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Chief Executive Officer
Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh , UK
Date Posted 05/24/2021
Executive-President and Chancellor
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled

We are looking to appoint an aspiring Chief Executive Officer for the National ROBOTARIUM. As global leaders in robotics and autonomous systems, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh are delivering Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. Opening on Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Campus in 2022, the purpose-built National ROBOTARIUM will have unrivalled facilities to explore collaborative interaction between humans, robots and their environments.

The Opportunity

The CEO role provides a highly motivated individual with a unique opportunity to lead the development of the innovation and industry engagement strand of the National ROBOTARIUM, providing leadership, vision and strategy for the National ROBOTARIUM. They will be responsible for the delivery of the business plan across the full range of activities including research, innovation, commercial services, education and skills development. Once in post, they will have the opportunity to shape the plan, using their knowledge and networks to accelerate growth and unlock new opportunities.

The CEO will be a joint appointment by Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities and operate at a senior level within the university structure. They will work closely with Heads of Schools, Deputy Principals and senior Entrepreneurial Officers at both universities, building innovation partnerships at scale in robotics, embedded intelligence and expert systems. They will operate in partnership with two Lead Academics and a cross-university Academic Board, who hold an in-depth knowledge of the research conducted at the Edinburgh Centre of Robotics.

The CEO will report directly to and be line-managed by the Deputy Principal (Business and Enterprise) at Heriot-Watt University. There will also be “dotted line” line management via the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre Director of Innovation to ensure strong affiliation to both universities and alignment with local strategy.

The CEO will:

Engage and inspire key stakeholders and potential partners to collaborate and engage with the National ROBOTARIUM.

Initiate major funding bids and proposals to industry and government that will grow the centre and ensure it remains at the forefront of delivering impact from research and innovation.

Inform and develop policy at government and University level in Robotics and AI.

Lead on strategic and operational interactions with industry and other stakeholders.

Shape the future business plan for the National ROBOTARIUM, building new concepts for growth around research, skills, innovation and entrepreneurship, maximising the distinctive global presence of both Universities.

Build a strong personal profile and effective external communications around the National ROBOTARIUM to ensure its national and international profile is commensurate with a world-leading research centre.

In collaboration with a core key team across both universities, create and implement the National ROBOTARIUM’s long term strategy for research, business engagement, investment and income generation, whilst delivering the business plan in line with the Universities’ expectations and the requirements of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Work in partnership with business development colleagues across both institutions to shape and maintain a shared pipeline of investment and collaboration opportunities.

Ensure good communication and coherence between the partners, Government and relevant stakeholders is maintained and managed, as well as be a conduit between the National ROBOTARIUM and the relevant University Boards.

Operate within the relevant University control systems and authorities, leading by personal example, so as to encourage all employees associated with the National ROBOTARIUM to conduct their activities in accordance with University policies, aligning with ethical, environmental, health and safety policies and ensuring responsible research and innovation.

The Person

The successful candidate will be an experienced and highly motivated individual. They will have the ability to manage high-level relationships and the initiative to drive the development of an organisation, which will be multidisciplinary in its nature. They will be able to deliver a step change in maximising the economic benefit of our research through business collaborations and the creation of intellectual property, start-ups, and spin-outs. As a senior member of the University, it is expected that the appointee will be able to demonstrate the following relevant experience, abilities, attributes, and skills:

Have evidence of successful prior leadership of complex, multi-disciplinary projects or organisations.

Have a track record of securing funding for large multi- stakeholder projects and initiatives.

Have experience of developing multi-stranded strategic partnerships in an area of technology and innovation (specific experience with Robotics and AI is not required but desired).

Have the ability to bring senior stakeholders together to unite behind a shared vision and mission for the National ROBOTARIUM.

Have the ability to articulate a clear and compelling vision to those associated with the National ROBOTARIUM, the DDI programme and to the wider University community.

Our full candidate brochure for this exciting opportunity can be accessed by contacting g.anderson@hw.ac.uk


Our vision is to be world-leading within all our areas of specialism.

Our mission is to create and exchange knowledge that benefits society.

Our ethos means that we put our community of students, staff and alumni at the heart of everything we do. Our distinctive strengths will continue to build a global University that pioneers innovation in education, research and enterprise.


Strategy 2025, provides the blueprint for the University to be world-leading, with the freedom to explore new ideas of specialism, while building on those areas in which we already excel. We are a distinctive University with global reach and a proud history of providing access to education, ideas and solutions that make a real contribution in the world. Our strategy is based on our heritage, our expertise, our relevance and our global presence, and sets a framework for pursuit of our ambitions imaginatively and energetically.

Any queries about the position or application process should be sent to nationalrobotarium@hw.ac.uk

At Heriot-Watt University we understand that being diverse makes us better, which is why we support a culture of respect and equal opportunity, and value diversity at the heart of what we do. We want to increase the diversity of our workplace to underpin a dynamic and creative environment.

Applications from candidates who require sponsorship to work in the UK will be considered alongside other applications. For further information on this please visit the UK visas and immigrations website https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas.

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options. This position is eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker Route; for further information, visit https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa. The appointment is conditional upon demonstrating an ongoing right to work in the UK and submission of acceptable references.

*Please mention academicjobs.net to employers when applying for this job*
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