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Innovation Unit Business Manager

South Kensington, London (Greater) (GB)
£37,230 per annum
Closing date
29 Mar 2024

About Us
We are a world-class visitor attraction and leading science research centre. We use the Museum's unique collections and our unrivalled expertise to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world today. We care for more than 80 million objects spanning billions of years and welcome more than five million visitors annually and 16 million visits to our website.  

Today the Museum is more relevant and influential than ever. By attracting people from a range of backgrounds to work for us, we can continue to look at the world with fresh eyes and find new ways of doing things.

We employ 900 staff in a variety of roles, all united by our vision of a future where people and planet thrive. We need everyone to have the passion and drive to help us with our mission to create advocates for our planet and inspire millions to care about the natural world.

This is an exciting time to join the Museum as we have secured investment from the UK Government to build a new science and digitisation centre at Thames Valley Science Park, University of Reading.  The purpose-built centre will house much of the Museum's collection and will include laboratories, digitisation suites, collaborative research spaces, conservation labs and workspaces.

Diversity and inclusion matter to us.

Our vision is of a future where both people and the planet thrive. Diversity is one of our core values and we strive to build a workplace where everyone feels a sense of belonging. All new staff who join us learn about the importance of diversity and inclusion to the Museum and how to contribute to creating an inclusive environment.

We know we have more to do, but we are committed to ensuring that everyone who works at the Museum feels they can thrive and feel valued and respected.

Job Summary

The Natural History Museum is accelerating the impact of our science to bend the curve of biodiversity loss and create a future where people and the planet can thrive. The heart of our Vision and Strategy to 2031 creates solutions from, and for, nature. We can generate more impactful solutions if we establish ways to turn our scientific knowledge into scaled products, services and data to produce real-world societal, environmental, and economic value.

The newly formed Innovation Unit at NHM aims to create a pipeline of science-based opportunities, taking ideas from proof-of-concept to market ready products and services.  This will build on our existing science commercialization portfolio of consultancy, research contracts, and technical services by finding new and exciting ways to exploit our Intellectual Property (IP) assets and inhouse capabilities, for example via product development, data licensing or new venture creation.

The Innovation Unit Business Manager will be responsible for overseeing the general operations and successful delivery of the Innovation Unit’s portfolio of live consultancy and research contracts, covering fields of bio and geosciences, scientific imaging and analysis, and molecular diagnostics.  Our customers range from governments to global multinationals, and our projects from small-scale consultancy to long-term industry collaboration.

Core operational responsibilities include leading on the composition and submission of engaging pitches/bids to potential clients, creating fee and resource models, negotiating contracts, project coordination, and monitoring contract performance.

Ideal for a dynamic self-starter with a ‘can do’ attitude who thrives in a fast-paced environment, the role offers real variety and scope for development. Expect on-the-job learning opportunities, supported via training, relating to commercialisation of IP and technology transfer. A background in science is desirable, but a passion for leveraging science's potential to address society's significant challenges is essential.

Main responsibilities:

  • Business management: Oversee the operations of the Museum’s science consultancy & services business, fuelling revenue expansion through the enhancement of current initiatives and the pursuit of innovative business opportunities.
  • Project performance management: Be the main point of contact for commercial and administrative matters for the active contract portfolio. Collaborate closely with key stakeholders to track project advancements, ensuring timely and budget-compliant delivery. Address any contract-related challenges with finesse, applying professional judgment to determine optimal solutions.
  • Project scoping lead: Work with science colleagues to coordinate the submission of high-quality commercial funding-proposals aligned to the Museum’s strategic objectives.
  • Contract negotiation: Take the lead as the primary contact for client negotiations on new consultancy or research contracts. Collaborate with the Museum's legal team and Innovation Unit colleagues when necessary, ensuring that all agreements are both compliant and advantageous, representing significant value to the Museum.
  • Reporting: Oversee financial reconciliation of projects and reporting of the Science commercial business.
  • Business optimisation: Collaborate with cross-functional teams, including legal, finance, research administration, and compliance, to ensure alignment, mitigate risk, and drive efficiency.
  • Planning: Work with Innovation Unit colleagues and Museum scientists to help create and implement business plans for science commercial activities.
  • Intellectual property: Work closely with Innovation Unit colleagues to identify potential IP assets arising from research contracts.
  • Line management: Line manage the Innovation Unit Business Coordinator.

Person Specification


  • Relevant experience/qualifications from any of the following: science, business development, technology transfer, project management, financial administration.
  • You need strong numeracy skills and you know how to make spreadsheets do the heavy lifting.
  • You’re an engaging 'people person' who can skilfully build positive relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders.
  • You’re able to coordinate teams and communicate openly with a dynamic style.
  • You love to find solutions where there are problems and resolution where this is conflict.
  • Project/budget/time management comes easily. 
  • You have an excellent eye for detail. Business acumen and commercial awareness are natural assets of yours. You are adaptable and have a determination to get things done.
  • You have a strong desire for learning and developing.
  • You have a passion for science and creating positive impact.


  • Experience of science commercialisation would be advantageous.
  • Previous involvement in business planning, budget preparation, or drafting client proposals is preferable.
  • Familiarity with contract negotiations and related legal considerations is highly desirable.

Career Development Opportunities

Depending on the successful applicant’s performance, aspirations and the needs of the business, various development areas may present themselves, for example:

  • Negotiation and management of high-value, multi-stakeholder collaborations.
  • In-depth understanding of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and how to identify, protect, and exploit IP. 
  • Direct involvement with science innovation, productisation and commercialisation.

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