This vacancy has now closed

Top job! Head of Nesta Scotland

  • Full time
  • £68,000 – £77,000
  • Edinburgh Scotland, Hybrid working
  • Closing 15th February 2023

  • Advertised from 25th January 2023
  • Plus excellent benefits


We are recruiting for a Head of Nesta Scotland

We are a UK-wide charity with dedicated offices in Edinburgh, Cardiff and London. Nesta Scotland is integral to delivering impact at scale through our strategy.

About Nesta

We are Nesta, the UK’s innovation agency for social good. We design, test and scale solutions to society’s biggest problems. Our three missions are to give every child a fair start, help people live healthy lives, and create a sustainable future where the economy works for both people and the planet.

For over 20 years, we have worked to support, encourage and inspire innovation. We work in three roles: as an innovation partner working with frontline organisations to design and test new solutions, as a venture builder supporting new and early stage businesses, and as a system shaper creating the conditions for innovation.

Harnessing the rigour of science and the creativity of design, we work relentlessly to change millions of lives for the better. Find out more at

Our Scotland team operates alongside our central mission teams to deliver Nesta’s strategic aims in Scotland.

The Head of Nesta Scotland will work closely with Mission Directors and a dedicated Mission Manager for each mission based in Scotland.

About the role

The Head of Nesta Scotland role has several areas of responsibility:

Scotland lead: Being the “face of” Nesta in Scotland, supporting the development of impactful partnerships alongside other teams at Nesta, and acting as the expert on the policy, innovation and operating environment in Scotland.

· Responsible for being the senior point of contact for the Nesta team in Scotland and the public face of Nesta to media and high level stakeholders (eg: government, industry, academia and potential partner organisations);

· Write, edit and/or review thought leadership and policy content for a range of audiences, working with the Communications team as part of a broader communications strategy for Scotland

· Proactively championing Nesta, our missions and issues to wider audiences through media and stakeholder engagement;

· Proactively identifying and reactively responding to mission-aligned opportunities with key partners in Scotland to amplify our impact.

· Working closely with other leaders at Nesta and representing the interests of the Scotland team in leadership decisions to deliver against our strategic goals.

Driving impact at scale: Understanding how impact gets delivered at scale in relation to each of our missions in Scotland, building strong routes to working with the Scottish Government and other key partners.

· Develop and deliver on a strategy to drive impact on our missions in Scotland, including through close work with the Scottish Government;

· Work with Mission Directors and other teams at Nesta to identify opportunities to deliver on our strategies in Scotland;

· Work with mission teams to help develop robust evidence-based policy recommendations for Scotland and to effectively communicate those with government partners;

· Work with Mission Managers to build scaling into their projects from the outset and help them to dock into the right people, processes, and networks to stand the best chance of this being a success.

Office manager: Being responsible for making sure Nesta staff based in Scotland have a great home office, a safe and enjoyable working environment, and ample pastoral support at work. Oversight and responsibility for the Scottish operating budget.

· Make sure we are compliant with the terms of our lease;

· Make sure the office environment enables people to do their work;

· Make sure people feel safe and valued in the office;

· Resolve any disputes or issues (with appropriate help) that arise in relation to the office or staff;

· Ensure the team has and uses its social budget.

Team lead: Making sure Nesta staff in Scotland feel connected to colleagues across Nesta, are up-to-speed on matters that affect them at Nesta, develop professionally within their roles and are able to do their jobs well.

· Support staff in the delivery of their work, helping them to navigate uncertainty and find productive ways forward;

· Facilitate relationships between mission team colleagues and influential stakeholders. For example, by asking higher-level government contacts for an introduction to those at working level in a Department;

· Support colleagues to develop professionally, particularly in your areas of expertise.

The person

Preferred qualification and experience:

· Experience working in or with the Scottish Government and/or other key decision makers in Scotland and navigating the Scottish operating environment;

· Strong understanding of how the Scottish Government works and ways to influence it;

· Experience of communicating to a wider audience via media or other routes;

· Excellent management of high-level stakeholder relationships and networking skills;

· Ability to set out a clear strategy and convince others of a recommended strategic direction;

· Experience of how to navigate internal relationships and work effectively with a wider variety of teams to get work done;

· Excellent team management and resource management skills;

· Ability to interpret evidence, draw conclusions and recommendations and communicate these effectively internally and externally;

· (Not essential) Expertise in at least one of Nesta’s mission areas.

· Strong ability to manage and develop yourself at work. You demonstrate high levels of initiative and willingness to take responsibility for your own workload and professional development.

What we offer

Salary: £68k-£77k plus array of benefits, including private medical insurance, dental insurance, the ability to buy and sell annual leave, eyecare vouchers and more

Location: This role is based in Edinburgh. We offer flexibility for our people to work remotely, but expect everyone to work from a Nesta office two days per week and be available for key internal and external meetings.

Term: Permanent

Hours: This is a full-time role but we offer a range of flexible working arrangements and encourage our people to take advantage of them. Many do.

Reports to: Deputy Chief Programmes Officer, Nesta

Application notes

Making an application

To apply please visit our website

Please submit your application before 08:00am on the 15th February 2023.

First stage interviews will take place w/c 27th Feb 2023.

Second stage interviews will take place w/c 6th and 13th March 2023.

At Nesta, we believe that a diverse workforce leads to an organisation that is more innovative, more creative and gets better results.

We want our workforce to represent the diversity of the people and communities we serve. We also want our workplace to be one where different experiences, expertise and perspectives are valued, and where everyone is encouraged to grow and develop.

This means that when we are recruiting, we actively seek to reach a diverse pool of candidates. It also means that we are happy to consider any reasonable adjustments that potential employees may need to in order to be successful.