£110,000 on offer to lead life sciences unit

"Strategic thinker" sought to lead engagement with sector after Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit
Dods Media Library / Louise Haywood-Schiefer

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is offering up to £110,000 for a “strategic thinker” to lead the Office for Life Sciences.

The director will manage around 100 staff who make up the OLS – a unit that straddles BEIS and the Department of Health and Social Care, which champions research, innovation and the use of technology in health and care, and leads government’s engagement with the life sciences’s sector.

They will represent the OLS inside Whitehall and to the life sciences industry and lead delivery of the government’s plans for the sector, including a new Life Sciences Vision published last month.

The vision – which comes four years after the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy – outlines plans to build on the new ways of working from Covid-19 to tackle future disease missions; build on existing science and clinical research infrastructure and harness genomic and health data; support the NHS to purchase and spread innovative technologies more effectively; and create the right business environment for life sciences companies to access finance to grow, manufacture and commercialise their products in the UK.

They will also act as senior responsible officer for the Medicines and Diagnostics Manufacturing Transformation Fund – a £20m pot of capital grant funding businesses to manufacture medicines and diagnostic equipment in the UK. 

“This is an exciting and high-profile role, offering the successful candidate the opportunity to shape and drive forward this important agenda, by building on the experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic, identifying post-EU exit opportunities and working closely with ministers, senior stakeholders and industry partners to galvanise the UK’s life sciences offer and promote the UK as the world’s top life sciences destination,” the job advert says.

“We are looking for an exceptional leader with a passion for the life sciences sector, and a strong track record of turning policy into practical delivery.”

The successful candidate must be a strategic thinker who is “able to lead and manage complex problems in situations with significant uncertainty, seeing the ‘bigger picture’ while being able to quickly understand detailed policy issues, appreciating the needs of potential financing providers, and managing complex negotiations with multiple parties”, according to the job ad.

They must be an established leader with excellent communication and influencing skills and the ability to create a strong network both in and outside government.

And they must have commercial savvy enabling them to “appreciate the needs of multiple parties” in the public and private and public sector and “balance delivery with protecting the interests of the taxpayer and the consumer”.

Experience of the life sciences sector is preferable but not required.

The successful candidate will earn between £93,000 and £110,000 and work in London, Salford or Leeds.

Applications close on 22 August.

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