Vacancy: Chair of Orkney Research and Innovation Campus (ORIC)


Appointment of Chair

  • Remuneration: £280 per day, commitment of up to 20 days per annum
  • Location: Flexible, although a significant amount of work will be Orkney based
  • Closing date: 29th July 2018 at midnight
  • Appointments for three years
  • Vacancy reference: ORIC001

ORIC History 

The Orkney Research and Innovation Campus (ORIC) is a joint venture by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Orkney Islands Council (OIC). The 3.75-acre campus will support the growth of existing research and innovation activity and the expansion of companies in Orkney’s world-leading marine renewables, energy and low carbon sector. It will also attract additional research activities to Orkney, both from the commercial and academic worlds.

A £5.39 million construction contract has been awarded to Kirkwall based R Clouston Limited for the development of the new Research and Innovation Campus. Work will include refurbishing, updating and extending the Old Academy and former Stromness primary school buildings as well as improving roads, paths and landscaping.

HIE is investing £4.65 million in the campus project, including £1.48 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) money. Orkney Islands Council is investing £2 million including £0.5 million of Scottish Government Regeneration Funding, in addition to transferring ownership of the Old Academy and former Stromness primary school to the partnership.

The Old Academy is already home to the European Marine Energy Centre, Heriot Watt University’s International Centre for Island Technology, environmental consultants Aquatera and a number of other businesses.

The aim is to attract more academic institutions and businesses with an interest in carrying out research projects in an island setting. This could include research linked to Orkney’s energy resources, transport needs, culture and economy.

This significant investment will support the growth of existing businesses and the creation of new ones. Crucially, it will provide more opportunities to attract and retain young people looking to live, work and study in Orkney.

Work on the project began in March 2018. 

ORIC statement of objectives

The vision for this project is to create a physical campus within the unique and historic townscape of Stromness, with collaborative research and innovation at its heart. The proposed development will see the existing complex of buildings transformed into a high-quality business/learning campus, fit for the 21st century.    

ORIC will build on, but will not be limited to, Orkney’s existing marine/renewable energy research cluster; which is largely centred on the existing Old Academy, and has the world leading test capability of EMEC and the extensive teaching and research expertise of HWU-ICIT at its core. The campus will create the conditions to increase activity, to fledge new start companies, and to bring new employment opportunities into the area, from both academia and business.

Further information regarding the objectives of ORIC are contained in the Job Description >

The Chair - Key Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership to the board to ensure that it represents the best interests of ORIC
  • Ensure that the board works effectively to set out company strategy and direction  
  • Chair meetings of the board and any meetings of the members of the LLP
  • Set the agenda for meetings of the board and any such members’ meetings
  • Promote the highest standards of integrity, probity and corporate governance throughout ORIC, and particularly at board level
  • Take all reasonable steps to ensure that the board receives accurate, timely and clear information to enable the board to make sound decisions
  • Facilitate effective contributions from the other board members, and facilitate constructive relationships between board members
  • Serve as the primary interface between the board members and the most senior member of staff
  • Ensure that new board members participate in an appropriate induction process
  • Ensure that the performance of the board, any committees of the board, and individual board members (including myself) is evaluated on a regular basis, and that the development needs of all board members (including my own) are identified periodically and addressed in an appropriate manner
  • Ensure that a clear framework is established and maintained in relation to any committees of the board
  • Taking the role of spokesperson on behalf of the board in relation to engagement with the media and in the context of public events associated with the work of ORIC.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

  • A strong understanding of the UK energy sector, and in particular, renewable energy
  • A strategic thinker with excellent technical skills and a proven track record in the delivery of multi-stakeholder projects between academia, industry, other external stakeholders and public-sector agencies.
  • The ability to analyse and review complex issues affecting an organisation, weigh up conflicting opinions and reach informed decisions
  • The ability to engage with Board members and senior management to challenge constructively and influence decision making within a board setting
  • Experience of operating effectively at a senior management level in a business/organisation/social enterprise
  • An understanding of the Scottish Government’s economic development priorities for Scotland and the ability to work with partner organisations to achieve Scotland-wide benefits
  • Knowledge and experience gained in at least one of Scotland’s key sectors, including the third sector, and the ability to use that experience more widely
  • Knowledge and experience of new technologies/digitalisation and application of these to achieve business/economic benefit
  • Entrepreneurial experience demonstrated through a track record in setting up and growing a high growth business, including experience/evidence of workplace innovation practices and approaches

Length of appointment

The appointment is for up to three years with the possibility of reappointment subject to evidence of effective performance and satisfying the skills and knowledge required at the time of reappointment and beyond. Reappointment is not automatic. Any appointment and subsequent reappointment will not extend beyond a maximum of six years.

Time commitment

Overall, it is anticipated that the appointment will involve a time commitment of up to 20 days per annum. This will include chairing Board Meetings and you will be expected to devote appropriate preparation time ahead of each meeting. 

If it is identified that additional time commitment is required this will need to be discussed and approved by the wider board.

Location of meetings

Board meetings are normally held in Orkney. There will be an expectation that the Chair will attend meetings in person where possible. There is also the option to use Skype technology where attendance in person is not possible.

Interview expenses

All reasonable expenses incurred travelling to and from interview will be reimbursed. When an overnight stay is necessary, you must contact for further guidance.  Receipts must be provided in support of all claims.  A claim form can be obtained from here

Application process

Please note that Highlands and Islands Enterprise are providing recruitment services on behalf of ORIC.

  • Please send your completed application form and current CV for consideration to the following email address:
  • If you have any questions regarding the recruitment process please contact Jeremy Firth, HR team at Highlands and Islands Enterprise -, or call 01463 383171.
  • For queries relating to the position and the ORIC Joint Venture project please contact Graeme Harrison, Area Manager, Orkney at Highlands and Islands Enterprise – or call 01463 383125, or Harvey Stevenson, Head of Strategic Projects – or call 01463 383130

Closing date for applications is Sunday 29th July 2018 at midnight.

Interviews will take place in Orkney on Thursday 16th August 2018.