This vacancy has now closed

Top job! Mission Manager - A Fairer Start

  • Full time
  • £47,000 – £57,000
  • Edinburgh
  • Closing 9th July 2021

  • Advertised from 29th June 2021
  • £47k-£57k, plus excellent benefits. This is a full-time role but we offer a range of flexible working arrangements and encourage our people to take advantage of them.


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

A Fairer Start Mission

Our mission is to narrow the outcome gap between children growing up in disadvantage and the national average.

The circumstances of our childhood set us on a trajectory that affects the rest of our lives, with children born into disadvantage being far more likely to experience poorer health, lower earnings, a shorter life expectancy and lower levels of happiness than their peers. Taken together, the early years (ages 0–5) and secondary school period (ages 11–16) account for the development of 80 per cent of this divergence in life outcomes. We know that investing in early childhood can vastly improve outcomes for our poorest children. Yet progress to narrow the gap in early years has stalled, with trends once again worsening, and made even more stark by COVID-19.

Our goal is that, by 2030, the UK will have eliminated the school readiness gap between those born into deprivation and their peers, with similar gains at age 16 among students receiving free school meals.

The role

This role leads on the scoping, design and delivery of Nesta’s work in Scotland on our A Fairer Start mission. You will work proactively to deliver active projects as well as develop a pipeline of partnerships, collaborations and business development opportunities in support of our A Fairer Start mission in Scotland.

You'll take what you know from your existing experience of early years and inequalities to scope innovative projects to help achieve our mission goals. You'll lead on recruiting Scottish partners to work with to test those ideas, drawing from your existing networks in the field.

You will work with our Head of Nesta Scotland (based in Edinburgh) and Mission Director (based in London) as well as colleagues across Nesta’s innovation practices (like data science, design and behavioral science) to pull together multi-disciplinary teams to help improve local outcomes in our mission area and deliver demonstrable impact.

As the point person for this mission in Scotland, this is definitely a role for someone who likes getting their hands dirty and can combine researching with doing.

As a bridge between Nesta in Scotland and the central A Fairer Start mission team, this position will play a critical role in establishing effective ways of working between Nesta’s missions and the team in Scotland, working with the rest of the mission team to ensure the AFS mission has a strong presence in Scotland and that learning from projects in the rest of the UK informs our work in Scotland, and vice versa.

Alongside these core duties you will have the opportunity to support the mission more broadly, either through delivery of projects across the UK and/or through working as a mission representative for critical organisational priorities such as Nesta’s dedication to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Application notes

Closing date: 9 July 2021, 8 a.m.

A full job description is attached below.

To apply, please visit