Director for Commercialisation of Research: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

The creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) represents the largest reform of the research and innovation funding landscape in the last 50 years. As a new, independent, non-departmental public body, UKRI brings together the functions of the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK, and the research and knowledge exchange functions of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (to be known as Research England). UK Research and Innovation was created via the Higher Education and Research Act, which received royal assent on 27 April 2017.

UKRI seeks to maximise value from government’s investment in research and innovation of over £6bn per annum growing to £8bn by 2020, and will advise the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the balance of funding between research disciplines. It leads the overall strategic direction of research and innovation funding in the UK, pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through blue skies research, and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research and business-led innovation. 

A key part of UKRI’s ambition is to ensure that investments in research and innovation generate economic impact through the commercialisation of research; this is the process by which new or improved products, processes and services are brought to market.  This is reliant on new ideas, with some of the most valuable and significant of these being driven by investment in R&D – both in publicly-funded research organisations, such as universities and institutes, and in businesses.


As director for commercialisation of research, you will lead UKRI’s activity in the commercialisation of research from the research base.  You will provide vision and leadership for how UKRI leads the world in harnessing and exploiting research – irrespective of the source of its original funding – in order to deliver economic impact for the UK. 

You will focus on commercialisation which involves the research base, including the people, infrastructure , outputs and ideas, and assets which flow from it. This is complementary to the work led by Innovate UK on business-led innovation (much of which does not involve the research base). It is also complementary to the work of the Research Councils and Research England in driving high quality research in the first place. 

You will work closely with, and report to, the Executive Chair of EPSRC who is the assigned UKRI sponsor and champion of research commercialisation.  You will lead a small team hosted within EPSRC. 

Key Responsibilities – you will:

provide strategic leadership, vision and drive for UKRI’s ambitions in commercialising research

lead a range of initiatives and work-streams, which includes working across UKRI to ensure an accessible continuum of responsive funding for translation and commercialisation

ensuring innovative businesses can access the finance and support they need to grow

supporting a new cadre of individuals and teams with the skills to commercialise research

leveraging UKRI’s infrastructure and facilities assets to boost commercialisation

contributing towards strong inward R&D investment as part of the UK ambition for 2.4% GDP in research and innovation

building on our strengths to become best-in-class in engaging with businesses to support commercialisation

 leading the way in identifying and supporting priority technologies

lead and oversee the success of your area from plans to the realisation of benefits

work appropriately with the UKRI community to ensure that partners understand and complement our plans and approaches and to ensure that UKRI is working effectively within the broader research and innovation ecosystem 

work closely with peers across UKRI to ensure cohesive and integrated approaches that realise the benefits of UKRI as a whole

engage with and contribute to the development of UKRI-wide visions, strategies, and investment approaches for research and innovation

contribute to UKRI’s success through the appropriate participation in key strategy and governance structures with colleagues, lead the effective implementation of  UKRI’s transformation programme, embedding into the organisation a set of common values and approaches that help turn UKRI’s vision into reality

line-manage one Deputy Director.

Key Relationships include:

EPSRC Executive Chair, and other Executive Chairs across UKRI

UKRI Strategy Director

Directors of research and innovation or equivalent across UKRI

Partners within the UKRI stakeholder community including

University strategists, typically pro-Vice Chancellor

University commercialisation offices

Representative or other organisations with an interest in thriving business and economic success, such as the British Business Bank, the CBI, Institute of Directors

Key leaders of research and innovation in business partners

Relevant government departments, including the Department for International Trade and the Science and Innovation Network

Venture capitalist organisations.

Vision and Values - in undertaking this role, you will:

subscribe to the ethos, vision and mission of UKRI, taking individual and collective professional responsibility for championing 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 UKRI as required

uphold UKRI 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.

Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing over £850 million a year in a broad range of subjects from mathematics to materials science and from information technology to structural engineering. Further details can be found via the following links:


Facts about EPSRC


This role is also available on secondment.

Closing date: 
Friday, August 9, 2019