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Senior Business Consultant

Harris Hill
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
£60,000 to £70,000 pa
Closing date
4 Jan 2021

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Job Details

Senior Business Consultant: Interim role with the potential to become permanent

A truly unique opportunity for an experienced senior executive to play a lead role in an innovative charity, building and growing a platform to harness the potential of dogs’ sense of smell to diagnose a range of diseases, including COVID-19.

We train dogs to save lives

We are the pioneering organisation for research into canine olfactory diagnostics. We train dogs to detect the odour of disease with the aim of developing faster, more efficient and less invasive diagnostics that lead to better patient outcomes.

Our Bio Detection research includes cancer, neurological disease and bacterial infections, and now COVID-19, and has the potential to benefit millions.  We already apply what we know about the science of canine olfaction to benefit people by training Medical Alert Assistance Dogs, which help individuals manage complex, life-threatening medical conditions including diabetes, PoTS, Addison’s disease, non-epileptic seizures and severe allergies.

Founded in 2008 by Dr John Church and Dr Claire Guest, since then we have published a further 13 peer reviewed papers and placed more than 160 medical alert assistance dogs with people who need them.

Until recently our income has been solely from public donations and grants from charitable trusts.  It has grown slowly but steadily, and for the past three years has been between £1.9 and £2 million a year.  In April 2020 we were successful in an application to the Department of Health & Social Care for funding towards the COVID-19 study, the first we have received from government.  We believe there is potential for significant investment to realise the potential of our research.

Our Future

Accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, the charity is at the point in its development where there are numerous opportunities we could pursue. Our aim is to be internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in the field of canine diagnostic innovation and to translate our research into practical outcomes that improve health. We know that to capitalise on future opportunities, changes to the structure of the organisation may be required.

We responded rapidly to the coronavirus pandemic with a research study looking at the potential for dogs to detect the odour of the COVID-19 disease. Our study presents an opportunity to harness the power of the dogs’ nose to help with the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of practical ways.

Other organisations have started their own activities, but the charity’s collaborative study adopts the same rigorous scientific approach we have brought to all our work and will result in robust and reliable data. We know that the outcome of the study is eagerly anticipated, and because of its robustness will be valued by government agencies. Therefore, we are confident that we have a central role to play both in response to COVID-19 and in future preparedness for the next pandemic.

The challenge is to take advantage of the results in a way which has a practical benefit for human health and the global economy, as well as providing a slingshot for the charity to attract the investment needed to catapult the past 12 years of research into the reality of new diagnostic tools which revolutionise the speed and accuracy of disease diagnosis and improve patient outcomes.

The role

We recognise the need to apply sound commercial practices in choosing where we focus our time and resources and are looking to appoint an experienced senior executive to:

  • Contribute to the creation of a strategy for the Charity’s canine diagnostic research & development, most immediately the potential of the COVID-19 study, but also help assess and recommend options to focus our activities and maximise the opportunities available in a way that delivers public benefit.
  • Develop a business plan to implement the strategy, with a particular focus on ensuring that   the Charity has the means and opportunities necessary to develop the projects identified as strategic priorities.
  • Lead on delivering the business plan. You will capitalise on the Charity’s potential by identifying, developing, and managing relationships with potential partners including investors, collaborators and end users of the various diagnostic platforms to ensure delivery of the strategic objectives. In doing so you will provide a critical appraisal of potential opportunities as they arise, develop proposals to attract investment and negotiate on behalf of the Charity.

Key details:

Senior Business Consultant

£60,000 to £70,000 pa

Full time for an initial 6 months with potential to become permanent

Milton Keynes, but not full-time office based

The successful candidate will have:

  • Strategic skills: proven track record in leading in the development of, and implementing, practical, deliverable strategies within organisations;
  • Strong commercial skills in senior roles (COO, CEO) in organisations of similar or greater scale and/or complexity to MDD, with experience of protecting and maximising the potential of intellectual property rights, including those that arise from academic collaborations;
  • Strong relationship skills: able to work successfully as part of the Charity’s executive leadership alongside the existing CEO and COO, and to represent the Charity in discussions/negotiations with other organisations;
  • Procurement/contracting knowledge: not as a lawyer, but familiarity and experience sufficient to apply a sound commercial assessment of the risks and adequacy of potential arrangements with third parties;
  • Charity experience would be helpful, or at least an empathy for and understanding of the charity sector;
  • Experience of fundraising activities and grant awarding bodies would be helpful but not essential;

If you would like to apply for this role please send your CV and a cover letter in confidence to our consultants Aled Morris and Jenny Hills at

For an informal and confidential chat about this position please contact Aled and Jenny at the above address with your number and suitable times to speak. You can also call on 020 7820 7321 but please be aware the line can be busy, so a pre-arranged call is the best way to ensure availability.

The role has an immediate start so applications will be welcome forthwith.


Harris Hill has been providing the Charity and Not-for-Profit sector with high quality recruitment solutions for over 27 years. In the past year we have worked on more than 3,000 charity vacancies (approximately 2,000 permanent and 1,000 temporary) and are continuing to grow, developing new teams to respond to the strong demand for specialist charity professionals.

Our teams focus on specific functions within charities including Fundraising, Marketing/PR/Digital, Data Management & Business Support, Finance, Human Resources, Temporary and Executive-level roles.

We are committed to delivering a level of excellence to both candidates and clients alike and have an unrivalled reputation for finding talented people their ideal charity jobs within the UK's leading national and international charities and non-profit organisations.

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Contact Us
  • 3rd Floor
  • 89 Albert Embankment
  • London
  • SE1 7TP
  • United Kingdom
  • 020 7820 7300
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