Chief Business Development Officer

EIT Food

Chief Business Development Officer

EIT Food

Leuven, Belgium


The Chief Business Development Officer (CBDO) will be responsible for ensuring the continued financial sustainability of EIT Food through their leadership and oversight of the organisation’s fundraising and other potential revenue streams and business development, alongside supporting the development of services and products. Following an organisational transformation process, this function and team has been created to ensure the organisation is able to attract new revenue streams and income to finance its activities and fund EIT Food’s innovation ecosystem. The CBDO will sit on the Executive Management Team and report to the CEO. As a member of the Executive Management Team (EMT) of EIT Food IVZW the CBDO will be required to undertake the roles and responsibilities as foreseen in the Association’s statutes and by-laws.


Success in this role means that EIT Food has a diverse range of funding to support our activities, transitioning from our primary grant from the EIT, to other sources of revenue including European and national grants such as Horizon Europe, revenue from services such as our Corporate Venturing service, and income from an active, growing partnership. Funding is critical both for EIT Food, and for the ecosystem of organisations who deliver the programmes and projects which collectively are the route to achieving our strategic objectives of a sustainable, healthy, and just and transparent European Food System.

To achieve this, the main responsibilities for the role and the CBDO’s team are as follows:

  • Develop and implement the future funding strategy and plan for EIT Food. This is the foundation on which we will build the transition of EIT Food over the next 5 years, transitioning from predominantly EIT-funded to a diverse range of funding and revenue sources:
    • Developing and implementing an end-to-end fundraising/bid development process that successfully delivers income for the organisation including;
    • Building relationships with key public-sector bodies, academic organisations, trusts and charitable foundations etc. to position EIT Food as a strategic partner for delivering food systems innovation;
    • Ensure constant horizon-scanning, closely working with Public Affairs and Regional Directors, to identify European level and national level opportunities for fundraising bids or requests for proposals;
    • Orchestrate a pipeline process across EIT Food to identify and support bidding for funding, including proposal writing, technical conversations, and bid management processes. This will include orchestrating consortia bids with our partners;
    • Lead a team coordinating the development of appropriate bid and RfPs responses working closely with Regional and Impact teams;
    • Develop a pipeline of potential opportunities that can be achieved through building propositions for philanthropic organisations, foundations, grant agencies etc., who do not work through open tender processes;
    • Manage the bid/request for proposal process, to improve success rates and ensuring we have a strong pipeline for funding which will support the strategic objectives of the organisation.
  • Business Development: Working with the organisation’s functions to support the development of services and products, to attract new partnerships, and support the return from our portfolio of innovation activity:
    • Lead strategic approach across the organisation to develop viable services, revenue streams and commercial models, building on the portfolio and capabilities of the team. For example, opportunities to monetise assets, take services such as training programmes into new markets etc.;
    • Build capability to construct effective propositions, including proposals, commercial models, and accurate financial forecasts;
    • Implement business development processes, integrated into budgeting and planning, including the introduction of appropriate tools and systems as needed:
      • Collaborate with EIT Food colleagues and other stakeholders to identify opportunities for services, industry collaborations, licensing, asset monetisation etc.;
      • Working with regional teams, develop industry contacts and relationships for strategic intelligence, business partnerships and project opportunities;
      • Working with Communications and regional teams, develop EIT Food’s position as an innovation agency for food systems change, with clear value propositions for corporates, regional and national governments, NGOs, foundations etc.;
      • Ensure the organisation has an effective forecasting and deal management process, with improving success rate over the next 2 years.
  • Develop internal commercial capabilities:
    • Work with the Executive Management Team to provide commercial acumen and analysis to inform high-level decision-making and communication;
    • Work with each Impact and Regional Director to ensure that financial sustainability lies at the heart of the team’s strategies and development plans;
    • Work closely with the Chief Operating Officer for the implementation of any activity from a financial and legal perspective;
    • Work closely with the Chief Partnership Officer to attract and retain new strategic Partners.
  • Expectations as a member of the EMT:
    • Provide strategic leadership across the commercial and revenue generating areas of EIT Food, to ensure we have clear plans, and are integrated in our approach;
    • Drive a “One EIT Food” culture, so that our customers and partners have a single view of what we deliver;
    • Ensure our future financial sustainability is embedded into all of our teams, so that all teams are pulling in the same direction.

The appointment of this role is critical for the success of EIT Food and it should be filled as soon as possible.


The ideal candidate will have:

  • Bachelor or Master’s degree in business or a related discipline;
  • At least 10 years of experience in a commercial or business development role in an international organisation;
  • Excellent knowledge of the European research funding landscape;
  • Excellent knowledge of the interface between research and industry;
  • Experience of working with or in the food industry;
  • Strong entrepreneurial mindset: drive to take ownership, be proactive, and build a team from scratch. Exhibit a “can-do” attitude and a willingness to take on challenges and roll up one’s sleeves;
  • Experience of leading a bid-development team for public sector or charitable foundation contracts;
  • Strong relationship-building skills;
  • Understanding of the context of EIT Food, the food industry and the thought-leadership topics of the day that will engage EIT Food’s community;
  • Excellent leadership capabilities;
  • Strategic insight and overview;
  • Strong communication skills: both written and verbal;
  • Excellent English language skills are a prerequisite;
  • Flexibility: ability to work in a rapidly changing organisation;
  • Organisational sensitivity and business acumen: ability to translate business needs and problems into solutions;
  • Experience of leading bid/proposal development, pipeline development and coordinating commercial activities.

Please note where candidates have a previous relationship with any EIT Food Partners, please reference this in your application. A cooling period of two years is strongly recommended.


Full-time permanent position.


The role location will be Leuven (Belgium), with regular travel to the regional offices, the partners, the EIT and other stakeholders. The CBDO will need to assure a minimum presence at the head office in Leuven. Having a permanent residence in Belgium is not required, but an advantage. The role will be recruited through the Belgian legal entity, EIT Food IVZW.


Applications should comprise a full curriculum vitae along with a covering letter of application addressing the role and person specification.

The closing date for applications is Friday 13th October 2023 at 12:00 CET.


EIT Food is an equal opportunity employer, offering each candidate matching the minimum obligatory qualifications and experiences an equal chance in employment and promotion procedures.

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© EuroJobsites 2023

EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom