Careers | Head of Innovation

Company Information

Science in Sport plc is a leading sports nutrition business that develops, manufactures and markets innovative nutrition products for professional athletes, sports and fitness enthusiasts and the gym lifestyle community. The Company has two highly regarded brands: PhD Nutrition, a premium active-nutrition brand targeting the gym lifestyle community, and SiS, a leading endurance nutrition brand among elite athletes and professional sports teams. 

Major investors include Aviva, AXA Framlington, Schroders, J.O. Hambro and Otus Capital, together with a range of institutional investors.

The two brands are sold internationally through our own and digital platform, together with third-party online sites including Amazon and Tmall. The business is currently rolling out in Asian markets and intends to launch in India and the Middle East during 2021. Our US business is growing strongly.

We have extensive retail distribution in the UK and internationally, including major supermarkets, high street chains and specialist sports retailers. 

This omnichannel footprint enables the Company to address the full breadth of the sports nutrition market currently estimated at approximately £11 billion worldwide.

PhD is one of the UK's leading active nutrition brands with a reputation for high quality and product innovation. The brand has grown rapidly, based on its core protein powders, since its launch in 2005. The range now comprises powders, bars and supplements including the high protein, low sugar range, PhD Smart. PhD brand ambassadors include leading fitness influencers Ross Edgley and Obi Vincent. The PhD brand is an official partner to the Tough Mudder Challenge and Race Series.

SiS, founded in 1992, has a core range comprising gels, powders and bars focused on energy, hydration and recovery. SiS is the official sports nutrition supplier to many professional teams and organisations including INEOS Grenadiers Cycling Team, Team INEOS UK (America's Cup Team) and Manchester United Football Club. SiS supplies more than 150 professional football clubs in the UK, Europe and USA, and is Performance Research Partner to the English Football Association.

Science in Sport is headquartered in London. Its shares joined the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in August 2013 and trade under the ticker symbol SIS.


Role Summary

The role will be responsible for driving scientific innovation and contribute to the overall R&D strategy 

SIS Head of Innovation will be leading the R&D of all in house and external innovation in ingredients, technologies, packaging, and formats for both PhD and SIS. 

This role will ensure that SIS plc is continuously ahead of the game and fully immersed in all future forward-thinking developments within the wider food, nutrition, technology, packaging industries, working and collaborating with all parties globally and pushing the boundaries to deliver to the business cutting edge knowledge, opportunities and intel to enable SIS plc to continuously lead the category in true and world class innovation in product. 

As Head of Innovation you will be challenged to help drive the R&D consumer science strategy, with focus on technical insights, market insights, sensory science, consumer behaviour and you will be skilled in consumer understanding. 

As Head of Innovation you will be accountable for discovering, developing, and unlocking key insights to turn compelling ideas into reality resulting in significant value growth in existing and new markets. 

With an innovation mindset, you will be able to identify scalable innovation opportunities through unmet consumer needs.


Role & Responsibilities 

Build a comprehensive library of knowledge of innovation in technology capability on a global platform.
Build a comprehensive library of knowledge of ingredient innovation as well as developmental work being carried out globally. 
To work collaboratively with the Science Team and global ingredient innovation contacts on leading both SIS and PhD to drive science-based innovation, with R&D projects that     deliver unique and market leading products such as products that SIS plc can patent/IP and lead the market in. 
Working closely with the Brand team to develop some real consumer insight into consumer behaviours, tastes and requirements to develop into category leading products. 
Work with Patent company to secure patent status for PhD & SIS plc innovation product. 
Help with the development and Implementation of the global innovation strategy.
Influence process and procedure improvement
Develop the teams in house capsule and tablet formulation capabilities. 

Research and analysis to deliver the very latest and up to date insight to educate the business of the latest food, consumer, flavour and protein trends alongside technologies, food science advancements, consumer insight. 

Attending relevant exhibitions, liaising with Category Managers and understanding the convenience and protein snacking and food category. 

Liaising with and building key relationships and understanding with each and every relevant suppliers and     food manufacturer to identify and potentially work with to develop new     innovation whilst working to technical, operational and commercial constraints.

Integration of food safety, legal and regulatory compliance for new product innovations working closely with the NPD Manager, Technical and Supply Chain team throughout the new product     development process.
Communication of project details, supplier information and critical paths through regular NPD and innovation meetings, maintaining auditable progress records by project.
Ability to liaise with external ingredient     suppliers and co-manufacturers to develop new product launches whilst working to technical, operational, and commercial constraints.

Delivery of product sensory panels through regular innovation meetings. 

Ability to work across two locations effectively. Practical work at the manufacturing site in Blackburn and Willerby with team meetings in Leeds, Manchester and London. 

Experience and Skillset

The candidate should possess a qualification in Food science and technology or similar, or experience in Food manufacturing or development, experience in working and development of sports related performance food products. A keen understanding of sports nutrition.

Consumer science including several years managing complex projects

Experienced in consumer research including both qualitive and quantitative methodologies
Statistical theory and its application to sensory/consumer research
Proven track record of leading consumer and technical innovation in a FMCG context.
Patent or Intellectual Property experience is desirable.
Ideally Branded & Own label experience.
Real expertise on stage & gate processes. 
Experience with Loftware desirable
Commercially aware with excellent Project Management experience

Key Personal Profile

The applicant would need to possess the following key attributes: -

·    Positive problem-solving attitude. The ability to see problems from completely different angles in order to resolve them. 

·    Demonstrate key entrepreneurial skills with an aptitude for spotting market gaps and opportunities quickly

·    Data Capture, analysis and strong reporting skills

·    Good interpersonal and negotiation skills

·    A strong team member who supports the NPD and PS Team in all areas as required. 

·    Highly Organised, highly self-motivated and driven. 

·    A Strong ability to work on owns initiative and drive the size of this role and the opportunities for the business. 

·    A Pioneering attitude and commitment. Understanding the opportunity to bring to market true and exciting innovation, delivering the Science in Sport group business revenue growth and credibility in a very fast growing sector of the market.   


Further Duties and Responsibilities:

·    Leading the research and development process for various key projects (internal briefs, blue sky concepts, re development of current products etc.)

·    Assisting all projects are delivered in a consistent manner and according to agreed procedures, specifications and relevant legislation.

·    Accurately completing all project-related documentation under the supervision of a senior member of the technical team, including keeping up to date/ accurate logs.

·    Assist NPD and Technical team members as well as interact with in house and external factory personnel in carrying out production trials.

·    Organising organoleptic tastings for production line testing of products received from QC personnel.

·    Preparing and despatching samples to customers (making samples, labelling boxes & control samples etc.)

·    Liaising with other company departments and ensuring good communication and smooth information flows.

·    Showing Good Work Ethic as a key member of the New Product Development team (positive attitude, punctuality etc.)

·    Assist with presentations on and off-site.