NetZeroCities Programme Manager

Permanent Contract
05 Oct 2021
Competitive for Not-for-Profit Organisation
As soon as possible
Austria, Belgium, 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.


NetZeroCities is an initiative launched as part of the European Green Deal and directly linked to the European Commission Mission for 100 Climate-neutral and Smart Cities by 2030. EIT Climate-KIC is the lead organization of a 34-member consortium comprising NetZeroCities and will lead the process and coordinate across all Work Packages for the project. To deliver excellence in this project, EIT Climate-KIC will have a focused team with high capabilities to lead a complex, multi-sectoral, multi-partner project. The NetZeroCities project will incorporate the experiences, knowledge, and approach of EIT Climate-KIC’s Healthy, Clean Cities Deep Demonstration, providing systems innovation expertise and knowledge critical to the overall NetZeroCities project. While the NetZeroCities project will be a project of the European Commission, EIT Climate-KIC will build linkages to its Transformation, in Time strategy.  

The NetZeroCities Programme Manager will be responsible for ensuring excellence in project execution by designing and shepherding processes, managing diverse and multiple relationships among consortium partners, and providing an operating framework for the project. This role will collaborate intensively with the NetZeroCities Programme Director to contribute overall project leadership, effective delegation across the consortium, and effective communications with the European Commission about project execution, results, and stakeholder participation. The role entails working closely and constantly with consortium parnters and European Commission staff and representatives, city government officials, project advisory groups, and general stakeholders. Effective delegation of activities and tasks will be a primary leadership contribution of this role. 

Based on experiences supporting cities in climate actions for over a decade, and building upon our work over the past three years in developing Healthy, Clean Cities, EIT Climate-KIC will bring Mission-level ambition, methodological rigour, and substantial experience in collaborating with cities in innovation-based climate action strategies to the NetZeroCities project. This role plays an important part in building legitimacy and strategic partnerships, ensuring execution excellence is at the forefront of daily decision-making and work flows, and establishing a positive approach to accountability among European Commission representatives, cities, NetZeroCities consortium partners, and other critical stakeholders.

We are seeking an experienced practitioner with a unique blend of leadership, management, and content expertise to serve as Programme Manager for NetZeroCities. She/he will need to be adept at multi-stakeholder governance and relationship management, all aspects of programme management (e.g., process design and facilitation, impact frameworks and accountability tools, project documentation, conflict management, decision-making), 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 all partners in the project. This project 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 understands the systemic work central to NetZeroCities, offers creativity and pragmatism in fostering excellence in execution, and has the sophistication and experience to build and hold multiple and diverse relationships.

Finally, what to expect in terms of ways of working. EIT Climate-KIC is in the course of a deliberate evolution to new organisational forms and structures that are designed to support a complex adaptive system – a ‘Team of Teams’. Our organisational design reflects the unusual multi-laterality and complexity of the work we are doing and the relationships we need to establish and sustain in order to do that work effectively. We draw inspiration from deliberately developmental, ‘teal’ organisations, holacracy and leadership in complexity approaches. It is our aspiration to be an organisation that makes the most of the capabilities and adaptive learning abilities of every one of its members through distributed leadership, empowerment and self-management, and intelligent risk-taking.

We are looking for the successful candidate in this role to play a critical part in role modelling supportive and collaborative leadership, working closely with teams to empower decision making and good management and to evolve our ways of working to model the change we want to see in the world.


Leadership on Execution

  • Participate in leadership of NetZeroCities in close collaboration with the Programme Director (i.e., identified as Coordinator across the consortium and with the European Commission). Contribute to and inform decision-making processes of the programme, ensuring the NetZeroCities governance process is informed on all relevant aspects of the project, and managing workflows to foster timely and strategic decision-making and communications.
  • Liaise with all NetZeroCities Work Package leads to ensure overall coordination of workflows, facilitate information sharing and collaborative problem solving throughout process, build consortium partner trust and synergies, and enable communications work to have ready access to all relevant information.
  • Manage all NetZeroCities consortium partner interactions related to project execution and performance management, in close collaboration with the Programme Director.
  • Establish and manage all processes for effective programme documentation, to ensure high levels of information sharing and effective reporting and European Commission oversight. Adapt and deploy performance management tools and techniques to foster excellence and positive accountability among consortium partners.
  • Ensure all cities associated with NetZeroCities and the Mission are able to provide feedback to the NetZeroCities leadership, solicit information, recommend process improvement needs, and communicate across the consortium effectively.

NetZeroCities Operations – Process Design and Workflow Oversight

  • Lead design of project processes consistent with NetZeroCities strategic objectives, multiple stakeholders and relationship management needs, and high levels of public interest.
  • Direct and support all NetZeroCities consortium partners in operating in aligned and consistent fashion, using established tools and processes.
  • Set and direct all internal reporting processes and protocols, and manage internal consortium partners to ensure excellent and consistent internal communications.
  • Ensure European Commission communications and documentation needs are established and clearly understood across the NetZeroCities consortium, and manage activities to execute on these reporting and documentation needs.

Accountability Management with Key Stakeholders

  • Work in close collaboration with the Programme Director to identify and establish key performance goals and indicators for individuals across the NetZeroCities consortium involved in overal project governance and management of various Work Packages.
  • Assist the Programme Director in engaging the NetZeroCities General Assembly, Executive Committee, in individual Work Package leads in support of effective project governance and execution.
  • Lead activities to build a culture of operational excellence across the NetZeroCities consortium, including facilitating feedback processes and identifying tools to support the operational needs of NetZeroCities.
  • Engage with NetZeroCities consortium partners to identify operational issues, overall project needs, and other problems that affect execution of the project, and work carefully with the Programme Director and others to proactively solve issues and problems.

Learning and Impact

  • Facilitate collaboration with the EIT Climate-KIC Learning Services team and the NetZeroCities consortium partners leading work related impact frameworks and Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning to advance shared learning, foster effective use of sensemaking and peer-learning processes, and appropriate and consistent impact frameworks in individual cities and to the programme as a whole.
  • Enable and facilitate collaboration with EIT Climate-KIC Communications team to identify and collect powerful stories from participating cities to support digital communications, dissemination of actions and outcomes with key stakeholders, and general awareness raising.
  • Engage with NetZeroCities consortium partners to identify success stories, failures, programming learnings, and problem solving to improve execution and effectiveness of the project. Work carefully with the Programme Director and others to feed learnings and solutions into ongoing programme improvement.


  • NetZeroCities Programme Director
  • EIT Climate-KIC Management Team
  • NetZeroCities Consortium Partners
  • European Commission staff and representatives
  • Cities associated with the Mission for 100 Climate-neutral and Smart Cities by 2030
  • Other stakeholders



  • Relevant academic degree or qualification
  • Proven experience, expertise, and track record as a practitioner in climate action and sustainability in an urban context
  • Proven experience, expertise, and track record on programme and project management, particularly in complex projects and with multiple, diverse partnerships


  • Programme and project management with large, complex projects and multiple partners.
  • Knowledge and experience of supporting senior decision-making, facilitating and enabling excellent problem-solving, and helping individuals and teams consistently deliver high-quality results.
  • Experience designing, refining and using performance management tools and processes, particularly those linked to complex projects with multiple partners.
  • Demonstrated experience with and understanding of EU funding processes and projects; experience and expertise in documentation and reporting.
  • 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.


  • Comfort and confidence working at systems levels, working in areas of complexity and uncertainty with multiple partners and relationships.
  • High degree of confidence in managing accountability across a partnership, good at fostering decision-making with a consideration of risk and following through on commitments to completion.
  • Strong ability to build positive and fruitful relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, and manage relationships at a senior level and in different geographies.
  • 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.
  • 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, creative, and pragmatic.

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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