Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS
210000J8 Requisition #

Director of Policy, Ethics and Governance
MRC Operations and Governance Directorate

This is an exciting and rare opportunity to be a key member of the senior leadership team with a chance to shape and influence across MRC, UKRI, nationally and internationally.

Role Purpose

  • Contribute to the effective running of MRC as an important member of the senior leadership team, reporting direct to the Executive Chair 
  • Provide national leadership on selected policy areas relevant to MRC, actively engaging with stakeholders across UKRI, government departments, learned societies and other medical research funders and agencies.
  • Provide leadership for MRC in research and corporate ethics and research integrity, developing and promoting policies and interventions to improve research quality and conduct, both nationally and internationally.
  • Oversee the MRC Council secretariat, liaising effectively with Council members and ensuring the highest standards of governance. 

About Us

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is an independent, non-departmental public body created in April 2018 with government investment in research and innovation of over £6bn per annum.  UKRI brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. 

UKRI employs 7,200 staff who support and deliver some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects. We work collaboratively with industry and academia. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research and business-led innovation. 

Within UKRI, the Medical Research Council (MRC) seeks to improve human health through world-class research. With an annual budget of over £800 m, MRC provides support both to individuals, through fellowships and grants, and to institutions, such as the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology and the Francis Crick Institute. The outcomes of our research span discovery science, improvements in public health and the development of new treatments for common diseases. 

Key Responsibilities

  • Implementing and influencing  new organisational policy, helping to ensure adoption and measuring effectiveness 
  • Contribute effectively (leading where appropriate) to UKRI policy on biomedical, health and personal data ethics and on the responsible use of animals in research
  • Maintain engagement with policy stakeholders within UKRI, other research organisations, academies, learned societies and government departments  
  • Convene workshops on key issues of policy and governance and ensure that outputs are disseminated widely through publications and other fora 
  • Responsibility for approximately 20 staff spread across several teams, with direct line management for 4 staff 
  • Interface with internal and external stakeholders to inform and help develop public policy
  • Promote the MRC staff shared values: Integrity, Collaboration, Valuing People, Compassionate Leadership, Excellence and Diversity
  • Manage or oversee the relationship with MRC funded bodies in pursuit of policy aims (e.g. NC3Rs, Understanding Animal Research, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Understanding Patient Data, Global Forum on Bioethics, ASAPBio) 
  • Ensure the effective running of MRC Council, Management Board and Operations Board, shaping the agendas and managing the secretariat. 
  • Be responsible for accountability, corporate knowledge and transparency of MRC business, via accurate and timely provision of information in response to UKRI, government departments, parliament or the public and via a proactive publication policy, and management of the MRC Archive.
  • Ensure the MRC’s information and knowledge management policies and procedures support the delivery of accountability and transparency requirements. 
  • As a member of MRC management board you will be expected to contribute broadly to the running of the MRC, for example through membership of quinquennial review, appointments and promotion panels, chairing grievance or disciplinary panels, providing mentoring, and representing MRC externally, including as an MRC nominated Board member and deputising for the Executive Chair or Corporate Directors when needed. 

As a member of MRC management board you will be expected to contribute broadly to the running of the MRC, for example through membership of quinquennial review, appointments and promotion panels, chairing grievance or disciplinary panels, providing mentoring, and representing MRC externally, including as an MRC nominated Board member and deputising for the Executive Chair or Corporate Directors when needed.

Shortlisting Criteria

  • A postgraduate degree in a relevant area, or equivalent experience.
  • Extensive experience of working in research management and/or science policy roles. 
  • Broad knowledge and experience of the research funding environment for biomedicine and health research in the UK and an understanding of the work of the MRC. 
  • Experience of developing and implementing policies and assessing their impact. 
  • A track record of building and managing high performing teams.  
  • A proven ability to undertake a major representational role for your organisation and to develop effective relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.

Interview Criteria

  • A clear understanding of the science policy landscape in the UK and the medical research funding environment in the UK and Internationally. 
  • Knowledge of the legislation and regulatory environment affecting biomedical and health research.
  • Excellent oral and written communication.
  • An understanding of key current issues in research culture and biomedical ethics.
  • Familiarity with aspects of effective governance. 
  • Strong interpersonal and influencing skills, able to communicate the organisation’s positions and interests to key partners and decision makers and to represent the organisation authoritatively at the highest levels.
  • The ability to take full responsibility for delivery of results and to deliver to tight externally imposed deadlines.  

Also Desirable:

  • Understanding the requirements for corporate governance in the public sector


If you would like a copy of the Candidate Pack for this role, please email to request this.

We are keen to attract a diverse pool of applicants and particularly encourage women and people from ethnic minority communities to apply, as they are currently under-represented within the MRC at this level.

About MRC 
The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a publicly-funded organisation dedicated to improving human health. We support research across the entire spectrum of medical sciences, in universities and hospitals, in our own units and institutes in the UK.  
For more information about MRC, please visit
How to Apply 
Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit your CV and a covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for MRC and the role you’re applying for. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit your application without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.  You will only be assessed on the content of your CV and covering letter and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 
About UKRI 
Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 
Our organisation brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK 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
How we support EDI in the workforce 
At UKRI we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to flourish and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community.  For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’  
Disability Confident Employer 
As a Disability Confident employer, UKRI will offer an interview to a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for the job (this is the description of the job as set by the employer). To enable us to do this we ask the appropriate questions within the candidate application. 
For more information on this scheme, click here.  

My Profile

Sign in to manage your profile.

Go to Profile

My Submissions

Sign in to track your Submissions.

My Submissions

Similar Listings

Swindon, Wiltshire, England

📁 Professional