Head of Ag-Tech


Number of Positions:
Contract Type:
Permanent/Full Time
Contract Details:
Working Hours:
35 Hours per week
Closing Date:
Job Category:
Tech for Development
Business Area / Division:
Tech for Development
Business Unit:
United Kingdom

Focus of the Role

Are you passionate about the possibilities of sustainably transforming agriculture, food systems, and nourishing the world through the power of technology? Do you see a path to progress through the collaboration between global leaders, policymakers, and technologists in meeting the challenges of tomorrow, today? Are you entrepreneurial and motivated by the challenge of creating new strategies and solutions in agricultural technology as part of a growing and emerging global programme?

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is recruiting a new Head of AgTech to lead our emerging AgTech work in the newly launched Tech for Development Initiative (T4D). The initiative has been enabled by a dynamic external partner, across existing and new operations in our Government Advisory and Tech & Public Policy divisions of the Institute. This landmark initiative will be delivered in 30 countries across Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia and aims to transform lower- and middle-income nations through the application of sustainable, scalable, disruptive technology and innovations across public services, food systems and agriculture, healthcare, and climate.

The postholder will be part of a globally situated central team providing strategic direction, expertise, and support to country teams designing and delivering technology transformation initiatives in partnership with governments, political leaders, and technology companies who want to harness technology to achieve ambitious leaps forward for citizens and the world. T4D Sector Heads in the central team form part of the T4D programme Leadership as well as the Technical support team which is comprised of experts across Ag-Tech, Climate Tech, Digital Identity, Health-Tech and E-Government.

The Head of Ag-Tech will provide sectoral thought leadership, lead the development of our AgTech strategy to provide direction and a vision for the pillar, and generate new partnerships which enhance our offer. To ensure we are building a progressive and ambitious portfolio of projects in the AgTech space which address governments’ most critical challenges and priorities, you will engage and collaborate with a growing team of country-based Heads of Tech and Ag-Tech advisors who are leading the scoping, design, and delivery of AgTech initiatives. To successfully deliver your remit, you will need to work across the Institute and in collaboration with those working as part of the global Agriculture and Food Practice and Tech and Public Policy Teams which provides an opportunity to close the gap between thought leadership and hands on implementation and impact.

Key Responsibilities

This is a senior role within TBI and will be held by an exceptional candidate with deep and extensive experience and relationships across the Ag-Tech sector.

Key responsibilities will include:

Lead Ag-Tech strategy and program development

  • Develop, design, and continually improve the T4D AgTech strategy to guide the cohesive development and vision for our emerging and growing AgTech work within countries across digital AgTech, smart farming and beyond.
  • Work closely with Heads of Tech for Development, AgTech advisors, and relevant country team staff in providing technical expertise and thought partnership to scope and design opportunities in support of countries’ top challenges leveraging disruptive technology, generating innovative solutions, and framing them in a compelling way
  • Support country teams and consultants to shape recommendations to, and engagement with, Heads of State, Ministers, or other senior stakeholders on the role of technology and digital transformation in agriculture and food systems.
  • Work closely with others across TBI working on Agriculture and Food, including the Africa Advisory Agriculture and Food practice and in-country ag delivery and ag investment advisors, to explore how wider TBI advisory work can build a runway for T4D AgTech opportunities and enhance the achievement of the Institute's goals.
  • Identify and apply emerging trends and opportunities within the Ag-Tech sector for the benefit of our work in existing and new countries and keep us on the cutting edge of disruptive technology innovation, working in close collaboration with the Tech and Public Policy team
  • Work collaboratively with other T4D Sector Head colleagues to capture cross sectoral learnings and a cohesive tech for development program

External engagement and partnerships

  • Develop and enhance our network and relationships with leading innovators, technology companies, and implementation partners in the Ag-Tech space
  • Provide senior-level representation, including presentations, for TBI at external fora and events
  • Engage with relevant external stakeholders such as other not-for-profit organisations, donors, media, suppliers, and agencies

Support programmatic delivery and excellence

  • Work with the T4D leadership team and Global Director to ideate, troubleshoot and support the implementation of Ag-Tech initiatives across the organisation ensuring transformative impact of our work and that country teams can access the best of the Institute to support their work
  • Working with the Global Director of Tech for Development, ensure the global portfolio of Ag-tech initiatives form a cohesive program which contribute to the Global T4D OKRs/KPIs
  • Work closely with our Tech for Development Evidence and Impact Advisor to contribute to a learning culture in T4D and ensuring that our AgTech work generates insights and impact in line with our strategic framework and results framework.
  • Support country and regional teams as needed to attract and hire, leading talent in support of our AgTech work, contributing to the induction and support for new hires and mentoring and coaching where needed.
  • The post holder and his/her team will be expected to play a key role in the broader community at TBI and will be expected to build strong working relationships working with strong self-awareness and cross-cultural sensitivity.
  • Shape and embody a positive culture that drives innovation and delivery

Person Specification

We are looking for an experienced candidate:

  • With a minimum of 10 years’ relevant experience in management consulting, government advisory, or technology consulting in the agriculture and technology space.
  • Who is considered an expert and thought leader in the Ag-Tech sector
  • Who has experience in and understands agriculture priorities and challenges in emerging economies, with experience in Africa, Eastern Europe, and/or Asia highly desirable
  • With demonstrable experience in technology enterprises or programmes
  • Who is strategic, entrepreneurial, can challenge the status-quo and develop plans for successful delivery of challenging objectives
  • With leadership experience in consulting, strategy and/or advisory functions
  • With demonstrable expertise public policy or government relations
  • With outstanding management skills and the proven ability to build and inspire teams to achieve exceptional objectives
  • Who has a track record of cultivating and maintaining strategic alliances and partnerships across public, social, and private sector organisations
  • Who is a skilled communicator and influencer, from executive office level through to technical level, is adept at speaking to senior leadership, knows how to navigate ambiguous environments and is comfortable at managing up and beyond hierarchy
  • Who is comfortable speaking in public forums and representing the institute on the global stage
  • Who is able to set strategic direction, inspire teams collaboratively, and not afraid to be hands on to achieve results
  • Who has worked or consulted in developing and emerging economies and is sensitive to a diverse range of cultural and regional norms, and fosters a positive spirit of collaboration
  • Who commits to business objectives and pulls out the stops to make sure they are always met

The following is also desirable:

  • Experience in the end-to-end delivery of digital/tech products or services within government or private sector
  • Experience working in or with  agriculture market systems

About The Institute

The Tony Blair Institute (TBI) is a mission-driven not for profit organisation. We exist to equip political leaders and governments to build open, inclusive and prosperous societies. We work hard, every day, to make a difference. When governments work well they are able to create economic and social change in a way that promotes fairness, social justice and opportunity. We work relentlessly to support leader and governments with the challenges they face. Giving them practical solutions and actionable insights, that once implemented, can be transformative for their people  

We do this within two connected divisions: 

 Government Advisory 

Our Government Advisory teams work directly with political leaders and governments around the world to implement reforms that improve the lives of their citizens. It works with a variety of partners and its outputs cover a range of disciplines and projects across countries in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South Asia.

 Policy Futures 

Our Policy Futures work encompasses three broad areas: 

  • Renewing the Centre: developing a bold and innovative domestic policy programme to help renew the centre ground of British politics; 
  • Tech and Public Policy: exploring the policy challenges and opportunities presented by the technological revolution; and 
  • Extremism Policy Unit: creating solutions designed to tackle the threat of extremist ideologies in the UK and around the world. 

As an organisation, the core beliefs we all embrace are: 

  • Open and Progressive: you’ll believe in the value of teamwork 
  • Bold and Pragmatic: you’ll approach everything you do with integrity and authenticity 
  • Optimistic Changemaker: you’ll be focused on results 

TBI believes embracing diversity and inclusion make us a better place to work.  It’s our goal to reflect everyone in society and we actively welcome applications from individuals and groups who are under-represented in the workplace. We celebrate difference be it ethnicity, religion, age, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. We will only ever assess you on your abilities and fit for a role. We’re happy to discuss any adjustments you need to ensure a level playing field during recruitment and, if you\'re successful, discuss any adjustments you might need to thrive in your role.