Strategic Advisory Bodies membership

Man addressing an unseen figure across the meeting table

 Recruitment to our Strategic Advisory Bodies: Person Specification & Selection Process

In order to facilitate a robust assessment process and draw upon as wide a pool of candidates as possible, EPSRC is looking to increase the number of applicants within two of its Strategic Advisory Body vacancies. These vacancies are for the Physical Sciences and Engineering SATs, for further information please see the vacancies webpage.

Applications from the initial round of recruitment for all vacancies are still being processed, and applicants can expect to hear from EPSRC from late November/ early December.

The EPSRC is seeking applications from respected industrialists, academics, users of research and individuals working in the third sector and government organisations to join EPSRC's Strategic Advisory Bodies to start in January 2020. Closing date is 25 October 2019 at 16.00 Hours. Please ensure that your application has been submitted before this time.

Strategic Advisory Teams provide Heads of Theme at EPSRC with strategic advice to help develop their theme. The Energy Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) and the Digital Economy Programme Advisory Board (PAB) perform the same function for the respective cross-Research Council Programmes. These bodies consist of up to 16 members, depending on the needs of the Theme. They are devised as a flexible resource, enabling Heads of Theme to obtain the advice they need in a timely manner, drawing on a range of perspectives from across our key stakeholder groups. Further information and terms of reference for SATs can be found on the EPSRC website.

Each Theme's Strategic Advisory Body meets at least two times per year. Additionally, we hold conferences to bring Strategic Advisory Bodies from all Themes together. Strategic Advisory Bodies members may also be asked to take part in other EPSRC business (or that of other parts of UK Research and Innovation as appropriate), including but not limited to workshops, advisory groups for specific activities and peer-review prioritisation panels.

We will be looking for suitable individuals to guide and advise as theme experts. We seek the widest participation: you can be full-time or part-time, on sabbatical or a career break, academic or researcher, based in academia, industry, the third sector or government organisation. You will not be required to act as representative of your own organisation but rather as someone with an expert command of a particular theme that is free of bias.

Particular vacancies in themes can be specified to be either academic, industry/user or open. This is to ensure a balance of representation across each theme.


We are committed to a policy of equal opportunities. Appointments to the SAT are made on merit. However, we are keen to obtain greater diversity in its membership. Applications from women, those with a disability, members of minority ethnic groups, and other groups who are currently under-represented on the boards, are therefore especially welcome.

We would particularly hope to continue improving the gender balance of the boards in keeping with EPSRC's overall goal of achieving at least 30% participation of women (as the underrepresented group) in EPSRC strategic bodies. Current representation across all SATs, is 35%.

EPSRC has developed guidelines to highlight the support available to researchers with caring responsibilities, which are available on this website.

Role and person specification:

SAT Members are drawn from EPSRC's academics and non-academic stakeholders. Members of all strategic advisory bodies are expected to bring a broad strategic view to bear and to act as 'generous generalists', advising across the breadth of EPSRC's portfolio and the portfolios of other Councils where appropriate.

Members are not required to act as representatives of their own organisation, research area or sector, and are expected to adhere to the Seven Principles of Public Life.

The specific requirements sought are:

  • Expertise relevant to the vacancy (/vacancies) applied for. This could be in: advancing knowledge, delivering impact, stakeholder engagement, community leadership and/or meeting the needs of business and/or society.
  • Ability to take a strategic overview of issues relevant to the Theme(s) applied for. Issues may relate to one or more of: research, skills and training, international context, impact, innovation, research infrastructure and interdisciplinary work.
  • Preparedness to develop, test and constructively challenge EPSRC and UK Research & Innovation policies, in a flexible, adaptable, multi-stakeholder environment.
  • Willingness to represent the views of the research, innovation and business community, and facilitate two-way communication between the community and EPSRC and UK Research & Innovation.
  • Capacity to devote sufficient time to the role and backing/support from organisation. Please refer to the Terms of Reference.


Applications for the SAT will be made through an application form. Self-applications are sought from individuals who feel they are able to meet the requirements set out above.

Unlike previous rounds, this year we are asking all applicants to apply individually; nominations from colleagues or organisation will not be possible. Universities, businesses, learned societies and other key stakeholder groups should continue to encourage and support suitable colleagues to apply.

If you require further information on the vacancies or the work of the SATs, on the recruitment process, please email

Applications must be received by 16.00 on 25 October 2019. The application form will automatically close at this time (even if an application is being worked on).

The selection process will consist of two steps:

Step 1

Candidates will be assessed against the essential criteria internally. The following will be considerations when making appointments:

  • Match to the essential criteria in the person specification, based on the evidence provided;
  • Out of applications meeting the essential criteria, ensuring diversity of membership from across organisations including academia, industry and other stakeholders, with a balance of expertise and institutional representation, and a gender balance in line with our ambition of achieving at least 30% participation of the underrepresented gender across SATs.

The recruitment process will consider the balance across the emerging SAT and may, where candidates are of equal merit, prioritise candidates based on gender underrepresentation. Heads of Theme will also seek to achieve an appropriate distribution across career stages.

In addition, where an existing SAT Chair is standing down, a recommendation for this position will be made by the Head of Theme, acting on behalf of the Executive.

Step 2

A sub-committee of Council, the Appointments Assurance Committee, will be asked to ratify that the appropriate processes have been followed by the Executive prior to appointment of SAT/SAC/PAB//FAB members.

Tips for your Application:

  • Assessment of your suitability for the post is made on the basis of the information provided in the application form. Please note: no other information will be used so applicants should take care to address all criteria. Think about how you address each of the selection criteria - don't just copy and paste from your website. While there is no minimum word count, you must provide adequate evidence to justify your suitability.
  • Don't just provide a list of your previous positions - we want to know what skills you used in that position.
  • Consider using the STAR approach to your answers - describe the Situation, what your Task was, how you Approached it and what the Result was.
  • Treat all of the questions as equally important.
  • If you are applying for two positions, please ensure your application covers your suitability for both positions.
  • Have a look at the current SAT members to see the type of people we have recruited in the past.