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Business Development Officer

Posted: 24 Oct 2019 Closes: 24 Nov 2019
South East £26,187 - £28,997
Fixed term & Full time defra/20191024170623

Forest Research (FR) is the research agency of the Forestry Commission, and a world leader in applied forest science and a trusted and recognised provider of expertise, data, products and services for governments and the tree, wood, forest and natural resource sectors. Please explore to find out more information about our organisation.

Due to expansion of the team, Forest Research are now looking for an enthusiastic Business Development Officer (BDO) who will work closely with the Business Development Manager (BDM) to grow our funding pipeline and increase our revenue from successful research bids. The BDO will support the BDM and FR’s scientists by identifying potential funding opportunities, writing proposals and collecting metrics on our successes and areas where improvement is needed.

We require someone who learns quickly, is numerate, a problem solver and is comfortable working in a different geographic region from their line manager. The BDO will create excellent, effective relationships with FR staff and external funders, and enthusiastically undertake multiple tasks to ensure delivery of complex proposals to tight deadlines.

The post will report to the BDM, who is based at FR’s office at the Northern Research Station (near Edinburgh, Midlothian) and will have travel between FR’s offices as well as current and potential funders. This is a full time, fixed term post.

1. Create positive and successful one to one relationships with external funding organisations and pitch potential research ideas and solutions for funding. Co-ordinate and track the release of external funding opportunities, including programs released from Horizon Europe, Research Council, UK Government and devolved administrations. Create pipeline reports for the BDM and liaise with FR’s Scientists to ensure early visibility of opportunities.

2. Evaluate bid successes and failures to inform the focus of future bid activity. Use this intelligence to improve the quality of bid submissions and identify areas where training or increased support are required.

3. Provide daily support to FR scientists on bid planning, writing, costing and keeping to delivery time schedules.

4. Maintain the Business Development Intranet site, reviewing and writing of bid/costing templates to ensure they are up to date and modified accordingly. Managing key FR stock text to be relevant to tender needs.

5. Where there are specific FR Scientist needs, support them when meeting new clients to discuss funding opportunities and potential commercial requirements.


Essential Criteria

• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills with an ability to forge successful and long lasting relationships;
• Experience within a business development, sales or commercial activity;
• A keen interest in the environmental sector;
• An understanding of potential funding streams and the requirement for creating successful applications;
• a proven ability to balance competing priorities under pressure of tight deadlines.

Desirable Criteria

• Proven experience of identifying and bidding for new business opportunities up to £250,000 in value, ideally in a research environment, through mechanisms including bids, direct negotiation, expressions of interest and proactive partnership working;
• Excellent Business Development skills including: personal communication, confident proposal writing and statistical reporting, collaborative working with a diverse range of customers including staff and stakeholders across the public, private and charitable sectors;
• Ability and enthusiasm to coordinate multiple strands of activity including identifying funding resources and supporting bid writing to scientists, reviewing the tender specifications including the legal and compliancy requirements and managing the single or consortium submission of proposals within tight and often challenging deadlines;
•A high degree of literacy and numeracy, with an ability to craft intelligent, creative proposals by bringing together key win themes and competitive pricing strategies. An ability to review what brings success and implement change in areas that require improvement;
•A degree in a relevant subject.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together
  • Developing Self and Others
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Delivering at Pace

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • An ability to craft intelligent, creative proposals by bringing together key win themes and competitive pricing strategies. An ability to review what brings success and implement change in areas that require improvement.



• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension
• 25 days annual leave per year plus 10.5 days public and additional holidays, rising to 30 days annual leave after 5 years’ service.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

Sifting will take place week commencing 25 November 2019.
Interviews will be held at Alice Holt Lodge, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4LH and will take place week commencing 9 December 2019.

You will be required to present a Presentation, no longer than 5 minutes titled ‘How I would support FR Scientists in locating research funding and delivering a good quality funding bid’. Further information will be supplied if you are invited to interview.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

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