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Science Lead

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Company Details
Industry: Science and Technology
Description: Zinc exists to build and scale a brand-new way to solve the most important societal problems faced by the developed world. Our approach empowers the most talented and motivated people in the world to redirect their careers and have a large-scale social impact as entrepreneurs, researchers and intrapreneurs.
Job Description

We are searching for an applied scientist with a passion for research translation and application, to lead on scientific research across Zinc's venture-builder programmes. This role will start in October 2021, and will be based in London.

Zinc’s Venture-Builder Programme

Zinc exists to build and scale a brand new way to tackle society’s most important problems. We run a venture-builder programme where individuals come together in London, full-time, with the aim of creating new commercial businesses from scratch. We take cohorts of 70 talented individuals who are passionate about the mission, and have not yet committed to any particular solution. We support those individuals to find co-founders who can complement their skills, and help them to build highly scalable ventures.

Our programmes are designed to overcome disciplinary and sectoral silos by taking a mission-led approach - combining the best of design, research and entrepreneurship in a new method. From 2020-2024, we will be focusing on four missions:

  • To improve mental and emotional health
  • To add more years of high quality to later life
  • To create new opportunities in places hard-hit by automation and globalisation
  • To help people minimise the harm they do to the environment

Zinc’s Approach to R&D

Zinc’s missions and programmes provide a range of exciting opportunities for R&D, which is at the heart of our approach to developing impactful and commercially successful products and services. We are committed to maximising the value and impact of our ventures’ experimentation through an approach that combines high-quality scientific research with innovative product development. Our aim is to unlock untapped talent, knowledge and capital to tackle high-risk, high-value opportunity areas. Find out more about our R&D work here.

In our venture-builder programmes, R&D plays a variety of roles, including: analysing and translating existing data and evidence, researching and testing with user groups, developing prototypes, designing pilots, experimenting with innovative research and evaluation methods, running workshops and sprints, connecting with relevant external expertise, and generating and sharing new research and innovations.

Zinc is about to enter a new growth phase. Over the next 4 years, we will run 7 venture-builder programmes, working with 500 founders to build ~200 new ventures, and backing 100. This next phase provides a unique platform to scale-up, in parallel, our R&D activities.



As part of our growing R&D team, we are looking for someone with a strong research background (i.e. postgraduate degree or equivalent professional research experience) to lead science and research across our venture-builder programmes. This role is ideally suited to someone who has some experience working in applied (ideally commercial) settings, and with excellent research translation, application and communication skills. This is a full-time role, based in London.

The successful applicant will work closely with the R&D and venture-builder teams, as well as our wider network of experts, to:

  • Prioritise and signpost to key opportunity areas and avenues for innovation within each of our four missions
  • Build the curriculum of content for the programme, linking with external experts
  • Work with the entrepreneurs (through 1:1 work as well as training and workshops) to build an evidence-based understanding of the problem, develop and test new ideas, and build a plan for impact measurement
  • Support our user research activities, working with others in the R&D team to ensure that our emerging ventures have access to tools, methods and governance processes to run research effectively and ethically
  • Contribute to our internal library of research resources for our entrepreneurs and ventures
  • Disseminate learning relating to specific research projects (e.g. learnings from user testing a new product), as well as insights on the process of embedding research in new ventures
  • Identify avenues for further research and funding
  • Support the management of various time-limited project-based roles (e.g. PhD student placements)


This role would suit an individual with a strong scientific background, and ideally some experience of working with early-stage innovators, product developers and/or entrepreneurs.

We are looking for someone with the following skills/experience/attributes:

  • Ability to translate findings from scientific papers, expert consultations and user research into actionable design recommendations and product adaptations;
  • Experience in a range of research methods, and comfortable leading user research projects
  • Comfortable working with people from a range of disciplinary backgrounds (e.g. education, marketing, design, UX research, engineering, data science, etc.);
  • Motivated to contribute to areas beyond specialist responsibilities and comfortable with variety in your day-to-day role;
  • Comfortable with ambiguity, and able to plan and execute work in a fast-paced, agile environment, working to tight and often-changing timelines;
  • Team player, who is happy to work with the Zinc team and our ecosystem in a proactive and constructive way;
  • Effective organiser and proactive ‘do-er’, with excellent organisation skills and a hands-on, positive approach - able to use initiative to make decisions;
  • Passion for Zinc’s missions, and the potential for commercial startups to positively impact the lives of millions of people;
  • Some management experience is desirable.


This is an incredibly exciting time to join Zinc, as we begin our scale-up. This role provides an opportunity to apply your scientific background to building >100 mission driven ventures with a group of ambitious founders and a creative and innovative in-house R&D team.

This is an exciting opportunity for a passionate and motivated scientist to work in an applied, fast-paced, creative environment. It is suited to innovative researchers who want to accelerate their impact, work alongside others with complementary skills, and use scientific knowledge and methods to create impactful, successful solutions.

The salary is ~£40K - £50K (commensurate with experience).

The role will provide the opportunity to:

  • Work with 70 motivated, dedicated Founders, and a diverse community of experts, on social missions that are vitally important
  • Be at the forefront of creating science-rich products and services to tackle social issues with Zinc as we set the pace globally for science, social and commercial innovation.
  • Learn from and contribute to a range of new innovative, tech-enabled ventures
  • Hear from world-leading experts in technology, business, design, and research through Zinc’s programme of talks and workshops
  • Conduct and disseminate applied, design-led, agile, creative research
  • Gain experience translating research into practice and maximising the potential impact of scientific research
  • Maximise the impact of research and help to break down the current silos that exist between disciplines and sectors
  • Accelerate your own personal impact on important societal problems
  • Work as part of a growing, interdisciplinary team

Closing date: 10th June, 2021

For questions about this role, please contact

Salary: £40K - £50K
Employment Type: Full Time
Contact Information
Name: Research Team