View Vacancy - Head of Science and Innovation - Houston

The British Government is an inclusive and diversity-friendly employer.  We value difference, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organisational capability. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, colour, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or other category protected by law. We promote family-friendly flexible working opportunities, where operational and security needs allow.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Policy & Political roles)
Science and Innovation

The British Government’s Consulate in Houston has an exciting opportunity for a dynamic individual to join the UK’s global Science & Innovation Network (SIN) as the Head of Science and Innovation for Houston. This is a rewarding role which supports and further develops the special relationship between the UK and the US, ensuring the UK continues to be the partner of choice on science and innovation for US organisations, and catalysing research collaborations on three areas critical to UK and international prosperity and security: responsible development of emerging technologies, global health, and science and tech geared to enabling climate action.

The Prime Minister has set the goal for the UK to be a science and technology superpower by 2030, building on the UK’s scientific excellence and leading innovative edge. Collaboration with the US, our main research partner, is critical to achieving that goal. The Houston-based Head of S&I is part of a network of S&I officers throughout the US co-ordinated by the British Embassy in Washington, DC. You would report directly to the network’s West Coast Director (based in San Francisco), working closely with Consulate teams (the Consul General, Deputy Consul General, Trade & Investment, and Press & Public Affairs), as well as with the SIN and Policy teams across the US, to identify and create opportunities for UK science.

The core objective of this position is to represent the UK’s science and innovation interests in the Houston Consulate district, which covers Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. This region has particular strengths in cleantech, health and life sciences, space and energy technologies. This role will also include a national co-ordination role, offering the opportunity for you to lead network strategy and planning on one of the three priority areas of emerging tech, global health and climate action.

The objectives of the UK Government’s S&I network are to:

  • Influence the science and innovation policies of US government bodies, industry and academia to benefit the UK;
  • Inform UK government policy related to science and innovation, based on international experience and emerging opportunities and challenges in the US;
  • Stimulate strategic science collaborations to benefit the UK and deliver wider policy goals;
  • Harness international technology partnerships and investment to the benefit of UK and global prosperity.

More information on the SIN team in the US can be found here.

The ideal candidate will:

  • Have proven research and analytical experience, capable of ranging across a variety of topics;
  • Demonstrate the ability to broker/catalyse partnerships and collaborations;
  • Show strong interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Be committed and enthusiastic about the role of science in policymaking, science diplomacy, and its increasing role in international affairs.

In this role, you would be working in a diverse international environment side-by-side with UK diplomats, and country-based staff operating across the British Government’s network of Consulates and Government Offices in the US. This network provides a platform for approximately 30 Government departments and agencies to conduct their work in the United States and is made up of over 900 staff with a rich and diverse background, skill sets, and experiences.

The US Network offers a unique career enhancing opportunity and is committed to supporting its staff through a variety of benefits including generous leave, insurance packages and a highly competitive 401k programme.  It also promotes a culture of flexibility, which enables people to better maintain wellness through an excellent work/life balance approach that encompasses hybrid working, including working from home and flexible hours, where possible.  In this role you would be working in a diverse international environment side-by-side with UK diplomats, and country-based staff operating across the British Government’s network of Consulates and Government Offices in the US. This network provides a platform for approximately 30 Government departments and agencies to conduct their work in the United States and is made up of over 900 staff with a rich and diverse background, skill sets, and experiences.

Roles and responsibilities:

  • Cultivating a strong understanding of S&I strengths across the Houston Consular region in order to proactively seek and stimulate opportunities for high-value collaboration to benefit the UK;
  • Responsibility for influencing and promoting UK interests as they pertain to a broad range of S&I sectors and topics across Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma, with particular regard for SIN’s priority areas: emerging technologies such as next generation AI, Quantum tech, and synthetic biology; climate science, energy research and cleantech; and global health;
  • Providing accurate and detailed information on policy, best practice and horizon-scanning in science, technology and innovation to inform UK stakeholders;
  • Compiling and contributing to reports and briefs for UK stakeholders, including: Senior UK scientists, learned societies, UK policy makers, Government Ministers and Parliament;
  • Managing projects, visits and events (virtual and physical) relating to science and innovation (including organising meetings and visits for Government ministers, senior Departmental officials, representatives from science/innovation funding agencies, universities);
  • Contributing to broader British Consulate-General and SIN US initiatives and programmes in support of UK interests, including the management of consular crises.
  • Management of one Science and Innovation Officer.

Resources managed (staff and expenditure): 

Line Management of a Science and Innovation Policy Officer

Essential on arrival:

  • Strong communication and influencing skills, capable of effectively interacting with members of the public, science community, and senior government officials;
  • Excellent (and demonstrable) written and oral communication skills with the ability to produce clear, concise reports, and to present effectively to a range of audiences;
  • Thorough understanding of US science and innovation policy, including an appreciation of the government and congressional landscape
  • Highly motivated, organised, and resourceful;
  • Effective team player with strong management and proven leadership skills;
  • Reliable, positive and flexible to new situations and ways of working;
  • At least 4-6 years of experience in a science, innovation, or related field from an academic, government, or corporate background. Fewer years of experience would be considered for candidates with advanced degrees or exceptional, relevant experience.

Under US State Department requirements, the UK Government in the US may only employ, as non-diplomatic staff, persons who are US citizens, US Permanent Residents or A visa holders with EAD cards*. If you hold a visa other than an A visa you are not currently eligible to work at our office. Please refer to our website for information on exceptions to this policy at All selected candidates are subject to background checks and will require a security clearance prior to starting work. *A visas are acceptable at the Embassy and Consulates. The UK Mission to the UN (UKMIS) accepts G visas, and British Defence Staff (BDS) outposts accept A or NATO visas.

Language requirements: 

Language: English

Level of language required: Fluent


  • Strong academic (PhD or master’s degree preferred, but not essential) or corporate background in science and innovation;
  • Knowledge of UK science and innovation strengths and capabilities is a plus;
  • Experience working in and around the Texas/Southern USA science and innovation community;
  • Experience managing staff and supporting senior stakeholders where required.
Communicating and Influencing, Delivering at Pace, Seeing the Big Picture, Working Together
7 December 2023
Higher Executive Officer (HEO)
Full-time, Permanent
Americas, Caribbean & Overseas Territories
United States
British Consulate General
29 January 2024

Please note: The British Embassy and its US Network is committed to all employee’s ongoing learning and development needs. We offer a comprehensive platform for personalised learning for everything from soft skill development (communicating with impact, handling difficult conversations, time management) to more technical or professional skills necessary to complete your job (software training, formal qualifications etc.).

The UK Government operating in the US offers a substantial benefits package including generous leave, a choice of medical insurance, 401(k) matching up to 7%, extensive learning opportunities and a great work/life balance.  

Working patterns:

This role is 40 hours a week but does (not) require set working hours each day. 

The British Embassy and its US Network embraces hybrid working, allowing its staff to typically work from home 2 or 3 times a week.  We are an organization that also recognises the critical value of teamwork, and we embrace and endorse collaboration by ensuring that all staff attend the office flexibly yet regularly.

The role holder will need to allow some diary flexibility to enable calls with UK colleagues and across the global network. 

Appointable candidates who were unsuccessful may be placed on a ‘reserve list’. If during the reserve period of 6-12 months the same or a largely similar role becomes available, that role may be offered to the second or subsequent candidate.

Employees who are not liable to pay local income tax on their Mission salary, eg some non-local national staff and some spouses or partners of UK diplomatic staff, will have their salaries abated by an equivalent amount.

Internal candidates must inform their supervisor before they apply to a different position.

Only successful candidates will be contacted. Please no phone calls. Due to the high volume of resumes we receive, we cannot guarantee consideration of your application if the submission instructions are not properly followed.

The British Embassy is committed to a policy of equal opportunities and to creating a diverse working environment, free from discrimination, where everyone is included and treated fairly, based on merit alone. We are an equal opportunity employer, making all employment decisions without regard to race, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin, citizenship, disability, age, sexual orientation, political affiliation or any other criterion protected by law.

Please be aware that you will only be able to apply to vacancies for Country Based Staff roles with the British Government through this official site (operated by Oleeo). Jobs may be advertised on third party websites, however our adverts will always link back to the official site. If you complete and send an application through any other site, we will not receive it.

This opportunity is closed to applications.