Programme Manager

Innovation SuperNetwork is on a mission to accelerate the maturity of the business innovation ecosystem and deliver far-reaching economic benefit. We are keen to hear from experienced programme managers with the drive to mobilise and deliver complex projects, at pace.

About the role:

As programme manager, you will join our team of committed, knowledgeable and highly skilled innovation managers and sector specialists. Working closely with our business support programme partners, you will lead management and delivery of one of our strategic innovation programmes. You will have primary responsibility for progress and delivery of key milestones and results, working with a project team of around 20 people across ISN and our programme partner.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Set up and operationalise a flagship programme within the Innovation SuperNetwork, ensuring all systems and processes, staffing and partnership agreements are aligned and in place.
  • Provide programme management leadership throughout the duration of the project. Managing the project’s key milestones, governance, risks, finance, compliance, outputs and outcomes with the support of relevant team members and partner leads.
  • Manage the Service Level Agreement between our partner organisation and the Innovation SuperNetwork.
  • Set up and participate in the project partnership’s team and review meetings.
  • Lead and advise the programme team on all Innovation knowledge and intelligence related to the programme, including agreeing the innovation funding criteria, appraising innovation eligibility criteria queries and providing timely innovation advice and guidance to the delivery team.
  • Design an efficient SME customer journey from engaging SMEs to completion of the support and grant.
  • Work with the Head of Communications and Engagement to develop and implement an effective SME engagement and support strategy throughout the duration of the programme. Advise on the design and content curation of all innovator engagement events. Provide thought leadership and information for the project’s PR and Marketing activities.
  • Work with the Innovation SuperNetwork’s Innovation Managers and cluster specialists to engage and support SMEs through a funding application process and innovation plan delivery.
  • Provide innovation expertise and insights throughout the programme’s funding evaluation process. Ensure that the programme is investing in activities that will yield the intended short- and long-term outcomes.
  • Provide direct innovation support to participating SMEs, ensuring support provided is intensive and impactful through the breadth and depth provided, the time spent on support, the quality of the expertise provided and intensity of the networks and connections.
  • Work with colleagues to source relevant and compliant suppliers to support SMEs through the funding programme.
  • Ensure that all innovation support activities build on partnerships and collaborations in innovation across the North East of England.
  • Champion diversity and inclusion, creating a climate of equality and respect. Ensure the programme provides opportunities to generate social impact.

About you. Can you demonstrate a track record in the following?

  • Excellent knowledge of proven innovation practices, particularly in the context of SME innovation support programmes.
  • Experienced in leading and structuring complex projects from initiation to wrap up, engaging colleagues, partners and SME customers with confidence and clarity.
  • High levels of integrity when it comes to ensuring time and cost efficient management of a publicly funded innovation support programme.
  • Planful, organised and able to make smart use of existing IT systems and business processes to ensure all team members collaborate using the most up-to-date information.
  • Skilful in communicating clearly with senior stakeholders, and attending to important matters of programme governance and gaining commitment to programme wide deliverables, standards and timelines.
  • Willing to take a lead in making recommendations, shaping deliverable processes and leading the implementation of plans.

This is a full time role for a fixed term to 31 March 2022. We take a flexible approach to structuring the working patterns of each team member and operate a blended model of virtual working alongside access to office space at our HQ in Sunderland.

If this role is for you, please send us your CV and a covering note explaining what interests you about joining the Innovation SuperNetwork team. Email us at