Business Desk Lead – Amsterdam, Valencia, Berlin, Copenhagen

29 Oct 2019
Head of Operational Excellence
Competitive for Not-For-Profit Organisation
As soon as possible
Amsterdam, Valencia, Berlin, Copenhagen


Business Background

EIT Climate-KIC is a knowledge and innovation community established in 2010 and funded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. Our purpose is to tackle climate change through innovation.
We are Europe’s largest public-private partnership with this purpose. At the heart of our endeavour is a pan-European community of innovators and changemakers eager to work on tough challenges, willing to engage in ambitious and unorthodox experiments, and committed to collective learning.

We bring together large and small companies, scientific institutions and universities, city authorities and other public bodies, start-ups, and students. With over 380 formal organisational partners from across 26 countries, we work together on innovation to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its unavoidable impacts. We are united by a commitment to direct the power of creativity and human ingenuity at climate change.

Our mission is to catalyse systemic change for climate action through innovation in areas of human activity that have a critical impact on greenhouse gas emissions – cities, lands, materials and finance – and to create climate-resilient communities. Our Theory of Change is focused on empowering people to change systems – through exploration, experimentation and demonstration – to enable viable alternatives at scale.

At the heart of our approach is ‘systems innovation as a service’ whereby we create a space for a portfolio of strategic innovation options and experiments, oriented around structural levers of change, designed with and for problem owners.
We act as a multi-sided platform, working across boundaries and across sectors, fostering innovation as a catalyst for transformation. We work together with problem owners, like city and regional governments, industry owners and directors, community organisations and policy makers, to orchestrate a portfolio approach to innovation interventions. We facilitate the creation of innovation consortia. We challenge and seek to enrich business model design. We offer tailored support for experimentation, implementation and scaling. We provide funding. We incubate very early stage ideation and pre-seed innovation with a view of contributing to systemic change. We place an emphasis 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.


Purpose of the role

Our mandate is to deliver innovation-as-a-service to our community, which means alongside funding we deliver knowledge and insights through quality data and convening diverse networks across Europe and beyond. Professional grant management is a key capability of EIT Climate-KIC. We strive to achieve effective and efficient use of resources through professional grant management, working to retain the type agility that is essential to EIT Climate-KIC. Given the breathe and depth of the organisation’s scope, it is essential that the work of grant management is undertaken in a way that optimises and focuses time and resources on making an impact on climate change – and effectively manages the amount of administrative resources required to do so. To that end, EIT Climate-KIC is rolling out a suite of distributed services, including what is referred to as the Business Desk.

The Business Desk Lead will coach, collaborate, and provide oversight to ensure EIT Climate-KIC consistently and professionally meets funder obligations and expectations, with a diligent focus on continuous process improvement and a can-do approach to problem-solving. The Business Desk Lead will develop a highly competent team who manage the core processes aligned to our funders, along with the Innovation teams to optimise the time spent on grant management activities. The Business Desk is the core hub of grant management for EIT Climate-KIC and the Business Desk Lead will play an essential role to bring technical and pragmatic operational and strategic guidance to ensure the service is seamless and joined-up with the rest of the organisation’s enabling service ecosystem.

The Business Desk is a pivotal part of our enabling services model and acts as a central interface with the Innovation teams across Climate-KIC. The idea of a desk refers to the combination of specialist people and clear processes that deliver end-to-end support for the business. The desk also includes processes for prioritising work and bringing additional people into the service for peak workloads.

The Business Desk team is aligned to our project delivery teams, working through the following processes:

  • Planning: Supporting Climate-KIC business planning and funder business plans.
  • Commissioning and contracting: including, funding source allocation, Call and selection process governance, contract structure and reporting, and learning.
  • Ongoing delivery support: including, monitoring, quality assurance, change management, procurement process support, learning support.
  • Closure: including, contract closing, reporting, learning.


  • Works cross-organisationally to establish the governance and processes to manage an effective and compliant Business Desk service covering end-to-end grant management (commissioning, contracting, cost, and performance monitoring).
  • Recruits, leads, and supports the development of a high-performing Business Desk team and marshals resources appropriately to manage peak workload periods.
  • Manages evolving external funder requirements, policies, regulations and procedures and ensures practices, policies, and procedures are updated and EIT Climate-KIC people are trained appropriately.
  • Implements and maintains effective systems, tools, and processes to support grant delivery and helps to build tools and services that benefit Climate-KIC in administration and funder reporting.
  • Effectively and inclusively co-ordinates engagement for policy and process development with relevant stakeholders.
  • Leads a continuous improvement programme for the Business Desk function, working with the Head of Operational excellence to ensure it is joined-up, coherent, and synergistic with the enabling services model.

Profile required

  • A relevant academic degree or professional qualification is desirable, alongside the experience outlined below.
  • A project management qualification is desirable.
  • Significant demonstrable relevant experience in public and/or private funding environments.
  • Demonstrated managerial experience in grant administration and contract management.
  • Experience of leading and developing matrix teams preferred.
  • Experience in resource management and establishing workload priorities.
  • Management experience including personnel, budgeting, financial administration, project management, business analytics and reporting.
  • Interest in working in a major European innovation programme and committed to help the programme grow and generate real impact.
  • Interest and/or prior experience in climate change.
  • Grant management and administration, including substantial experience managing call processes, contracting, monitoring, and reporting based on a range of funding models.
  • Proven ability to develop and optimise functions and lead large teams.
  • Experience in designing and implementing operational processes and systems to support business activities.
  • Capable of managing, storing, organising data & knowledge and making it available to others using a variety of IT tools, including Microsoft Office products and Salesforce.
  • Strong and effective communication and analytical capabilities.
  • Strong collaborative approach to working with a proactive service-oriented attitude.
  • Ability to build and maintain effective working relationships across all levels of management- both internally and externally.
  • Mature and effective conflict management.
  • Ability to develop strong, long-term external relationships with diverse people.
  • Fluency in English language combined with excellent written and verbal communication skills; knowledge of other European languages highly desirable.
  • Articulate and dynamic with highly developed interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively, inspire and motivate people.
  • Highly adaptable, flexible and resilient: able to work effectively in ambiguity and complexity and to respond dynamically to change.
  • ‘At home’ working with an international team and in a multi-disciplinary context.
  • Curious, ambitious, respectful and fearless.
  • Ability to keep the big picture in mind while focusing on the basics of implementation.
  • Solutions focused, with a “can-do” attitude.

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.

Our application and recruitment 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 be written in English and consist of:

  • a full curriculum vitae
  • 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.
  • your current salary
  • where you saw this role advertised.

Please send your full application using the “apply now” button above. You should state your full name, followed by the role for which you are applying for in the subject line of the email. The deadline for receipt of applications is 23.59 GMT on the date published on the job advert.

Receipt of your application will be acknowledged by email.

Your application will be reviewed on or around the closing date for the vacancy for which you have applied. If your application is shortlisted for interview, you will be contacted directly by Climate-KIC.

Candidates invited to a first interview, will be notified of the outcome and informed about next stages if they are successful.

NB/ This advertisement will be taken down from the website after the closing date so it is a good idea to copy and keep the text for reference to use should you be invited to interview.

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