UKRI NICER Programme: Strategic Advisory Group membership vacancies

Closing date
27 July 2022 at 16:00
Outcomes communicated
End of August 2022
Time commitment
Three meetings per year (half day), occasional contact between for specific topics or issues, opportunity to be voluntarily involved in sub groups (for example, monitoring and evaluation steering group)
Number of positions
Length of service
Until end of programme, December 2024

The opportunity

Are you working in the circular economy? Do you want to be at the forefront of guiding the UK’s pathway to a circular economy?

National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research (NICER) is a four-year £30 million investment from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to move the UK towards a circular economy. We are currently seeking new advisory board members to help advise and steer the programme.

We are seeking applications from industrialists, academics, and individuals working in third sector and government organisations to join the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) for the UKRI NICER programme.

We are looking for individuals, with experience relevant to research or implementation of circular economy principals to guide and advise as theme or subject experts. The group is to have representation and expertise from across the breadth of the UKRI remit, including but not limited to:

  • research of new technologies
  • material science
  • whole systems approaches
  • design
  • supply chains
  • economics
  • ethical considerations
  • natural capital
  • behaviour change
  • life cycle analysis.

As well as broad subject experience, UKRI would like applications from individuals with experience of working with diverse stakeholders, building and influencing diverse and interdisciplinary communities and managing complex research projects.

We welcome applications from those who are based in academia, industry, the third sector or a government organisation.

What you can expect to get out of being on the SAG

While this role is unpaid (except travel and expenses) this position provides applicants with opportunity to explore the latest thinking and developments in circular economy in the UK.

In addition, you would work alongside like-minded individuals that are working towards the same purpose as well as development of advisory skills.

Background to the programme

The UKRI NICER programme is part of the strategic priorities fund which aims to fund interdisciplinary research, ensure connections with government priorities and respond to strategic priorities and opportunities.

NICER is a four-year £30 million investment from UKRI to move the UK towards a circular economy. The programme consists of:

  • five resource-flow specific centres
  • a hub to coordinate
  • collaborative research and development (CR&D) competitions to award funding to small and medium sized enterprise (SMEs) to research, test and develop step-change circular economy approaches.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) manages the programme on behalf of UKRI. The other councils involved are:

  • the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Innovate UK.

The programme is also delivered in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), to ensure research outcomes contribute to the delivery of government policy. The full objectives for the programme can be found at the end of the page.

The programme is formed of one hub to coordinate and add value to the programme and five resource-flow specific centres, these are:

  • the National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Hub (CE-Hub) led by the University of Exeter
  • the Interdisciplinary Textiles Circularity Centre led by the Royal College of Art
  • the Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials led by UCL
  • the Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Chemical Economy led by Loughborough University
  • the Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre in Technology Metals led by the University of Exeter
  • the Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Metal led by Brunel University London.

The Strategic Advisory Group

The Strategic Advisory Group provides strategic advice to the Programme Management Board (PMB) for the UKRI NICER programme. The PMB consists of representatives of the funders across UKRI and Defra in order to ensure that the programme aims and objectives are delivered.

The Strategic Advisory Group provides steer directly to the hub, as well as advice and recommendations to the PMB on:

  • alignment of programme activities with cross-government departmental priorities
  • anticipated programme outcomes including routes to impact and stakeholder mapping and engagement plans
  • identifying opportunities for complementarity with other initiatives, both nationally and internationally, and highlighting programme successes and opportunities
  • effective ways of optimising interdisciplinary research co-ordination and coherence, between the centres, the hub and wider stakeholder community
  • opportunities to maximise the benefits of the programme and support delivery of the programme aims.

Application details

The application should be completed using the SmartSurvey.

We are seeking applications to join the SAG from the autumn meeting on 15 September 2022 on an appointment that will last until the programme closes at the end of 2024.

The group meets three times per year for discussion of topics, but members can be contacted between these times for input on arising issues.

Applications for vacancies open 15 June 2022 and close 16:00 27 July 2022. Please ensure that your application has been submitted before this time.

Applicants are strongly advised to visit the CE-hub website to explore further the scope and programmes of work of the programme investments before applying.

You will not be required to act as representative of your own organisation but rather as someone with relevant expertise who is free of bias.

External links

Programme launch announcement
Centres announcement
CE-hub centres


Applications to this opportunity will be assessed at an internal UKRI panel against the criteria outlined below, while balancing for background and expertise, as well as equality, diversity and inclusion criteria.

Assessment criteria:

  • expertise and experience relevant to the role. This could be research, industrial or policy experience and relate to one or more of the following:
    • advancing knowledge
    • interdisciplinarity
    • delivering impact or translation of research
    • stakeholder engagement
    • collaboration
    • capacity
    • community building
  • ability to take a strategic overview of issues relevant to the programme (the objectives for the programme are shared under the ‘overall objectives’ heading)
  • preparedness to develop, test and constructively challenge UKRI policies, in a flexible, adaptable, multi-stakeholder environment
  • willingness to represent the views of the research, innovation and business community and facilitate two-way communication between the community and UKRI, including advocacy or championing the programme externally.

While not essential, alignment of experience with the programmes of work of the funded NICER grants would be valuable to the role. This might be in terms of resource flows or more cross cutting themes such as whole systems approaches or data mapping etc.

Overall objectives of the National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research (NICER) programme.

Accelerate understanding and solutions to enable circularity of specific resource and waste streams, by:

  • identifying opportunities, and delivering roadmaps for change, through fundamental systems analysis (social, cultural and ethical, environmental, economic, legal and regulatory, technological, behavioural) of example resource flows, including within sector contexts
  • enabling identification, quantification and assessment of benefits, risks, costs and trade-offs associated with the circular economy to enable Government, consumers, and businesses to make evidence-based decisions
  • accelerating new solutions that enable change, for example:
    • design
    • business or retail models
    • materials
    • manufacturing, recycling or remanufacturing processes and technologies
  • offering further understanding of behaviour to increase the relevance and uptake of solutions
  • providing fundamental understanding of feasible transformation pathways where many agents interact to bring about circularity (business, consumers, government).

Provide national leadership, coordinate and drive knowledge exchange across the programme as a whole and with policy, consumer and business stakeholders, by:

  • consolidating cross centre learning and creating a common understanding of definitions and language for the tools used to deliver circularity, for example:
    • life cycle analysis
    • understanding decision making and design
  • undertaking generic whole system research on how to optimise circularity and interrelationships between resource flows with consideration for specific users and their needs
  • bringing in expertise from UKRI-wide programmes and resources in emerging fields such as big data and artificial intelligence.

Ensure research is embedded with stakeholders by involvement of business, policy, consumers and society at every part of the programme, including provision of funding via centres to enable SME involvement.

Last updated: 20 June 2022

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