Organisation ESRC
Organisation Detail Economic and Social Research Council
Reference Number IRC251090
Location Swindon See on Map
Salary £59023
Date Posted 13 September 2019
Grade UKRI-Band G
Contract Type Fixed Term Appointment
Hours Full Time
Closing Date 27 October 2019
Interview Date

Brief Description

Salary: £59,023 per annum
Grade: UKRI - G
Contract Type: Fixed Term - 3 Years (Secondments will be considered)
Hours: Full-time and part-time (minimum of 0.8 FTE/approx. 30 hours)
Closing Date: 27th October 2019
Location: Swindon or London based, but will require regular travel to both including at least two to three days per week in the Swindon office.

Organisational position

This is a key leadership role at the heart of ESRC developing and delivering effective engagement with senior policy makers and practitioners to ensure social science contributes to addressing major societal challenges and opportunities.
You will be responsible for leading ESRC’s UK public policy engagement portfolio, including a range of stakeholder communities and the UK’s devolved administrations.

You will report to the Director of Strategy and Operations, Paul Nightingale, working closely with the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) including the Executive Chair, Director of Research and a network of Deputy Director colleagues.

The role also entails line management of at least one member of staff. ESRC is flexible on location but the job will require several days a week in London and management of teams in Swindon (2 days a week), as well as occasional travel to other parts of the UK.

Job purpose

The delivery of positive social and economic impact from research is central to ESRC’s mission. The ability of social science research to contribute to addressing major societal challenges will often depend on effective engagement with policy makers, the analytical community in government and with a range of officials and practitioners. This involves building and maintaining long term partnerships and relationships, aligning excellent research with public policy needs and ensuring high-quality evidence and research is timely, clear and accessible.

The ESRC is seeking a Deputy Director of Public Policy Engagement to take personal responsibility for a small but pivotal team, and lead ESRC’s strategic public policy engagement. The role will require working with a wide range of academic and broader stakeholder communities to build collaborative relationships and further develop opportunities for social science research to have a positive influence on the development and delivery of effective public policy and services.

You will work closely with others across ESRC and UKRI to increase the quantity and quality of engagement between public policy development and delivery and social science research.

You will oversee key investments such as our What Works portfolio, and other public policy and government fellowship activities such as the Areas of Research Interest Fellowships. This role is also responsible for overseeing UKRI’s development of a future investment in forensic science and other potential What Works areas. As in other areas, this aspect of the role requires effective engagement with UKRI partners, including Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The role requires you to develop and extend ESRC’s engagement with public policy, improve our internal processes and support strategic decision making. You will therefore need to be able to influence internal and external thinking and behavior, and embed a high-performance culture of teamwork both across the ESRC; and externally with UKRI partners, leading academic stakeholders, strategic partners including national and devolved government departments and key networks.
You will be expected to work closely with all members of ESRC’s Senior Leadership Team to help ensure our public policy engagement activities are joined up with other ESRC and wider UKRI activities to help deliver our collective strategic priorities.

Key responsibilities 

You will be expected to lead delivery of the following outcomes:

  • Generating more effective collaborations and stronger relationships with public policy at a UK, national and local level so that research is better aligned with public policy needs, and policy-making and delivery are improved by appropriately delivered research and evidence
  • Improving Council strategy formation, supporting strategic decision-making at a UKRI level, and working to deliver the ESRC’s vision for social science across specific Delivery Plan priorities (particularly priorities to improve the delivery of public services
  • Excellent engagement with other Councils and Innovate-UK in public policy engagement, including representing ESRC at senior level meetings to ensure a strong social science presence in cross-cutting initiatives
  • Developing, with colleagues, effective broader external relationships with key strategic partners, representing ESRC at senior level meetings
  • Building staff effectiveness and capability and motivating teams
  • Working with the Director of Strategy to develop (a) team objectives and key results, and (b) frameworks to prioritize the most effective use of ESRC resources to deliver the ESRC’s strategic priorities around improving Government and public policy engagement to deliver better outcomes
  • Ensuring excellent performance management of the investments within ESRC’s government engagement/policy impact area in order to optimise ESRC knowledge of outputs, outcomes, learnings and insights
  • Supporting ESRC’s teams to effectively catalyse and build upon ideas from user stakeholders including government departments in the UK and internationally
  • Delivery of activities against budgets ensuring value for money at all times
  • Ensuring that the scoping and delivery of a new UKRI investment in forensic science and other potential new What Works Centres, working in partnership with EPSRC, STFC, the Home Office, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Justice and other government departments.
  • Developing and exploiting appropriate international links to enable better understanding of how social science can contribute to evidence informed policy making
  • Strategic decision making regarding the deployment of resources
  • Line Management, including recruitment and performance management.

Key relationships

  • ESRC Executive Chair
  • SLT members
  • ESRC Band F Network
  • Senior UKRI colleagues
  • Key senior academics
  • The What Works Network
  • Other external stakeholders, including Research Organisations and intermediaries, the academic community and policy makers
  • Key government stakeholders such as BEIS, Cabinet Office, Home Office, Department for Transport, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Health and Social Care, Department for Work and Pensions, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and GO-Science.


Organization Description

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, and a vision to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. More information can be found at

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s leading research agency for funding research and training in the social sciences. Investing over £180 million a year every year our mission is to enable government, business and the public to learn about social change and the reasons behind it. Further details can be found here.

Essential skills

  • Public Administration and delivery skills at an appropriate level
  • A degree or equivalent relevant experience
  • Experience of working within a fast-paced research/funding environment and delivering against tight time-lines
  • Self-motivated with experience of working as a member of a high-level team
  • The ability to lead, manage and motivate a team through a period of change
  • The ability to identify opportunities for social science to make a contribution, to seek out and work with a range of internal and external experts drawn from a full range of stakeholders and partners to secure improved outcomes for the public
  • Experience of developing excellent partnerships with government bodies
  • Excellent knowledge of the role of research/innovation in public policy-making and how it can be improved
  • Well-developed communication skills, including the ability to write documents suitable for a range of internal and external audiences. Documents should draw on robust evidence and set out compelling arguments and justifications for recommendations
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills; including the ability to influence behaviour and create, maintain and promote a strong network of relevant connection
  • The ability to design and deliver presentations for internal and external audiences, and to deal with challenging questions whilst maintaining credibility with the audience
  • Strategic thinking and analytical skills
  • Experience of managing budgets and the exercise of financial control
  • The ability to translate strategic priorities into clear outcome-focused objectives and delivery targets, and an ability to motivate colleagues to achieve these.


  • Experience of public policy in a research related capacity
  • Excellent understanding of the social sciences
  • Knowledge of governance of research and science/innovation in the UK
  • Excellent understanding of the Higher Education sector, gained through experience of working in the Research Councils, Learned Academy, research organisations or similar/related institution.


UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

Limited parking subject to waiting list (Polaris House, Swindon only).

Employee Benefits

UK Research and Innovation recognises and values employees as individuals and aim to provide a pay and rewards package that motivates staff to perform to the best of their ability. The reward package includes a flexible working scheme, a Career Average Revalued Earnings pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance and a number of other benefits.

Developing Talent

We are committed to developing employees in their roles throughout their career. Learning and development plans enable employees to continue their professional development through training and development opportunities such as e-learning, classroom training and on-the-job experiences. We encourage our employees to share their learning across teams and organisations.

Equal Opportunities

We strive to make decisions based on individual merit and ability. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and promote equality of opportunity in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. As holders of Disability Confident Employer status, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

As this job does not fulfil the Home Office Code of Practice criterion for obtaining sponsored migrant worker status we will be unable to apply for sponsorship for anyone not eligible to work in the UK. At interview, all shortlisted candidates are required to bring with them identification documents and original documents that prove they hold or can obtain the right to work in the UK.

You can check your eligibility here:

Online applications only. Please submit a covering letter and CV ensuring that the IRC reference is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Please note that failure to address the above criteria or submitted without a covering letter may result in your application not being considered.

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