Vacancy: Innovation Specialist

Are you excited about advanced digital technologies and understanding how they can help organisations innovate and grow?

We are looking to recruit an Innovation Specialist to support the delivery of our innovation activities. You will be responsible for working with tech suppliers and large organisations to initiate digital innovation projects, and to help them understand how advanced technology can drive growth.

To apply: Send a CV and cover note to Naomi Hutchinson (

Closing Date: Tuesday 11th May 2021

Ideally, interviews will take place on the 17th of May.

Please note we are not accepting applicants from recruitment companies at this time.

You can download the full job description via PDF or read it below:

Innovation Specialist

Department:                  Digital Catapult NETV

Reports to:                    Lead, Digital Catapult NETV

Term:                            Fixed Until March 2023 (with possible extension)

Salary Range:               £24,000 – £28,000


Organisation Overview

Sunderland Software City drives the sustainable growth of the technology sector through supporting organisations with digital innovation, the adoption of existing technologies, bridging digital skills gaps, and business support.

As part of its innovation angle, Sunderland Software City is responsible for delivering the Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley (NETV), which is the official regional centre for the national Digital Catapult network. Digital Catapult NETV specialises in the application of advanced digital technologies to drive productivity and growth. The Innovation Specialist will operate within this department.

At the core of our innovation activities is education and collaboration. We seek to equip our clients with the understanding of how advanced digital technologies can best address their challenges, and we help them get the right processes in place to introduce new innovation within the workplace. Through our business challenges, we connect non-digital organisations with tech suppliers to pitch and deliver innovative solutions that make a difference.


Working at Sunderland Software City

While we’re not a startup, we aim to maintain an entrepreneurial culture within our organisation. As a small team, staff have the opportunity to get involved with different projects in the organisation.

We are committed to your personal development (CPD). If there is a course you’ve spotted, an event you’d like to attend, or if you’d like to shadow a colleague and learn a different skill, we will seek to facilitate this where possible.

We also work flexibly. Alongside having our own office in the heart of Sunderland, we encourage working from home and have various partnerships in place with local co-working spaces across the North East to facilitate flexible working,

All our perks:

  • Flexible working
  • A brand-new laptop and phone
  • Subscription to Perks at Work
  • Subscription to the ‘Calm’ mental health app
  • Regular team socials
  • Subsidised parking permit in Sunderland
  • Commitment to CPD including events/paid training opportunities


Role Overview

We are looking for someone to join our team at Digital Catapult NETV to support the development and delivery of our innovation projects. As part of the role, you will engage, understand and influence opportunities for collaboration between the region’s digital sector SMEs and the wider business community/corporates.

You will be an enthusiastic communicator, capable of working across multiple departments, sectors and projects. In addition, you will have strong analytical and critical thinking skills to challenge the status quo, delivering business impact for our clients. You will be innovative in your approach to exploring new ideas for opportunity centred projects that meet the key objectives of the Digital Catapult NETV.


How you’ll contribute to our vision

  • Develop and maintain strategic relationships with the region’s digital sector businesses, and the wider business community/corporates;
  • Develop and maintain strategic relationships with external stakeholders such as universities, government bodies, local enterprise partnerships and business support organisations;
  • Develop project concepts and delivery models by working with clients and end user beneficiaries;
  • Undertake research and analysis to enhance knowledge of emerging technologies and their applications;
  • Undertake research with a passion for new subject areas (such as sustainability) to understand where Digital Catapult NETV can add value;
  • Satisfy monitoring and reporting requirements where necessary, which includes the capturing of innovation projects through photographs and minutes that are written up in a comprehensive review pack to give to the client;
  • Generate case studies and PR, in conjunction with Sunderland Software City’s communications team.


Key Skills/Qualifications


  • Stakeholder management and engagement experience;
  • Experience of leading successful projects;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills to present complex information clearly and concisely;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills;
  • Ability to work under pressure and in a fast moving, changing environment;
  • Interest in emerging technologies such as VR/AR, IoT and AI;
  • Confidence to ask probing questions and challenge the status quo.


  • Confidence to lead discussion and articulate ideas to a range of stakeholders;
  • Experience of identifying, planning and delivering client projects that drive business improvement;
  • Experience of working with both public and private sector;
  • Experience of leading successful projects that include multiple partners and stakeholders;
  • Ability to work autonomously;
  • Experience of working with the NE tech sector;
  • Previous experience of working in an innovation delivery role;
  • Understanding of emerging technologies including VR/AR, IoT and AI;
  • Understanding of how emerging technologies can meet the sustainability agenda;
  • Understanding of Digital Catapult strategic objectives;
  • Entrepreneurial attitude.


To apply

The deadline for applications is Tuesday 11th of May 2021. To apply, please send a CV and cover note to Naomi Hutchinson (

We actively encourage applications from people of under-represented groups as we strive to increase diversity in our workplace.

Please note that while we are currently working remotely based on government guidelines, our office is based in Sunderland and applicants will need to be able to travel to the office when premises reopen.