Innovation Project Lead

Job Description


Innovation Project Lead

Reporting to

Innovation Delivery Manager


Innovation Team, Strategy and Regulation


London, Newington House

Reference Number


Employment Period


Contract Type

Personal Contract

CiP Level / Bonus 


Salary Range

Depending on experience

Closing Date




All applications will be reviewed after the closing date


We also offer : 

Annual leave 25 days

Personal Pension Plan – Personal contribution rates of 4% or 5% (UK Power Networks will make a corresponding contribution of 8% or 10%)

Tenancy Loan Deposit scheme 

Tax efficient benefits: cycle to work scheme

Season ticket loan

Occupational Health support

Switched On – scheme providing discount on hundreds of retailers products.

Supplier discounts, such as O2, EE, Vauxhall cars, Universal tyres

Discounted access to sports and social clubs

Employee Assistance Programme.


Job Purpose:


UK Power Networks is proud to be the most reliable, most innovative and lowest price electricity distribution group. We have been successful in winning around £90m of innovation funding over the last 8 years, with more bids in the pipeline.

The purpose of this role is the delivery of cutting edge innovation, development and demonstration projects, mainly funded by the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) and Network Innovation Competition (NIC).

Our current portfolio of innovation projects includes:

  • TransPower - trialing the Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology in four main areas relevant to the electrification of transport: bus, fleet, on street and domestic charging;
  • Active Response - a revolutionary way of managing spare electricity network capacity by testing a responsive, automated electricity network that reconfigures itself always, moving spare capacity to where the demand is;
  • Optimise Prime – the world biggest commercial EV trial investigating how networks, technology providers, fleet and private hire vehicle operators can work together to accelerate the electrification of commercial vehicles; and
  • Shift - pioneering market-led approaches to smart charging of residential electric vehicles.

Just to name a few.


Nature and Scope


The energy industry is undergoing unprecedented change. We are moving away from a simple but carbon-intensive model of delivering electricity generated by large coal and gas-fired power stations, to a much more dynamic and complex network with large volumes of distributed energy resources (DERs) connected at distribution level. We are seeing the advent of producer/consumers (or ‘prosumers’) and local energy markets. The rise of electric vehicles (EVs), renewable energy, storage and, in time, decarbonisation of heating are all contributing to the low carbon and better air quality agendas being promoted by government at all levels.

These fundamental changes are challenging both how we maintain and operate our network today, and creating opportunities for us to do so more efficiently in the future. We are committed to playing an essential facilitation role in the UK’s low carbon economy and to support the transition to a decarbonised and more de-centralised electricity system, our role has to evolve.

Innovation is at the forefront of this revolution. By developing new ideas, fresh approaches and better processes using the network as a living testbed, Innovation is playing a crucial role not only in making our network safer, more reliable and more efficient, but also in developing technical and commercial solutions that support the uptake of EVs and low carbon technologies and address the needs of tomorrow’s customers.

The Project Lead will support the Innovation team to develop specific innovation strategies, including the deployment of new network arrangements for dealing with decentralised generation, EVs and DERs. To evaluate these strategies, the team will develop research studies and demonstration projects to test the network impact and benefits associated with the implementation of fresh solutions.

The Project Lead will have overall responsibility for the leadership and delivery of innovation projects over the life of the project, including directing in-house and external resources engaged in the technical and commercial solutions, management of trials, analysis and sharing of results.


  • Project Management and Technical leadership:
  • You will set up innovation projects and guide them through different stages of delivery to closure and handover to business as usual implementation;
  • Manage the research, development, demonstration, and business-as-usual implementation of novel technologies and/or novel commercial arrangements;
  • You will prepare cost-benefit analyses, business cases, and retrospective benefits assessments for our innovation projects;
  • Total project budget responsibility of up to £5 million;
  • Ensure projects are managed and delivered in compliance with relevant standards, procedures, and governance; including documentation & to comply with stage-gated governance and monthly project health reporting;
  • You will manage project issues, and changes as they arise; and where an issue needs to be escalated to senior management, prepare briefings, options, and expert advice to ensure an effective decision;
  • You will prepare and review project progress and technical reports that are submitted to Ofgem/other funding organisations and published in the public domain;
  • Collaborate with experts across the business & externally and provide technical inputs where necessary;
  • Ensure sharing of knowledge and learning to all partners using multiple communications channels.
  • Line Management and Team Leadership:
  • Manage a project team of direct reports and/or other staff, external contractors and partners; ensure that they have adequate resources; and hold them accountable for time, cost, quality, health and safety, and environmental performance of their respective work areas;
  • Hold accountability for the time, cost, quality, health and safety, and environmental performance of innovation projects.
  • Stakeholder engagement:
  • You will engage directly and build strong relationships with our all partners at a senior level;
  • You will become a point of reference on relevant topics, including developing company position statements, authoring papers and presenting at meetings, events and conferences;
  • Represent UK Power Networks on relevant working groups, industry boards etc.
  • Continuous improvement:
  • Identify and achieve efficiency savings within project plans and the Innovation Team’s business plan;
  • Identify and implement project management best practices through our industry benchmarking;
  • Contribute to the Innovation Team’s business plan and strategy;
  • Contribute to maintain a rich Innovation Idea pipeline and identify new creative solutions that can be translated to projects or directly implemented into the business;
  • Support colleagues to ensure the Innovation Team’s overall portfolio of projects is delivered.

Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience


The Innovation Project Lead will require good problem solving and project delivery capabilities to deal with challenges and opportunities associated with future low carbon networks for which no ‘blueprint’ currently exists. We ask that you have extensive scope of thinking, not limited to technological solutions but open to creative out-of-box solutions to the future challenges and opportunities affecting the business. We are looking for an experienced project manager who can manage innovation projects and who has most of the following skills:

  • Essential: Degree or HNC qualification, ideally in engineering, science, or management;
  • Project/programme management qualification at APMP / Prince2 level or equivalent is desirable but not essential;
  • Understand the challenges and opportunities posed by low carbon technologies and electric vehicles to the electricity networks;
  • Understand transition of distribution networks to Distribution System Operators (DSO) and smart grids;
  • Understand flexibility/demand side response (DSR) activities;
  • Understand design, planning and operation of electricity distribution or transmission networks;
  • Good knowledge of electricity network assets;
  • Proven experience of successfully leading complex projects involving a structured project management framework, diverse teams, and multiple partners;
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, with an evidenced ability to write clearly, concisely, and present effectively for both technical and non-technical audiences;
  • Positive attitude and strong negotiation and influencing skills to manage relationships with other internal directorates, teams and other third parties;
  • Resilient personality, enthusiastic, and able to work well as part of a highly-focused and diverse team;
  • Excellent self-organisation and self-motivation skills; able to work on own initiative with minimal supervision, under pressure and to hard deadlines, with a focus on delivering outputs.

Health & Safety Responsibilities


Managers and supervisors carry both legal and company responsibilities for ensuring the health and safety of their employees, those under their control and those who might be affected by the work undertaken, i.e. public, visitors and employees of other organisations. This includes briefing individuals working for them and ensuring there is the necessary understanding, competence and application of requirements to work safely and without harming the environment.

Employees will ensure they fully understand the health and safety risks involved in their work activities and their responsibility to apply the controls needed to manage those risks to acceptable levels. Similarly where work activities can have an adverse impact upon the environment, and particularly where there are legal requirements, employees will understand those impacts and the controls they must ensure are applied. 

If in doubt ask!


We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, or veteran status. We are proud to be an equal opportunity workplace.