Sarah Vodden
Director of Operations; Innovate UK – part of UK Research & Innovation

About

Newly formed in April 2018, UK Research & Innovation combines 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England with a budget of over £6 billion.

Its mission is to ensure research and innovation continues to flourish in the UK, supporting and connecting the best researchers and innovators with customers, users and the public.  

Sarah has worked at Innovate UK for 7 years, joining as the Competitions Manager in 2011.

Coinciding with the increase of competitions that Innovate UK has been asked to run, she grew and managed a team to deliver streamlined and consistent competition processes.

In 2016 she took on the role of Service Manager for the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) which went live on GOV.UK in 2017.

IFS transformed Innovate UK’s manual competition processes into one digital service which meets the Government Digital Service (GDS) standard.  

Sarah is now Director of Operations for Innovate UK and is overseeing several new transformation projects including extending IFS to handle the grant management and claims user journeys.

Prior to joining Innovate UK, Sarah spent many years in the private sector working in senior roles in software and services companies in the UK.

She has seen and helped organisations take advantage of the rapid development of information technology to help them manage their business.

Before joining Innovate UK she worked as a Product Director and was responsible for managing the product roadmaps and delivery schedules for a portfolio of software products used by SMEs.

Talk Details

Innovate UK’s GDS journey to digital transformation

GDS guidelines and the associated GOV.UK platform are both well respected across digital communities today. 

Until just over 12 months ago Innovate UK ran its grant funding using paper based manual processes and disparate systems. 

Sarah led a project to develop a GDS compliant digital service which sits on GOV.UK to deliver grant funding opportunities to its customers. 

This has not only delivered process improvement, efficiencies and cost savings, but an understanding of how digital services should be designed around the needs of its end users. 

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. They drive growth by working with companies to de-risk, enable and support innovation.