View Vacancy – Science and Innovation Officer (CHEB20.440)

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, 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

Note: Due to COVID-19, you may experience some delay in the progress of this recruitment campaign. We are working hard to minimise any disruption. You may find more information in the Additional Information section below.

The British Embassy in Berne is part of a worldwide network, representing British political, economic and consular interests overseas and is now looking for a Science & Innovation Officer to work at Post for the UK Science and Innovation Network. This is a maternity leave part-time position with a contract of an expected duration of 9 months, with possibility of extension by mutual agreement.

Science and Innovation (S&I) are at the heart of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy for prosperity and sustainable growth. The UK is already a global leader in S&I and we recognise that international partnership is essential to maintaining our excellence, our reputation and our global competitiveness. S&I are amongst the PM’s priorities for the UK in negotiating its exit from the EU, and supporting international collaboration in these areas is increasingly important. Switzerland is a major global research power and UK partner in Europe. As well as being home to excellent universities, Switzerland hosts several well-known research institutes (e.g. WSL) and international research infrastructures (e.g. CERN). Numerous international organisations are present in Geneva, which makes the city a worldwide centre for diplomacy.

The office would be the UK’s Science and Innovation Network (SIN) representation in Switzerland. The SIN has more than 90 officers around the world, with 25+ in Europe, tasked with building partnerships and collaborations, which deliver policy, research or business outcomes against the SIN Global Strategy, benefiting both the UK and host country. The UK’s developing Industrial Strategy has a strong S&I foundation, which will guide and inform SIN’s future work in support of prosperity and economic growth.

Our Berne S&I officer is an important role in the SIN DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) team, with scope for a high degree of autonomy for the right candidate. The jobholder reports remotely to the Head of SIN Germany, Austria and Switzerland on policy and project work, proactively scoping and building contact networks in Switzerland, to help deliver team priorities and the Embassy’s Economic Secretary and Head of Prosperity will provide an element of oversight and local line management support. The jobholder should also work closely with international trade and investment colleagues, identifying areas of common interest (e.g. engagement with high-tech business in priority sectors for both SIN and DIT) and developing sensible shared goals.

The jobholder will become part of the British Government’s presence in Switzerland, supported and fostered by this country network, including access to a wide range of learning and development opportunities. These include excellent formal and informal opportunities such as short secondments, job shadowing or coaching.

The job holder would also be required to have a flexible approach and get involved in wider aspects of the Embassy’s work during this high-pressure and exciting period in the UK’s history; this could include supporting the wider economic work of the Economic Secretary or providing direct support to the Ambassador.

The role supports UK international S&I priorities and UK high global S&I rankings by:

  • Contributing to delivery of the HMG S&I agenda across Switzerland;
  • Strengthening the UK-Switzerland bilateral political relationship through S&I;
  • Enhancing the reputation and reach of UK S&I in Switzerland.

All staff are expected to contribute to the wider objectives of the British Government’s Switzerland network and to support the Embassy’s positive working environment.

Main Duties and Responsibilities


  • Strengthening the UK-Switzerland bilateral political relationship through S&I;
  • Enhancing the reputation and reach of UK S&I in Switzerland;
  • Monitor and respond to developments in science and innovation policies and programmes in Switzerland. Provide timely and concise reports on key developments to UK government departments and other stakeholders;
  • Develop, deliver and contribute to a programme of projects, visits, events and other activities aimed at scoping and facilitating UK-Switzerland collaboration in science and innovation;
  • Support Ministerial and senior official visits to Switzerland relating to bilateral science and innovation issues;
  • Self-initiate, organise and follow-up bilateral and international projects in priority science & technology areas;
  • In the context of Brexit, understand and interpret key Swiss stakeholder positions on the future of science collaboration to ensure FCDO/BEIS/DExEU and other UK stakeholders have the data to engage and influence negotiations.


  • Develop a wide range of contacts in government, business, universities and public research organisations in the UK and Switzerland to support SIN DACH team overarching objectives;
  • Build and develop bilateral relationships between Switzerland and UK Ministries, academic institutions and organisations with an interest in science and innovation. Provide information and insight into Swiss reactions to UK science related exit objectives;
  • Contribute to ongoing UK economic growth and a strong post-negotiation bilateral relationship by initiating mutually beneficial science and innovation collaboration between the UK and Switzerland.

Corporate Responsibility

  • Support the wider work in the British Embassy Berne including providing surge capacity and engaging in corporate activities.

  • Fluent in English, written and spoken (C1 European Framework*);
  • Graduate degree in a science, research or innovation-linked discipline or equivalent working experience;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, showing confidence in dealing with senior contacts and colleagues, and in handling customers;
  • Proactive approach with ability to organise self and work effectively;
  • Team player, as well as proven ability to work autonomously;
  • Proven ability to form professional relationships and build trust with a wide range of contacts.

  • At least fluent written in German or French;
  • Strong intercultural understanding;
  • Knowledge and contact networks around one or more of SIN Switzerland’s current thematic priority areas (Health & Life Sciences, Smart Cities, Space, Digital Economy);
  • Flexibility to travel domestically, mainly around Switzerland, and internationally;
  • Good knowledge of UK and Swiss research and innovation systems.

Seeing the Big Picture, Collaborating and Partnering, Delivering at Pace, Engaging Internationally

29 November 2020

B3 (L)

Fixed Term, Part-Time


9 months

Europe, Eastern Europe & Central Asia



British Embassy


4.831,44 (gross)

1 February 2021

This is a part-time 9 months fixed term contract, of 24 hours per week to cover a maternity leave.

Gross monthly salary is CHF 4.831,44. In addition, staff are entitled to a 13th month salary pro rata. The annual leave entitlement is 25 days per year pro rata and the Embassy also enjoys a maximum of 14 Swiss/ UK public holidays per year.

The successful candidate will be subject to professional background and security clearance. The applicant will be vetted to a achieve a security clearance (SC level) both from UK and Switzerland.

The successful candidate must have pre-existing work authorisation for Switzerland in order to apply. All applicants should have the right to live and work in Switzerland.

Staff recruited locally by the British Embassy are subject to terms and conditions service according to Swiss employment law.

Visa/Passport requirements: Candidates must currently hold the independent right to live and work in Switzerland and be prepared to ensure that right remains throughout the scope of the contract. Additional requirements may become necessary after 31st December 2020.

Please note that the deadline for applications is 23:55 on the day mentioned in the above field “Application deadline”.

We advise you to allow enough time to complete and submit your full application, since only applications completed and submitted before the deadline will be considered.

Please be aware that the deadline for submitting applications is considered to be the time zone for the country where the vacancy has arisen.

Please be advised that the British Diplomatic Missions will not be able to meet the travel costs incurred when travelling to the interview, nor the costs connected with relocation if offered a job.

Additional Information (due to Covid 19):

  • You may experiment some delay in the progress of this recruitment campaign and we are working hard to minimise any disruption

  • Interviews will be done remotely if the existing situation determines this to be the right course of action

  • Starting date may be delayed depending on circumstances at the time and it will be agreed with the selected candidat

*Please refer to the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages”. We are looking for a C1 level or equivalent. CEFR indicates Level C1 as mastery or proficiency level which can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning. Can express him/herself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions. Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes. Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, connectors and cohesive devices. For more information please click on the following link CEFR. Please bear in mind in case you are invited for an interview your languages skills are going to be assessed.

Please be aware that you will only be able to apply to vacancies for Local 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.

To help us with our recruitment effort, please indicate on the application form /cover letter where ( you saw this job posting.

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