The Innovation Caucus is an initiative funded jointly by Innovate UK and the ESRC, which aims to promote closer engagement between social science researchers and the strategists, analysts and technologists working at Innovate UK. 

Over the next 24 months a key priority of the Innovation Caucus is to increase our work with Innovate UK and the ESRC as well as foster greater awareness and engagement among stakeholders in BEIS, RCUK and UKRI. In this way the Innovation Caucus will increase the impact of social science research among these stakeholder communities as well as inspiring new research opportunities for social scientists.

Member roles

When originally established, the Innovation Caucus comprised a small number of Thought Leaders, who have been engaged in a number of activities and projects with Innovate UK and will form the steering group.

To enable the Innovation Caucus to engage in a wider range of activities with a broader scope over the coming months, we are looking to expand the membership of the Innovation Caucus. The intention is to have a wider membership who will be engaged in an ad hoc capacity to address real-time questions and challenges from Innovate UK and the ESRC as well as supporting longer term projects.

We are looking to recruit up to 15 social scientists as new members to the Innovation Caucus. We are inviting expressions of interest from individuals who:

  • are working in different fields of innovation research (including but not limited to policy, SMEs, multinationals)
  • have experience of working with non-academic stakeholders and practitioners in the innovation ecosystem
  • understand and are engaged in the translation and impact of innovation related research 

Innovation Caucus members will work with Innovate UK and the ESRC in a responsive way, and specifically to:

  • inform debate on priority challenge topics
  • engage with Innovate UK, ESRC and other relevant stakeholder communities
  • provide independent, informed advice, avoiding actual or perceived conflicts of interest by taking a collegiate approach
  • act as "generous generalists" (ie not to advocate specifically for their own discipline or areas of interest, but to take a broad view of the strategic needs of the Innovation Caucus)
  • validate and challenge constructively the work of Innovate UK and the ESRC drawing on the available evidence and their own experiences
  • take individual and collective ownership of the advice they provide, whilst recognising the separation of that advice from responsibility for the decisions made
  • use their own networks to gather intelligence that can be brought to bear in the work of the Innovation Caucus and to disseminate the work of the Innovation Caucus as appropriate.

The ESRC and Innovate UK wish to increase the breadth and diversity of the Innovation Caucus, and as such the membership should:

  • reflect the breadth of social scientists’ work in and across different disciplines 
  • be diverse across career stages and life course
  • include UK based academics with different perspectives.


  • Appointments will initially be until September 2018, with the possibility of extension. All appointments will begin with effect from 9 January 2017.
  • Members are paid a fee for each activity they are involved with and, when attending physical meetings, are reimbursed for travel and subsistence expenses.
  • The Group will meet on an ad hoc basis. An online meeting will be held in December 2016 with further thematic meetings planned for 2017 with invitations and expressions of interest to participate shared with Innovation Caucus members. 
  • These meetings will be used to discuss challenges, the research base relevant to them, and potential gaps to be filled. These could lead to specific commissions, including for briefing papers, workshops, mini-projects lasting 3-6 months to develop solutions

How to apply

Expressions of interest should be made using the online form before 16.00 on 30 November 2016.

Information required:

  • Basic information and contact details, including title, name, current position, organisation, telephone numbers and email address
  • Description of personal motivation (300 words)
  • Evidence of the skills and experience the nominee would bring to the role (300 words)
  • Areas of expertise 

Expressions of Interest are on an individual basis and so we anticipate multiple applications from some institutions

The Innovation Caucus is committed to a policy of equal opportunities. Appointments are made on merit. However, we are keen to obtain greater diversity in its membership. Applications from women, those with a disability and members of minority ethnic groups, who are all currently under-represented, are especially welcome.

Selection process

The selection process will involve expressions of interests being reviewed by an appointment panel comprising members from Innovate UK, the ESRC and the Innovation Caucus. The panel will make final recommendations on the successful appointment of Innovation Caucus members.

The outcomes will be announced in mid December 2016 and participation will start in January 2017.