MEL & Sensemaking Lead – Agri-food sector transformation

06 Dec 2021
Competitive for Not-for-Profit-Organization
As soon as possible
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain



EIT Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) is Europe’s foremost climate innovation initiative. Our mission is to leverage the power of innovation to build a zero-carbon, climate-resilient, just, and inclusive society. Climate-KIC’s strategy, Transformation, in Time, responds to the need for a 1.5° aligned, systemic approach to reversing global warming and developing climate resilience, commensurate with the complexity, scale and requisite pace of response to the climate challenge.

Established in 2010 and headquartered in Amsterdam, we orchestrate a community of more than 400 organisations comprised of large corporations and SMEs, municipal and regional governments, universities and research institutes, as well as non-governmental organisations and uncommon actors. We are an organisation of circa 160 people. We operate out of 13 hubs across Europe and conduct activities in 39 countries globally. We have historically managed €80-100 million per year in grants, provided predominantly by our founder and core funder, the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT). We are transitioning to a multi-funder model with the objective of maintaining a flow of funds of circa €100 million annually to our community and to problem owners to deliver impact.

We use a portfolio approach for developing and deploying innovation, entrepreneurship, education and community mobilisation to unlock structural change in systems where emissions are tough to reduce – cities, land-use, industry, and finance. We do so by combining activities and innovation outputs from applied research, learning and reskilling, start-up incubation, movement building and innovation ecosystem building. Over the last ten years we have supported more than 4,500 businesses, in over 50 countries, that have gone on to attract over €1.5 bln of capital and featured regularly in the Forbes 30 under 30 European list. Our education programmes have influenced the lives of over 45,000 people who have launched a movement building alumni community. In 2019, we launched Deep Demonstrations, a demand-led methodology for composing innovation portfolios across technology, policy, finance, social change, citizen engagement, and other relevant levers of change, in order to generate options and test transition pathways for place-based systems and value chains.

Our goals for 2027 are to ensure that 200,000 people across Europe are equipped with enhanced climate-relevant innovation and entrepreneurial skills; 10 million people benefit from improved resilience to the impacts of climate change; 50 cities, countries, regions and large scale businesses across Europe are achieving net-zero as a result of partnership with EIT Climate-KIC; 500 million tons of CO2 eq. emissions have been avoided cumulatively (approx. 1/10 annual EU production) and we have succeeded in leveraging €100 bln to scale-up innovations tackling 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

Deep Demonstrations are a key part of our Transformation, in Time strategy, intended to show that fast and large-scale change is possible to accelerate decarbonisation and strengthen resilience in cities, regions, countries and businesses. They are intended to deliver climate impact as individual programmes and as the core of our work for transformation of economic paradigms and business models, global and regional value chains and local ecosystems.

The MEL & Sensemaking Lead – Ireland Agri-food sector transformation is responsible for actively orchestrating the monitoring, evaluation and learning of the Ireland Deep Demonstration. Climate-KIC’s theory of change starts by acknowledging that the systems we seek to change – such as the agri-food system in Ireland – are ‘complex adaptive’ systems. Changing them involves innovation at the system level – probing multiple levers of change (innovation options) simultaneously in the land-agri-food sector and learning fast and sharing widely, to help spread successes exponentially. Since systems are complex and chains of causation are difficult to predict, there is limited value in only measuring quantitative indicators of change such as carbon emission reductions, we also need to capture underpinning changes of the whole agri-food and biobased system, for example funding leveraged, green jobs, individual capabilities. We need to be able to capture robust results at both individual intervention level and at the whole system level.

As a core part of the programme delivery the MEL & Sensemaking Lead – Agri-food sector transformation will both actively lead the MEL & sensemaking activities and develop the capability of our people and partners in the adoption of a disposition towards measurement, sensemaking and learning. She/he will support EIT Climate-KIC and partners to measure what is relevant, to learn as they go and to adapt when necessary.

As an agent of systemic change, EIT Climate-KIC provides the drive for impact, credible arguments for transformative action and the ability to secure resources (financial and in-kind) to support such action. The MEL & Sensemaking Lead – Agri-food sector transformation needs to have the gravitas and skill to build and hold senior stakeholder relationships over time while convening, connecting, and facilitating actions on the ground, working with and through teams and partners.

Thus, we are seeking an experienced practitioner with a unique blend of leadership, management, and deep MEL & Sensemaking expertise and practitioner knowledge to enable and support our Value Chain Transformation community work. She/he will need to be adept at multi-stakeholder governance and relationship management, business development and value proposition development, and above all committed to doing what it takes to enable bold and transformative change, building confidence in others, and at the same time supporting them to learn through discomfort. This will require a highly innovative person, at ease with complexity and the uncertainty that comes with it. Mindset matters. We are looking for someone who combines systems thinking with a deeply practical, commercially minded approach, and uses both to inspire senior stakeholders to commit to bold action and long term partnership.

Key responsibilities

Measurement, Innovation Orchestration and Delivery

  • Lead orchestration and delivery ofthe MEL & sensemaking framework, for the Ireland: agri-food sector transformation programme from the perspective of project level impact, transformative mindset and culture, bringing intelligence to decision making (policy coutcomes, new busienss models etc)
  • Define and implement a rhythm of sensemaking to generate insight and intelligence that is coherent the rhythm of strategic conversation and decision-making of the challenge owners and partners we work with.
  • Facilitate strategy, measurement, evaluation and learning workshops, including the development of appropriate tools and processes.
  • Establish the knowledge management architecture that allows sensemaking insights/intelligence to guide decision-making across the organisation, and especially through the portfolio processes and meetings of Communities of Purpose/Practice.
  • Transform the findings and insights gained from experiences into written strategic intelligence, uploaded in to Exaptive and presented to Challenge Owners and Funders as appropriate.
  • Develop capability of our people and partners in the adoption of a measurement, sensemaking and evaluative thinking disposition that builds and develops coherent impact narratives in service of decision making.
  • Take responsibility for learning, applying and experimenting with the deep demonstration methodology
  • Partner closely with the Deep Demonstrations programme office to ensure coherence and consistency in approach, contribute to excellence in programme development and capability building, and maximise synergies or opportinities for cross-pollination and integrated action.
  • Provide experienced oversight, quality assurance and team leadership for impact insights key to grant management and grant making processes and delivery on funder requirements, in partnership with the COO and Operations teams, Learning Services, and the Deep Demonstrations programme office.
  • Actively contribute to the Community of Purpose sensemaking and performance reflections; partner closely with the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning function to close learning loops for evaluative learning and impact assessment. We use Communities of Purpose to generate learning and knowledge from our work and Communities of Practice to build capability in core skills.
  • Support the commission and management of internal and/or external evaluations.


Strategic Partnerships and Fundraising

  • Hold and enhance the partner relationships that align with our partner value proposition.
  • Work closely with the Climate-KIC community to understand network connections and amplifiers.
  • Help further develop a body of work in circular economy and value chain transformation to strengthen and orchestrate innovation ecosystems across Europe and beyond, designed to accelerate action on Climate-KIC’s 2030 goal areas and improve capacity for systems innovation.
  • Contribute to innovation campaigns, oriented to achieving Climate-KIC’s impact goals, using a principle of catalysing and instigating exponential change.
  • Play an role in ensuring the outcomes of the MEL & Sensemaking programme workstream is amplified through a suite of connected, measurable innovation interventions in Ireland with identified budget
  • Play a role in bid development and bid writing to secure public and private funds and to reinforce Climate-KIC’s positioning as an orchestrator of systems transformation.


Key working relationships

  • Ireland: agri-food sector transformation programme team and Programme Director
  • Deep Demonstration Programme Office and Deep Demonstrations team colleagues
  • Climate-KIC Teams, in particular: Demand Generation, Future Funding, MEL, Finance, Operations, Legal, Communications, Policy and EU Affairs, Social Activation and Community
  • Climate-KIC Challenge Owners, Partners
  • EIT Climate-KIC Management Team
  • European Commission stakeholders, EIT and other funders
  • Association Climate-KIC Governing Board

Required background and qualifications


  • Relevant academic degree or qualification.
  • Proven experience, expertise and track record as a practitioner in measurement, evaluation and learning, including sensemaking.


  • Knowledge of circular economy applications and development: applying principles of circularity and regenerative design to business models, economic models, value chains, supply chains, policy and finance.
  • Experience and expertise in building coalitions of organisations and individuals, working to expand the space of action, engagement and risk taking, and to open up credible possibilities for exploration, discovery and stretch learning.
  • Knowledge and experience of supporting senior decision-making, facilitating and enabling change, nurturing and shaping dialogue in uncharted waters and stimulating thinking about new possibilities.
  • Influential communication and coaching with an ability to build leadership capacity and shape behaviours, working closely with individuals at different stages of maturity and seniority.
  • Planning, organisation, coordination, multitasking, problem solving and prioritisation under pressure with minimal supervision.
  • Strategic thinking with ability to influence and support self-reflection and to provide developmental and performance related feedback.
  • Shaping business decisions in portfolio thinking, resourcing and policy development so as to relate the work and talents of individuals to the wider operational and strategic needs of the business.
  • Proven track record of successfully developing high-performing teams, leading, managing, empowering, and learning from others, especially in change and transformation.


  • Systems thinking – especially as applied to and derived from experience with real world change;
  • Seeing patterns of connection and difference; using diverse perspectives to catalyse breakthrough thinking, reflection and learning; culturally aware and skilled in working with diversity and inclusiveness.
  • Accountability: good at taking decisions with a consideration of risk and following through on commitments to completion
  • Highly-developed adaptive leadership / leadership in complexity skills, emphasizing listening to learn, empathy, human-centred design, agility, empowerment, and collaboration
  • Familiarity and proficiency in coaching others; able to build capacity by investing in the development of others and in the development of self.
  • Fluency in English, excellent written and verbal communication skills, and ideally in at least one other European language


Qualities, Personal Style, and Approach

  • Articulate and dynamic, with highly developed interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively, inspire and motivate people.
  • Growth mindset; highly adaptable, flexible and resilient: able to work effectively in ambiguity and complexity and to respond dynamically to change.
  • Customer service ethos and commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Solutions focused, with a “can do” attitude; willing to undertake a range of tasks to meet needs.
  • Deeply curious, perceptive, respectful and resilient; oriented toward networking with people and teams and sharing expertise.
  • Gravitas with an ability to build trust.
  • Proactive, commercial approach, entrepreneurial.

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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