Research Specialist – Any Climate-KIC office

Chief Strategy Office
29 Jun 2018
Chief Strategy Officer
As soon as possible
Any EIT Climate-KIC office

Business Background

EIT Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) is the EU’s largest public-private partnership addressing climate change through innovation. Our community consists of over 300 leading partners from business, academia, the public sector and NGOs. Our purpose is to help create a prosperous, inclusive, climate resilient society founded on a circular, zero-carbon economy.

We focus on levers of systemic change, looking for where innovation is most needed to accelerate deep decarbonisation (elimination of fossil fuels and negative carbon) and effective adaptation. EIT Climate-KIC is predominantly grant-funded by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology, a body of the European Union and acts as a platform to work across boundaries and across sectors, fostering innovation as a catalyst for transformation. We:

  • provide funding,
  • facilitate the creation of innovation consortia,
  • work together with our partners to take a portfolio approach to innovation options,
  • challenge and seek to enrich business model design,
  • offer tailored support for experimentation, implementation and scaling, and
  • incubate very early stage ideation and pre-seed innovation.

To make ourselves accessible to key actors and ‘challenge owners’, we work along four priority themes: urban transitions, sustainable land use, sustainable production systems, and decision metrics and climate finance. In all four areas, we place an emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation design, on education as a driver of behavioural change through new skills and capabilities and on policy innovation. We run programmes for students, start-ups and innovators across Europe via centres in major cities and regions, convening a community of excellence in people and organisations.

We balance strategic innovation, aimed at renewing core business models, with a significant portfolio of bottom-up innovation – e.g. through our start-up accelerators – to learn, evaluate and continuously adjust our efforts to impact climate change. Ultimately, we aim to become a leader in systemic innovation that contributes to a paradigm shift from a linear, industrial production system to a circular, regenerative model, leveraging the power of our unique community of innovators and inspiring change beyond it.


Purpose of the role

Climate-KIC has an excellent opportunity to develop a world-class research portfolio that directly influences groups of experiments targeting systems change for deep decarbonisation and resilience. We make choices every day on how best to use Climate-KIC’s resources to create climate impact at the speed and scale we need, and these choices must be informed by research, analysis and learning. At the moment, this does not happen systematically enough.

At the same time, Climate-KIC has commissioned and led some important research exercises and possesses one of the most powerful constellations of climate research partners in its Partnership. The raw ingredients for Climate-KIC to become an important research voice on innovation for climate action are there if combined with skill and vision.

As Climate-KIC’s Research Specialist you will maximise the value of our current research portfolio and design a future programme that can claim significant international influence. You will leverage those world-leading research centres that are part of Climate-KIC’s Partnership and help establish the Climate-KIC brand as one with a strong voice in systems innovation for climate action.

You will be an experienced researcher in areas relevant to systems innovation for climate action, and have a strong grasp of key topics, such as circular economy, sustainable finance, smart specialisation, transitions, and climate resilience. You will also be an effective research communicator, translator, and intermediary and have the interpersonal skills and vision to harness distributed and diverse research capacity.  

You will be a key part of the CSO’s office, working closely with Directors and Heads of different units to create a high performing strategy team.

Key responsibilities

Leadership of Climate-KIC’s research portfolio

  • Provide overarching strategic, technical, outreach and managerial oversight of Climate-KIC’s research portfolio.
  • Have management oversight of collaborative activities with research partners, combining the power of Climate-KIC’s Partners to develop a world-class research function on climate innovation.
  • Ensure Climate-KIC’s research portfolio always has a mark of quality and robustness that supports the overall credibility of our Community.

 Conduct research and analysis

  • Conduct new pieces of research and literature reviews as relevant to Climate-KIC’s theory of change (e.g. around systems innovation, systems change).
  • Write briefings based on research/evidence to support senior management in external engagements.
  • Conduct systematic reviews of Climate-KIC’s historical and recent research to ensure the insights are being considered in the design of new research and innovation activities.
  • Contribute to writing Climate-KIC’s strategy documents and business plans, ensuring that these are based on robust evidence.


  • Working closely with the Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, ensure that research insights are deeply embedded in learning processes and portfolio selection activities.

 Fundraising and funder management

  • Together with colleagues and Climate-KIC Partners, design proposals for research to inform Climate-KIC’s strategy and innovation agenda.
  • Act point of contact with Climate-KIC’s funders.
  • Develop a research unit with an international reputation and in a way that is progressively financially self-sufficient from EIT funding.
  • Oversee and coordinate the completion and submission of reports to funders, and the collation of publications arising from the research programmes

 Research Communications

  • Develop research and research findings to support Climate-KIC’s external communications, including communications campaigns.
  • Ensure Climate-KIC’s research is made available internally and externally in ways that are accessible to difference audiences.
  • Summarise and synthesise elements of our research portfolio into easily digestible formats, including by building on and developing current briefing formats (e.g. Climate Innovation Insights, Daily Planet)

Representation and Management

  • Represent Climate-KIC at external meetings, workshops, seminars and conferences.
  • Take part in internal meetings to ensure Climate-KIC’s research programme and portfolio is represented
  • As appropriate, substitute for the Chief Strategy Officer in internal and external meetings.
  • Line manage interns, temporary staff, consultants and other Climate-KIC staff as appropriate to Climate-KIC’s research programme and portfolio.
  • Oversee the budget dedicate to research and thought leadership, ensuring effective and appropriate management.

Key working relationships

  • Chief Strategy Officer
  • Members of the CSO Office
  • Theme Directors and theme teams
  • Members of the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Unit.
  • Members of the Community Management and Communications team
  • External consultants and service providers


  • Post-graduate academic degree and/or significant qualification and experience in areas relevant to innovation and climate action (a PhD is highly desirable)


  • Considerable experience as a strategic leader of research in complex, multi-stakeholder environments.
  • A track record of conducting and communicating research to have impact.
  • Experience in representing organisations and research consortia in major international conferences and meetings.
  • Experience of working with multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, multi-country and multi-cultural research and policy teams
  • Experience of securing funding for research programmes.

Key skillls

  • Strong research skills, with a track record in designing and apply robust research methodologies.
  • Highly advanced writing and presentation skills in English for multiple audiences.
  • Advanced skills to write for different audiences and to demonstrate thought leadership in diverse domains.
  • Strong articulation and negotiation skills to influence stakeholders (both internal and external) to deliver high-quality work and build long-term relationships
  • Management skills to deal with complex projects and deliver work to deadlines
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent research management skills.

Qualities, Personal style and Approach

  • Committed to EIT Climate-KIC’s vision and mission
  • Strong interpersonal qualities, consistently demonstrating passion, openness, respectfulness and empowering others
  • Highly adaptable and resilient
  • Entrepreneurial and creative mind
  • Impeccable attention to detail
  • Willingness to work with a high degree of intensity during high pressure points in the calendar.

Additional information

Please note that candidates must have the right to work in the EU prior to applying for the position. The successful candidate will normally be based at the nearest EIT Climate-KIC office to where they are currently living.

Application Process

Climate-KIC values diversity and welcomes applications from all suitably qualified candidates regardless of age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or ethnic background.

Your application should consist of a full curriculum vitae and a covering letter describing briefly how your profile, skills and experience meet the criteria outlined in the person specification, and outlining your interest in and vision for the role.

Please send your full application using the “apply now” button above.

We are:

Dynamic • Passionate • Engaging • Open • Inspiring • Excellent • Empowering

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