Policy and research assistant/s

Background

Sense about Science is a unique campaigning charity that challenges the misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life. We advocate openness and honesty about research findings and work to ensure the public interest in sound science and evidence is recognised in public discussion.

We’ve changed many debates about science and evidence over the past 15 years by involving the public and researchers in challenging misleading claims. We introduced reviews of whether government is transparent about its use of evidence in policy proposals and run Evidence Week in the UK parliament which allows researchers to present their cutting-edge research directly to MPs and Peers. We lead the public campaign Ask for Evidence, helping people use scientific questioning to navigate debates and as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, Sense about Science led public calls for transparency regarding the government’s response to the situation.

The need for greater respect for the public interest in sound science and evidence has never been more apparent than during the pandemic so it’s an exciting time to join Sense about Science. Do you have what it takes to help?

These Policy and research assistants will be responsible for monitoring policy issues related to our work, particularly on the use of evidence and its reliability. They will produce concise weekly reports on upcoming and ongoing issues. They will prepare responses to formal consultations from Government and other stakeholders. They will also be expected to produce briefings on emerging policy issues, in the UK and internationally as well as conduct research on other issues on an ad hoc basis to meet the needs of Sense about Science. The posts will work with the team to develop the content of Evidence Week 2021 and Holyrood (flagship events in the Sense about Science calendar). The assistants will also be responsible for collating and cataloguing an accessible library of resources on the policy issues that Sense about Science has developed and been involved in.

Person specification

You should be educated to a degree level, ideally in the natural or social sciences. You need strong written and oral communication skills and be able to work with individuals at all levels of influence and understanding of scientific issues. Ideally, you should have a passion for politics and have a demonstrable interest in current affairs. The ideal candidate/s would have good research, writing and analytical skills. You should be able to effectively prioritise and manage your workload and have strong organisation skills, with good attention to detail. An ability to understand and use statistics would be an advantage. Sense about Science is a busy and fast-paced organisation so you’ll need to be able to demonstrate flexibility and ability to use your own initiative.

Employability support

The employees will be assigned a manager wiuth whom they will be in frequent contact. They are likely to have daily contact supplemented with, at least a one hour long catch-up meeting per week. We also have monthly team planning meetings in which the employees will be able to reflect on, and evaluate their work and receive constructive feedback, They will be able to discuss their personal goal/s for the job with their manager and look for specific tasks and activities which will help them achieve these. They will also get advice and support on developing their CV, writing a covering letter and interview techniques.

In terms of specific skills training the applicants will also gain an understanding of the following:

  • How to communicate effectively within a team
  • Understanding of appropriate workplace behaviour and culture
  • Project management training – how to set appropriate goals, define your deliverables, create a project schedule/timeline, communicating your plans
  • Fundraising training – How to prepare and write a compelling funding proposal
  • WordPress training – web publishing training to create a websites or blogs

They will also be able to sit in on the training sessions that SaS run for our partners covering topics such as policy engagement, peer review, and public engagement in understanding scientific issues.

Applicants need to be in receipt of universal credit and can be referred through their work coach.