AIRTO – the Association of Innovation, Research & Technology Organisations – which represents the UK’s thriving Innovation, Research & Technology (IRT) sector is seeking to appoint a new Government Affairs Manager on a secondment basis, to work with and to support AIRTO’s Executive Director. This is an ideal development opportunity for an individual from within the AIRTO membership base. The secondment is being created in recognition of the significant increase in workload undertaken by AIRTO in recent months, on behalf of its membership.
AIRTO has recently been successful in achieving more profile for its members via a number of initiatives including the launch of a number of position papers, including those on Gearing up to 2.4% and More D!, and in the role the IRT sector has played in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to support such initiatives in the future, the AIRTO Board considers that it needs to grow its team, and considers that this secondment opportunity can benefit AIRTO, the individual, and the member organisation alike. The successful candidate will benefit from senior industry and government interaction at an exciting period for the IRT sector, as we continue on delivering the R&D and innovation elements of the Industrial Strategy with renewed vigour as part of the government’s call to help the UK ‘Build back better’.
The successful candidate will have the opportunity to develop thought leadership for the IRT sector, and to develop collaborative activities and initiatives with government stakeholders, and across the AIRTO community. The successful candidate will hold an interest in public policy in relation to science, engineering and innovation, and they will be able to demonstrate an entrepreneurial flair for spotting new opportunities. The location for the role is flexible, and the duration of the secondment is ideally suited to a candidate seeking a position for 6 – 12 months, by mutual agreement. A part-time secondment would be considered. Terms and conditions will be agreed with the successful candidate’s employer, as appropriate.
This secondment opportunity will be building on the excellent work of NNL’s Lorien Howarth who has been seconded to AIRTO since the summer of 2019. Speaking about her experience of undertaking this role for AIRTO, Lorien says:
“Joining AIRTO as a secondee has been a really varied and interesting experience. The AIRTO membership is a crucial part of the innovation ecosystem and I have been impressed by the wealth of capability that exists across multiple sectors and all parts of the UK. Working on policy sprints and keeping abreast of numerous government consultations and parliamentary inquiries has been fast-paced and a superb opportunity to elevate my knowledge of policy development, and the importance of stakeholder engagement both within government and many other allied organisations. It is clear that the IRT sector can be instrumental in helping the crucial economic recovery of the country post-Covid 19. I am grateful to the AIRTO team for making me so welcome and involving me in all aspects of their work and I hope to remain a part of their endeavours going forward. I would strongly encourage other member organisations to put forward suitable candidates for this position.”
This role offers the opportunity for development and learning, complemented by mentoring, knowledge sharing and coaching from experienced colleagues, and working within a membership association serving a range of highly regarded IRT sector organisations.
The post holder will develop initiatives to support our members by championing the sector to government departments, agencies, industry and policy makers. The role will include:
- Building relationships with key staff from member organisations who engage with AIRTO;
• Identifying new opportunities for members to engage in shaping public policy;
• Maintaining a watching brief for opportunities to engage with national innovation strategies for key industry sectors e.g. agri-food, built environment, energy, transport etc.;
• Assisting initiatives to research, analyse/evaluate and build the evidence base to demonstrate the strength of the IRT sector, by liaising with our members to source success stories, e.g. for inclusion in AIRTO consultation responses, opinion pieces and policy material;
• Developing and enhancing member initiatives and platforms which collectively project the IRT community to government and industry audiences e.g. through stimulating Interest Group initiatives and activities.
The candidate should be educated to degree level (minimum), preferably in a scientific, engineering, policy or economics discipline. Experience of working in the IRT sector, and having an understanding of the key industrial sectors and science/technology areas for the UK would be an advantage but is not essential. Evidence of an ability to drive development of new initiatives, and an ability to ‘sell’ ideas is desirable. The candidate should have a strong interest in promoting the importance of the sector for the UK. Strong and confident verbal and written communication skills are essential, as is a proven aptitude to negotiate and influence others. The successful candidate will be able to invoke confidence and credibility in their understanding of members’ businesses and the industry sectors that they operate in.
The IRT sector provides vital services for a wide range of industries and companies, both large and small. This support accelerates growth, aids competitiveness and anchors high value activities in the UK. The value of this activity was recently identified and documented in a 2014 report commissioned by AIRTO and undertaken by Oxford Economics, which found that our sector:
- Has tripled turnover to £6.9bn per annum since 2006, generating over £32bn impact
• Contributes >2.3% UK Gross Value Added
• Consumes just 0.3% of UK Government spend!
• Employs >57,000 people, equal to the total academic staff of the Russell Group, and more than Germany’s Fraunhofer Institutes
A role description can be found AIRTO Secondment Opportunity Role Description September 2020, and member organisations are invited to nominate staff for this exciting career development opportunity by 12 October 2020. An interview process will be conducted to select the successful candidate, with an intent for the activity to be commenced as soon as practicably possible.
Informal inquiries are welcomed.
To nominate a member of staff, please submit the candidate’s CV with covering letter to Dr Jane Gate, Executive Director, AIRTO by 12 October 2020: firstname.lastname@example.org