About the Role

NPL is the UK's National Metrology Institute, developing and maintaining the national primary measurement standards. It is a Public Corporation owned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It has a partnering agreement with BEIS and the University of Strathclyde and the University of Surrey. NPL is part of the National Measurement System (NMS) which provides the UK with a national measurement infrastructure and delivers the UK Measurement Strategy on behalf of Government.

We undertake excellent science and engineering to deliver extraordinary impact for the UK and provide the measurement capability that underpins the UK's prosperity and quality of life. From accelerating new antibiotics and more effective cancer treatments to developing unhackable quantum communications and superfast 5G, our expertise is crucial in researching, developing and testing new products and processes.

Key responsibilities of the Chair will be: 

  • The effective organisation and leadership of the NPL Board. They will guide and influence the organisation at a strategic level providing clear and consistent leadership and scrutiny over the strategy, plans, finances and performance of NPL.  
  • Strengthening the Board’s oversight of the organisation and holding the Executive to account for organisational performance.  
  • Acting as an ambassador for the Board and for NPL, helping to build and develop collaborative strategic partnerships that support and promote NPL’s core mission and further NPL’s strategic objective and reputation.  
  • Operating within the relevant standards and duties, including the principles of the Corporate Governance Code for Central Government Departments, Managing Public Money and other relevant Cabinet Office guidance. These represent relevant benchmarks for good practice in corporate governance.  
  • Supporting the role of NPL’s science and engineering profile, both nationally and internationally. 
  • Continuing to build capacity and capability at the Board and Executive level to ensure NPL has the required experience and expertise to fulfil its mission, deliver its Corporate Plan and remain sustainable.  
  • Operating within organisation-specific governance documents to embed effective working relationships, including the Framework Document with BEIS.
About You
The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate that they have shown from previous roles elsewhere in the public or private sector the qualities, skills and experience to meet all the essential criteria relevant to this role.

Essential criteria 

The specific essential requirements for this role which you must demonstrate in your application are:

  • A proven track record, as a Chair or Non-Executive Director of an organisation with comparable scale and complexity, of leading, supporting, challenging and holding to account a strong Executive team and conveying confidence in the organisation’s capability to deliver on its objectives.
  • Ability to show evidence of excellent judgement and analytical ability, to assimilate a range of perspectives and evidence and absorb complex information to reach reasoned and robust conclusions.
  • Genuine passion for creating an inclusive environment that fosters diversity by encouraging varied but collaborative contribution.
  • Strong commercial experience, along with notable financial and risk management acumen.
  • Extensive experience of stakeholder engagement in public facing positions, with proven influencing and networking abilities across diverse and high-profile key decision makers.

Desirable criteria

  • Understanding and evidence of leading transformational change programmes.  
  • Experience working in, or in partnership with, research and technology organisations and Higher Education. 
  • Experience in the STEM sectors and relevant industry leadership. 
  • An appreciation of the political context within which the NPL operates and its public sector responsibility. The Board’s governance and conduct must exhibit the highest standards of governance, propriety and transparency. 
  • The ability to maintain discretion and engender trust in staff, peers and stakeholders.  
About The Company
Terms of Appointment:

The NPL Chair will be appointed for a term of 3 years and be expected to work 20 days per annum.

Member Liability

The Department will provide that where a Board member has acted honestly, reasonably, in good faith and without negligence they will not have to meet out of their own personal resources any personal civil liability which is incurred in the execution or purported execution of their Board functions.

Standards in Public Life

Candidates must confirm that they understand the standards of probity required of public appointees outlined in the ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’ drawn up by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Conflicts of Interest

Applicants must disclose information on personal connections, which if they were appointed, could lead to a conflict of interest or be perceived as such.

If it appears, from the information provided on the form, that a possible conflict might exist, or arise in the future, this will be fully explored with the applicant with a view to establishing whether it is sufficiently significant to prevent the individual from carrying out the duties of the post. The panel will do this at interview stage.

It is very important therefore that all applicants provide appropriate details which might be construed as being in conflict with the appointment for which they are applying.



Closing date

11th April 2021 at 11pm

Shortlist panel meeting

w/c 19 April or 26 April (this is subject to change)

Panel interviews (held remotely)

w/c 17 May or 24 May (this is subject to change)

SoS decision on whom to appoint


Successful candidate takes up post



The selection panel membership is planned to be: 

  • Panel Chair and BEIS Representative: Harriet Wallace, Director, International Research and Innovation, Departmental Official
  • Representatives of Organisation: Dr Peter Thompson, CEO, NPL
  • Independent Panel Member: Wendy Barnes 
The closing date for applications is 11pm on 11th April 2021. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.

For us to progress your application, you must submit both of the following documents before 11pm on 11th April 2021: 

  • A curriculum vitae; and, 
  • A supporting statement (see note below on content) 

by email, with the subject “NPL Chair” to publicappointments@beis.gov.uk  

If you do not submit both a curriculum vitae and a supporting statement by 11pm on 11th April 2021, your application will not be progressed any further. 

We also ask that you complete an online application form, including referee details and whether you wish to be considered under the Disability Confidence scheme, which can be found here.

Your curriculum vitae and supporting statement must each be no longer than two pages in length. If you submit documents which are longer than two pages, any information not contained within the first two pages of each document will be disregarded and will not be seen by the assessment panel. 

Your supporting statement should: 

  • Cover how you meet the criteria listed under the person specification; 
  • Be tailored to the role, describe what you would bring, describe your vision for the role, highlight any previous career achievements etc. 

As a Disability Confident Leader, BEIS will offer interviews to disabled candidates who meet the published minimum requirements for a job or role. If you wish to apply for consideration under this scheme, please complete the declaration in the Diversity Monitoring Form provided. It is not necessary to state the nature of your disability. 

Whether you choose to apply under the Disability Confident scheme or not, you can still ask us to make particular adjustments for you when attending an interview. 

Please note feedback will not be provided after the shortlisting stage. Only candidates who attend an interview will be provided with feedback. 

If you have any questions about the application process or about the role itself, please contact Nadia Toma in the first instance at publicappointments@beis.gov.uk