Senior Policy Adviser, Science Policy (Research Landscape)

2 weeks ago(11/01/2018 13:11)
Job ID
Science policy
Closing Date
Position Type
Permanent Full-Time

Job Scope

The Royal Society is the independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science. It is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering and medicine. Providing scientific advice to shape policy is one of our strategic priorities. The Society’s reputation for excellence in science policy is founded on the expertise of its Fellows, its wider convening power, and the quality, rigour and timeliness of all its work.


We produce authoritative analysis and advice to UK, European and International decision makers across a broad spectrum of issues. This covers work across Education and Skills (ensuring that the education system supplies the STEM skills needed by citizens and future STEM employees), the Research Landscape (the conditions that enable excellent research to flourish, including funding, EU Exit, Industrial Strategy and Research Culture). Wellbeing (the future of genetic technologies and their potential implications for food security, health, culture and security,  Resilient Futures (developing solutions to energy, climate change and natural hazards), Data (safely and rapidly realising the benefits of data and digital technologies).


This role in the Research Landscape team offers an experienced policy professional an exciting opportunity to lead programmes of work that span the entire research system and the scientific endeavor. These include the implications of Brexit on talent and mobility, the future form and shape of research funding and the structures and infrastructures that support our world class researchers. Working with influential stakeholders in government, professional bodies and across the Academies, you will work with closely with members of the Fellowship and colleagues across the Society to respond to and shape what is an evolving policy landscape. This will include commissioning original research, pushing forward work on evidence synthesis, conducting research and analysis, and building strong networks across a broad and complex stakeholder network.  

You will also help take forward the Society’s objectives on evidence-informed policy, which are to stimulate new research in relevant priority areas.


The Society works in partnership with businesses, National Academies, learned societies, charities and government; deploys a wide range of channels and approaches, from the delivery of major reports to rapid shorter statements; the creation of influential networks; skilful use of the Society’s digital and media channels; and well-founded programmes of events. The Society continues to develop and look for innovative approaches that will increase its influence in national and international policy debates.


The team is comprised of Senior Policy Advisers and Policy Advisers, supported by project and programme coordinators. Senior Policy Advisers gain experience of corporate activities by leading aspects of the learning and development programme and other cross-cutting corporate activities such as finance, digital and business planning.


You will enjoy exceptional visibility and will have experience of working with and influencing people at all levels of seniority. The ability to assess and report on technical information in a clear and concise manner is essential for this role. A creative thinker and effective problem solver, you will be adept at networking, motivating colleagues, building interdisciplinary relationships and working with committees, and you will bring a flexible approach to hours and working locations.

Standard hours: Full time, 35 hours per week

Salary: £41,400




The work of the Senior Policy Adviser, Research Landscape will include:

Policy advice

  1. Closely monitoring UK policy developments related to science funding, higher education, EU Exit from the European Union.
  2. Identifying and analysing policy issues of relevance to the Society’s policy priorities.
  3. Providing evidence via data analysis, evidence synthesis and commissioning research.
  4. Providing frequent advice to senior management, relevant Vice Presidents, Fellows and committees.
  5. Coordinating, drafting and editing policy studies, reports and other outputs. 

Programme delivery

  1. Ensuring the successful development and implementation of the Society’s policy programmes, including liaison with Committees.
  2. Overseeing projects undertaken by others, for example Policy Advisers and Project Coordinators.
  3. Managing effectively the budget and management reporting for your programme, reporting in accordance with the Royal Society processes. 

Stakeholder management

  1. Building and maintaining strategic national and international networks of influence with policymakers, scientists and other stakeholders at his/her own and at a higher level of seniority.
  2. Representing the Society and its policy positions in meetings with government, policymakers and others. 


  1. Providing Secretariat functions for committees and working groups.
  2. Working with staff and Committees to get relevant approval and deliver your programme of activities.
  3. Ensuring quality assurance processes are followed for your programme of work and other outputs. 

Corporate responsibilities

  1. Working closely with the Education, International and Industry teams to ensure the delivery of the Society’s overall goals.
  2. Sharing experience and ideas with others in the Section and Society and contributing broadly to the smooth running, outcome-orientated approach of the Society
  3. Contributing to other activities within the Royal Society as required.

Key Knowledge and Skills Required


A degree (or equivalent)                                                                                                                         Essential



Expertise in research policy                                                                                                                 Essential

Skilled oral and written communication for technical and non-technical audiences                              Essential

Assessment and reporting of technical information in a clear and concise manner                              Essential

Self-organisation and management of several tasks simultaneously                                                    Essential

Highly motivated and an ability to generate similar motivation in others                                               Essential

An enthusiastic team player, with experience of collaborative working                                                  Essential

Creative thinking and problem solving                                                                                                    Essential.



To have worked on a variety of policy programmes at the national and/or international

level                                                                                                                                                         Essential

Delivering complex projects on time, on budget and on scope                                                               Essential

Writing, editing and disseminating reports                                                                                               Essential

Establishing and maintaining a network of contacts                                                                                Essential

Effective interaction with people at all levels of seniority                                                                          Essential

Managing staff or virtual teams, either formally or informally                                                                   Desirable

Working with committees                                                                                                                          Desirable



Able to be flexible about working hours on occasions                                                                               Desirable

Able to undertake national and / or international travel on occasions                                                       Desirable



1.   Self Management (Advanced)


Key Indicators:

Managing stress/ effective & efficient/ self motivated/ enthusiastic/ confident/ self awareness



  • Identifies difficult situations
  • Recognises stress in self and others and takes steps to reduce it
  • Controls pressurised situations
  • Effectively enthuses those in the team
  • Proactively sets goals and targets for own work, prioritising as appropriate


2.             Working with others (Advanced)


Key Indicators:

Collaborative/ shares knowledge/ giving & receiving feedback/ engaging & networking/ negotiation/ influencing/ presentation skills/ public speaking/ situational & organisational awareness



  • Seeks and responds to feedback
  • Resolves conflicts within and between project teams
  • Seeks out new networks that will create opportunity for the Society
  • Able to present complex issues simply
  • Uses discretion, tact and empathy when negotiating with and/or seeking to influence others
  • Understands the need to manage expectations and to only promise what is deliverable


3.  Resource management (Intermediate)


Key Indicators:

Budget management/ organisation/ prioritising/ results focus/ quality focus



  • Makes the best of internal/external resources and coordinates well with external partners to best meet the needs of the Society
  • Builds contingency into projects taking into account possible outside factors
  • Sets and monitors performance against quality and results orientated targets.
  • Focuses on both short and long-term goals
  • Identifying and monitoring resources required to meet objectives


4. Critical thinking (Advanced)


Key Indicators:

Accuracy/ attention to detail/ analytical/ decision making/ judgement/ problem solving/ creativity/ innovative



  • Uses questioning, analytical and probing skills to ‘dig deeper’
  • Knows when enough information has been obtained and adapts presentation of information to the needs of the audience
  • Evaluates the benefits, practicalities and resource implications of ideas and obtains feedback
  • Makes sound decisions in a complex or ambiguous environment and is able to gain support and manage challenges confidently
  • Systematically applies lessons learnt from experience


5. Adaptability  (Advanced)


Key Indicators:

Adaptable/ flexible/ dealing with new situations



  • Actively seeks the input and opinions of others, often outside his/her section & organisation and accommodates and incorporates this thinking into any output.
  • Actively seeks new challenges and projects; leads discussions surrounding new ideas, approaches and projects
  • Anticipates need for innovation and seeks new ideas, approaches and solutions


6. Managing people and relationships (Intermediate)


Key Indicators:

Delegation/ empowerment/ motivates others/ develops staff/ builds rapport/ customer focus & stakeholder engagement/ discreet/ empathetic/ diplomatic/ managing conflict



  • Delegates effectively, setting clear expectations and authority
  • Monitors results and feedbacks to team on a regular basis
  • Recognises others’ contributions and acknowledges their limits
  • Helps others to identify ways to improve their performance.
  • Prioritises supervisory responsibilities and carries them out in a timely fashion
  • Understands and can identify client/stakeholder/staff needs and looks for opportunities to improve their experiences.


7. Leadership (Emerging leader)


Key Indicators:

Vision & strategic direction/ inspires others/ manages change/ develops team/ entrepreneurships/ analytical & problem solving/ self belief



  • Thinks long term
  • Shows optimism about tough goals and communicates this to others
  • Emotionally intelligent; understands the emotional responses of others to challenges and their impact on others
  • Calm in a crisis, but knows own limitations and seeks necessary support
  • Keen to see subordinates/team members take credit for successes
  • Leads by example, setting high standards
  • Fosters trust within all working relationships
  • Adapts style appropriately when leading different people in different situations




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