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Head of R&D


About the Job

Purpose and responsibilities

The Head of R&D reports to the Founder and CEO and is a member of the Senior Management
Team. The person will develop a commercially-aware R&D strategy for biology and implement this
through the R&D team across three settings:

  • Lab-based: Develop solutions for new pest species and maintain insect colonies.
  • Field-based: Design and manage trials to demonstrate solution efficacy, measure grower
    benefits and optimise treatment protocols.
  • Factory-based: Devise procedures for automated rearing and conduct research to optimise
    biological performance, interfacing closely with the engineering team.

The individual will contribute significantly to the company’s growth by spearheading portfolio
expansion and supporting the internationalisation of solution sales and deployment. This will include
working effectively with academic and commercial partners where appropriate. The Head of R&D is
also responsible for regulatory compliance related to biology, including the use of x-rays.

About You

Preferred qualifications and experience

  • Managed R&D for a portfolio of crop protection solutions being deployed internationally
  • Experience with biological control solutions, ideally including sterile insect technique
  • Track record of measuring commercial benefits of technical solutions
  • PhD in entomology or related subject
  • Team leadership and line management experience

Personal skills and attributes

The Head of R&D role demands effective senior leadership skills including:

  • Communication and influencing
  • Strategic thinking and problem-solving
  • Numeracy and financial acumen

We look to attract candidates who can demonstrate behaviours in sync with our company values:

  • Spirit – Having innovation, team and fighting spirit!
  • Fluid – Working in a flexible way and being open to change
  • Trustworthy – Includes honesty, integrity, respect and being approachable
  • Growth mindset – Learn and grow & embrace challenges
  • Succeeding together – Collaborate and celebrate success together

About Us

BigSis (, is a fast-growing UK start-up that provides farmers with chemical-free insect control solutions based on the sterile insect technique (SIT). Central to the BigSis business model is its innovative approach of automated individualised insect rearing and processing, which ensures that it can scale output reliably by replication. It has raised £8.6m equity funding to date to develop its technology and prove its product/market fit.

The company has two sites in Reading and employs over 30 staff. BigSis was named by Bloomberg UK as one of 25 ‘startups to watch’ in October 2023 and has a Glassdoor rating of 5 out of 5.

Job Overview

Job Title
Head of R&D
Reading, RG30 1DZ
Competitive, plus share options
Primary Contact
CV and cover letter to