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Research and Development Future Leader’s Programme

Job/scheme locations: 
UK & Ireland
Type of opportunity: 
Graduate scheme
Application deadline: 

Unilever is one of the largest fast-moving consumer goods companies in the world. We make some of the world’s most loved brands: Dove, Lynx, PG Tips, Ben & Jerrys, Marmite, Magnum, Persil and Hellmann’s, to name a few. For a business whose very purpose is to create a brighter future, that future begins in Research & Development (R&D). This is the hotbed of ideas for brands, products, packaging, manufacturing and technology. Your work could impact millions across the world.

What will I be doing?

You’ll be undertaking research to understand what consumers want and need, and developing the technology and science to bring new innovations to life. You’ll be helping to make our brands even healthier, more appealing, more efficient and more environmentally friendly – improving our products in any way possible. Our people have the opportunity to make a big impact every day on a local and global level.

Our people have the opportunity to create a better business and a better world. Working within R&D across our three big categories: Personal Care, Home Care, Foods and Refreshment, you will be part of teams building the next generation of product, packaging, manufacturing and technology capabilities that will allow us to keep making products people love.

Over three years you will undertake a world-class development programme packed with variety and challenge. You’ll develop your individual leadership skills by working on live projects which offer you all the experience you need to become ready for your first management role. Over at least four placement’s you’ll work with teams from different business areas;

  • Looking at the longer-term science and technology behind our products and designing new product innovation in one of our Global R&D centres
  • Deploying our global brands in a locally impactful way or helping to grow our local brands (like PG Tips) to be market leader
  • Developing products from concept idea to full-scale production – with a heavy emphasis on feasibility and understanding consumer needs

During the three-year programme you’ll have the opportunity to work across a range of R&D areas including Discover, Design and Deploy as well as our R&D capabilities such as Digital R&D, Open Innovation or Unilever’s Sustainability and Environmental Assurance Centre. You’ll also have the opportunity to complete at least one placement outside of R&D e.g. in Marketing, Supply Chain or Customer Management (Sales).

First-hand experience – it’s the fastest way to learn. You’ll work across many disciplines with our best people. By experiencing a short placement in field sales, you’ll also meet the most important people we know: our customers and consumers.

What do we look for?

For R&D, we require a strong background in chemical, physical, biological or food-related science degree. We also accept chemical, material and engineering related disciplines. You will understand the importance of commercial success and be passionate about making an impact, contributing towards a more sustainable brighter future through exciting and forward thinking innovations.


Placements may be in different business units across the UK & Ireland, so you need to be flexible about where you are based during the programme.

Diversity at Unilever is about inclusion, embracing differences, creating possibilities and growing together for better business performance. We embrace diversity in our workforce. This means giving full and fair consideration to all applicants and continuing development of all employees regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.

Travel Required: 10-25%

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More about this vacancy

UK, England, Ireland