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Director of Nuclear Research and Innovation (Secondment)

Job Introduction

There’s never been a more exciting time to be part of the nuclear sector. New opportunities are being created all the time. At NNL, you’ll be in the ideal place to capitalise on this momentum, face new challenges and develop a long, successful and meaningful career.

We’re an organisation that’s here to experiment and push the limits of what’s possible. So, if you’re keen to excel in your chosen field, this is the place to do it. Because at NNL, anything is possible.

The Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO) is operated by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL). Our Director – Nuclear Research and Innovation role is to provide independent strategic advice and guidance to Government across a range of nuclear and energy-related activities. Our purpose is to enhance the deployment of a safe, secure, sustainable, economic and reliable civil nuclear life cycle through high quality, informed and independent advice to Government.  We do this through building strong relationships with Government, Industry, Regulators and Academia and may represent the interests of Government nationally and internationally, as required. NIRO is made up of NNL, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Industry secondees who have the knowledge and experience to achieve this aim.

The nuclear industry faces important challenges. The Energy white paper: Powering our Net Zero Future and the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution expressed a clear need for nuclear to support the UK’s Carbon Budget 6 and Net Zero Carbon Targets.  In addition, the Nuclear Sector Deal (NSD) sets out a shared vision of Government and the nuclear industry to deliver reliable low-carbon power with significant cost-reduction to ensure it remains competitive with other sources of low-carbon technology.  New ideas and innovation will be crucial to meeting these challenges.  NIRO plays a role in advising government on priorities for the delivery of nuclear energy to de-carbonise the UK whilst maintaining the standards expected from the mature UK nuclear industry in the UK.

This is an unrivalled opportunity to play a highly visible and influential role in an organisation that will shape the safe, efficient future of nuclear in the UK and as such we are seeking as diverse a range of candidates as possible.

The role can be based in NIRO’s Birchwood, Warrington office or undertaken remotely from anywhere in the UK, with regular travel to London once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and is a secondment up to 2 years.

Interested candidates are asked to submit a 2-page CV and a 1-2-page statement outlining their: 

  • Motivations for applying for the secondment
  • Suitability for the role, based on the requirements outlined above

Please combine your CV and statement onto one document and upload against the vacancy on the application tracking system.

Role Responsibility

As Director Nuclear Research and Innovation, you’ll lead the development and management of a function providing high quality independent objective advice to Government on a range of technical topics.

This will involve maintaining high quality relationships with Government officials, including operating as lead point of contact for Government on specific projects, and leading the development of advice. In particular, you will lead on the strategic and technical advice being provided to Government on the BEIS Net Zero Energy Innovation Programme (NZIP) and Advanced Nuclear Fund (ANF). As part of this you will provide the support required by Government officials to identify nuclear research priorities and the business cases required to release the funds required to meet those priorities. Facilitating coordination between public sector funders of nuclear R&D will be required. 


As Director, you will deputise for NIRO’s Executive Director on an ad hoc basis. In addition, you will supervise the NIRO team members engaged on the NZIP, ANF and associated support of the refreshed Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) which is also charged with providing independent advice to Government.

The Ideal Candidate

Essential Criteria for Director – Nuclear Research and Innovation

  • Excellent customer and communication skills are important, as is the ability to tailor messages to a variety of audiences. 
  • Thought leadership will be a key ingredient in moving the nuclear sector forward. 
  • As such NIRO roles will be filled from individuals that have a broad range of backgrounds enabling a diversity of thought across the department.
  • Ability to achieve BPSS Clearance 

Desirable Criteria for Director – Nuclear Research and Innovation

  • Comprehensive understanding of national and international nuclear energy policy issues
  • Experience of working constructively and effectively with Government and policy makers, and the ability to engage and work with customers and stakeholders at a senior level

About the Company

Grounded in robust science and decades of experience, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is the authoritative voice in the UK and beyond for technological development within the nuclear power sector.

Our unparalleled understanding of the science, challenges and opportunities makes us an unrivalled authority and partner in the field, providing experts, technologies, and access to cutting-edge facilities to organisations around the world.

Harnessing potential technologies and translating them into to industry-ready solutions means our pioneering approach spearheads international improvement and technological progress.

We work on projects as small as drilling a hole to analyse underground wastes with our integrated micro drilling technology, or as large as developing state-of-the-art power systems for spacecraft, based on radioactive materials

NNL has a vision for Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (ED&I) where NNL aims to be an inclusive workplace that attracts diverse talent through transparent and equal policies and procedures. We want you and the diverse mix of people that we employ, customers that we service and stakeholders that we influence to feel valued. We encourage a workplace culture where everyone can thrive with a sense of belonging.

Recruitment Agency Notice

We operate a strict Preferred Supplier List (PSL) for the provision of recruitment services. Only agencies on our PSL may provide CVs and only when the role is released to them by our recruitment team. We will not accept unsolicited CVs from suppliers not currently on our PSL. We explicitly reserve the right to add candidate details from unsolicited CVs from non-PSL agencies into our own candidate database and to pursue/hire such candidate(s) without any obligation, financial or otherwise, to the agency concerned.

National Nuclear Laboratory

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