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Chair | The Strategic Coherence of ODA-funded Research (SCOR) Board

SCOR Board

This is an opportunity to play a central role in ensuring that research has the maximum impact on international development objectives and outcomes in developing countries. You will ensure the Strategic Coherence of ODA-funded Research (SCOR) Board is the driver of coherence and coordination among the major funders of international development research.

  • Location: Central London

About the role

The Strategic Coherence of ODA-funded Research (SCOR) Board was established in 2018 in response to the resulting need for a standing coordination body to clarify roles and responsibilities, avoid duplication and overlap, and facilitate the exchange of learning in research in international development.

The SCOR Board has two functions – to provide an overall perspective on the funding, expertise and experience of all parts of Government, play a central role in bringing cohesion, collaboration and coordination, and to govern and provide strategic direction to the UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR), a collective of government departments and research funders working in international development.

UKCDR’s current strategy ends in 2022. Next year we will define a new strategy fit for the increasingly complex world we live in post-Brexit and hopefully post pandemic. This provides opportunities for SCOR to continue to drive collaboration and a more joined-up approach, whilst taking the lead on change and innovation in development.

With this in mind, more than ever we must build more connections and stronger relationships in government to continue to build consensus and bring challenge.

Who we are looking for

We are looking for a Chair who can effectively lead the SCOR Board to coordinate, collaborate and influence strategic stakeholders from a range of different sectors including at the highest levels within government.

We are an enthusiastic board, which includes people from major funders of ODA-funded research (FCDO, BEIS, UKRI and DHSC), and Wellcome – the UK’s largest private funder of international health research. The Board brings together Chief Scientific Advisers and directors within these departments with highly regarded independent academics in this sector.

You will work closely with the impressive executive team at UKCDR who are continuing to build and grow UKCDR’s reach and impact. As Chair, you will be someone who speaks the language of scientists as well as politicians to be an effective ambassador, lead on strategic engagement and support UKCDR’s strategy.

Your experience in a senior government leadership role and credibility with the academic and research communities will be critical. You will have knowledge of the HM Government processes and decision making, and be able to demonstrate evidence of successfully influencing within this context. An understanding of the Government funded research processes and International Development Research is also important.

As we represent a diverse range of key national stakeholders with a variety of views, perspectives and interests, the Chair will need to find consensus and align these as far as possible, while remaining an independent and objective voice.

This is a three-year appointment and we expect the time commitment to be about 30 days a year with at least three main board meetings a year.

More information

For further information about the roles, or to arrange a confidential conversation, please contact the executive search team at Peridot Partners:

Jennifer Horan | 07519 070497 | jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk

Grant Taylor | 07958 690184 | grant@peridotpartners.co.uk

Closing date: 9am, Monday 23rd November 2020

Remuneration: £10,000 p.a.

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Dear Candidate,

We, the members of the SCOR Board, are delighted that you are putting yourself forward as Chair of this Board. It is a vital role and a critical time for international development research.

There has been unprecedented progress in global development over the past few decades. The world has managed to halve child mortality and people living in extreme poverty. People around the world are living longer and healthier lives than ever before because there has been a global will to move international development up the agenda. The UK has been at the forefront of this by enshrining 0.7% of our Gross National Income (GNI) to international aid into law, which reflects our commitment to eradicating poverty and improving lives.

However, there is still a way to go, in a world that is rapidly changing and where major development, demographic and environmental transitions are bringing new complex challenges that require different transdisciplinary and innovative approaches. Whilst children continue to die from preventable causes and too many people live in extreme poverty, we now grapple with new and more complex issues on the horizon that threaten our progress. Not only do these challenges pose a threat to development progress and risk pushing people back into poverty, they may lead to increased global insecurity, affecting citizens across the world.

We cannot afford to tackle any of these challenges in isolation. Solutions will only be found by bringing together research teams of scientists, engineers, clinicians, economists, historians, and anthropologists that can integrate different concepts, tools and perspectives. UK universities and research institutions have contributed significantly to these developments through a long tradition of outstanding work for and with developing countries, supported by UK research councils and government departments, alongside other donors.

With development research funding now distributed across several government departments, and in light of considerable uncertainty around the future of the economy, and UK aid spending and research funding more specifically, it is more important than ever that research funding efforts are joined up and not duplicated.

As members of the SCOR Board we help ensure that coordination efforts are impactful and that the UK provides a strong voice of leadership to the international development research community. Working alongside us our new Chair will help build consensus, work towards joint action, and ensure the Board is more than the sum of its parts.

You’ll be someone who speaks the language of scientists as well as that of politicians, and can engage credibly at the highest level of HMG and with the international development research community. You’ll have a good understanding of the challenges facing UK funded development research and be able to handle sensitive issues with tact and skill.

To ensure we have a diverse and inclusive Board with different skills and perspectives, we welcome applications from a wide range of backgrounds.

If you want to discuss if this role is for you, or have any questions, we encourage you to contact our consultants at Peridot Partners.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Prof Peter Piot, Outgoing Independent Chair of SCOR Board

Prof Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Adviser, FCDO

Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Scientific Adviser, DHSC

Harriet Wallace, Director International Science and Innovation BEIS

Prof Andrew Thomson, Chief Executive, AHRC (UKRI representative)

Prof Fiona Watt, Executive Chair, MRC (UKRI representative)

Prof Jeremy Farrar, Director, Wellcome Trust

Prof Jo Beall, Director Cultural Engagement, British Council (Independent Member)

Prof Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) (Independent Member)

UKCDR and the SCOR Board

the UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) is a collective of government departments and reserach funders working in international development.

The SCOR Board provides strategic direction and oversight to UKCDR. UKCDR carries out the strategic projects on behalf of the SCOR Board and acts as the board’s secreatriat.

UKCDR's vision

We believe in accelerating global development through the power of research and knowledge.

For over a decade, we have brought UK research funders together to discuss priorities and coordinate efforts to garner maximum impact.

We are a neutral and impartial entity governed by the Strategic Coherence of ODA-funded Research (SCOR) Board.

UKCDR's strategy

At the core of our 2018-2022 strategy is a principal commitment to data mapping, analysis and foresight, with our remaining activities built upon this strong foundation of knowledge and evidence.

We have four integrated and overlapping aims:

  • Mapping, analysis and foresight
  • Convening for collaboration and joint action
  • Sharing information, learning and best practice
  • A collective voice to shape policy

Our motivation

In recent decades, there has been unprecedented global development progress. Since the 1990s, the world has managed to more than halve the numbers of child deaths and of people living in extreme poverty.

But there is still much progress to be made, in a world that is rapidly changing and where major development, demographic and environmental transitions are bringing new challenges that require different transdisciplinary and innovative approaches.

In 2015, recognising the complexity of the world in which we live, the UK along with 192 leaders across the world agreed on a set of 17 Global Goals to make the world a better place by 2030, by reducing poverty, ending hunger, halting climate change, strengthening global peace, and promoting prosperity.

UK Universities and research institutes have a long tradition of outstanding work in, for and with developing countries. Recognising the value of research, in 2015 the UK government made a dramatic shift within its international development efforts – a yearly incremental rise in aid spend specifically for research from under £400 million in 2015 to over £1.2 billion in 2021.

At UKCDR, we firmly believe that research across disciplines and in partnership with low- and middle-income countries is essential to drive global development progress. This changing funding landscape provides a fantastic opportunity to address the global goals through the generation of knowledge.

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    If you would like an informal conversation about the role you can contact our advising consultants at Peridot Partners:

    Jennifer Horan | 07519 070497 | jennifer@peridotpartners.co.uk

    Grant Taylor | 07958 690184 | grant@peridotpartners.co.uk

    To apply, please submit a CV and supporting statement that clearly outlines your interest and motivation in applying and your suitability for the role against the criteria provided in the person specification.

    Please ensure that your application is emailed to response@peridotpartners.co.uk inserting “Chair, SCOR Board” into the subject field.

    We will send an acknowledgement email within three working days from receipt. If you have not received a response, please check your application has been received by contacting:

    Disabled applicants are invited to contact us in confidence at any point during the recruitment process to discuss steps that could be taken to overcome operational difficulties presented by the job, or if any adjustments or support are required regarding the recruitment process.

    We wish to encourage applications regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, age or religion or belief.

    All applications will be considered solely on merit.


    Closing date: 9am, Monday 23rd November 2020
    Shortlisting: 12-2pm, Monday 30th November
    Preliminary interviews: Thursday 3rd & Friday 4th December
    Final interviews: Monday 7th & Tuesday 8th December

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