesses to innovate successful has never been more important to our nation’s prosperity. The CBI’s Innovation Directorate plays a central role in shaping UK innovation policy on behalf of our members.

Based at our London office (Cannon Place), the Head of Innovation will be responsible for managing at least two policy professionals dealing with issues that are at the top of the CBI’s agenda such as raising UK  R&D investment to 3% of GDP, increasing the uptake of tried and tested technologies, business-university collaboration, building international innovation links and helping businesses to share best practice.  

The purpose of the role is to ensure bold business-focused innovation policy ideas are heard by senior politicians, business figures and the media. It involves developing policy solutions, clearly and concisely campaigning on these messages, and communicating them to key stakeholders.

To do this successfully you will be required to lead a high performing team, nurturing talent and, where necessary, tackling poor performance. Through your leadership of the team, you will be expected to embed organisational change and generate a team culture and behaviours that reflect the CBI’s strategy.    

In doing this, you will play a vital role in shaping the work of the Innovation Directorate. You will report into the Director of Innovation and Digital. 

Key Responsibilities

Management & leadership responsibilities will include:

  • First line manager for a policy team of at least two, with a mixture of experience and skills
  • Defining project, task and resources allocation within the team
  • Leading on projects
  • Approving team written work
  • Staff appraisals, training requirements etc.

Working with the Innovation Director:

  • Inputting into regular strategy meetings
  • Advising senior staff on team policy issues
  • Internal CBI staff consultation as Head of Group
  • Deputising for Director of Innovation on policy matters as appropriate

Innovation team responsibilities include:

  • Leading the development of long-term strategies and yearly work plans balancing the delivery of proactive policy campaigns and thought leadership with reactive activities arising from a wide-ranging regulatory agenda.
  • Developing and delivering innovative policy solutions that are influential with government and other stakeholders
  • Briefing senior CBI staff to lobby on these issues

Knowledge & Experience

What an individual must know or understand to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements

  • Experience of successfully delivering high impact policy projects that involve balancing the views of a wide range of stakeholders
  • Strong knowledge of UK and EU regulation on innovation, and a general understanding of the broader political landscape at UK and EU level
  • Experience with developing and delivering policy strategies and projects
  • Provided advice/guidance and influence at senior level
  • Highly effective team management
  • Senior-level networks within UK and EU policy-makers and regulators (desirable)


The behaviours and characteristics required to be able to fulfil the role’s requirements

  • Collaborative – Listening, seeking views and sharing information; constructively challenging when appropriate
  • Taking ownership – Ensuring delivery and holding others to account; can influence, irrespective of hierarchy
  • Agile – Proactive and responsive to provide a strong member service; responding positively to shifting priorities
  • Commercial – Awareness of the wider business environment
  • Innovative – Exploring, sharing and integrating best practice; generating new ideas and challenging a mind-set of “what we’ve always done”
  • Analytical – gathering information and using logic to analyse, problem solve, evaluate risk and make decisions

How to apply

For all applications please email your CV and cover letter to The deadline for applications is Friday 8th August. 

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