National Centre for Social Research


  • Location


  • Job type


  • Sector

    Not for Profit

  • Salary/Remuneration


  • Job ref


  • Expiry date

    01 October 2020

  • Client

    National Centre for Social Research

Ref: GSe65698

Time commitment: The time commitment is approximately 15 days a year, comprising 4 Board meetings, other strategy and committee meetings and a Board Away Day


As Britain’s leading centre for independent social research, the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) has over 50 years’ experience of listening to the public and making sure its voice is heard, providing high quality research to policy makers, influencing change, and making life better for people.

With an ambitious strategy to 2025, NatCen wants to establish itself as the National Centre for Social Research. We will become the place that people go to if they want to understand society, an independent voice at the heart  of the big debates, innovative on methods and the new  opportunities in social research and bigger and broader in scope. Our strategy implies an enhanced focus on a wider range of customers, greater impact, more partnerships and an expansion into new areas across the social sciences.

NatCen’s impact and influence are not difficult to find, most notably through the findings from the large-scale social surveys that we conduct such as the English and Scottish Health Surveys, the periodic mental health surveys or the national longitudinal studies.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has brought new opportunities for NatCen to enhance our impact further. We are at the heart of the research response to the pandemic, whether it be through collecting data for the Covid-19 infection study (used as an input to the “R” infection rate and to inform Government policy on the lockdown) or in our work on the impact on schools, children and our mental health.

We are a confident and ambitious organisation which has posted annual financial surpluses under the current Chief Executive for the past three years and, while we won’t be publishing our 2019-20 results until later this year, expect to do so again despite Covid-19 related disruption to our face-to-face data collection activities.

The National Centre is now seeking to appoint its new Chair to succeed Sir Bob Burgess, who is stepping down after his full eligible term in post, to provide leadership to the organisation over the next period of its development and act as an ambassador to support and promote its work externally.

The successful candidate will have board level experience, a thorough understanding of the role of social research and the policy environment in which it operates, significant senior leadership experience, including leading change, and commercial experience relevant to running an organisation with an annual turnover of £35m.

The Chair will be appointed for an initial 4-year term with the opportunity to serve for a maximum of three consecutive terms between 9 and 10 consecutive years.

For an informal confidential discussion about the role, please contact our advising consultants at GatenbySanderson, Michelle Sander (07341 773 817) or Valentina Serra (07384 114 732).


The closing date is Friday 2nd October 2020.

Closing dateFriday 2nd October
Short listingWednesday 28th October
InterviewsFriday 13th November
How to Apply

To apply for this role, please submit an up to date copy of your CV, along with a Supporting Statement that addresses the criteria set out in the person specification, using examples to demonstrate how you meet the essential requirements. Please provide your home, work, mobile and email contact details and let us know of any dates when you are not available or where you may have difficulty with the indicative timetable. You should also provide the names, positions, organisations and contact details for two referees, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer. If you do not wish us to approach your referees without your prior permission, please state this clearly.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an automated email to confirm that you have applied. If you do not receive this email, please make contact with GatenbySanderson.