Public Affairs Officer (Policy Impact)


26th March 2018

Full Time

Duration of post: 3 years

Job Purpose

Working under the direction of the Head of Public Affairs, the Public Affairs Officer (Policy Impact) will play a key role in shaping and delivering the support of policy engagement for impact for academics across the institution and particularly the sciences. This role will be responsible for engaging policy stakeholders with the research undertaken by our academics in order to help deliver impact as defined by the Research Excellence Framework (REF). They will also be required to evaluate and measure the outcome of policy engagement activity.

The primary remit for this post is to raise awareness of the research strengths of the institution and the work of individual academics with policy makers, key influencers and opinion formers. This will help ensure that the University is the first point of call for our areas of research and policy excellence. With a particular focus on STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) you will work as part of a broader professional community supporting research impact, developing and delivering policy engagement plans for key research areas in support of future REF impact case studies.

A diplomat, an outstanding communicator and a strong relationship builder, the post-holder will provide expert advice to colleagues across the institution on their specific policy engagement needs. This will include development of engagement plans with appropriate evaluation measures, as well as establishing a strong network of internal and external partners to enable academic colleagues to build well informed and committed relationships. The role will also entail monitoring policy developments, helping develop policy briefings, and delivering a policy engagement training programme.

Person specification

Required Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience

• Degree-level education or equivalent work experience
• Experience of working in a public affairs or policy environment
• Experience of devising and delivering multi-channel communications plans for a range of policy, or stakeholder audiences
• Demonstrable experience of the science, research and innovation policy landscape and of communicating complex scientific issues to a broad audience
• Demonstrable experience of measuring and evaluating the outcome of stakeholder engagement activity
• Demonstrable experience of building and managing excellent working relationships at a senior level of an organisation which are based on trust and respect.
• Demonstrable understanding of the complexities and competing factors of the national and regional political environment (desirable understanding of the complexities of the HE sector)
• Experience of working in a large, complex organisation
• Event management experience, involving internal and external stakeholders
• Demonstrable experience of building, developing and maintaining valuable networks with external organisations. Including stakeholder mapping.
• Proven copywriting ability for a range of audiences and channels
• Excellent interpersonal skills and a ‘can-do’ attitude with an ability to bring people together to work towards a common goal
• Demonstrable high level of presentation and verbal communication skills (desirable prior experience of delivering internal training workshops)
• Well-developed administrative and organisational skills with a proven ability to pay attention to detail
• Tenacious, with a creative and innovative approach to problem solving
• Computer literate, confident and competent in the use of database systems and electronic communication
• Demonstrable project and budget management skills, and an ability to work with initiative to find creative solutions, to work under pressure, and manage multiple workloads simultaneously
• A team player but someone who can work independently
• The role would require off-campus working, UK and potentially international travel, and would require working away from home/working outside of standard office hours.


This is a role responsible for policy engagement activity across the institution. It is hugely varied in terms of the scope of activity included, with responsibility for strategy development and implementation, research and reputation plan development, events management, and stakeholder communications.

Planning and organising

The post-holder will be required to plan their own workload and manage their own time effectively. Work will come from a variety of sources, but will primarily come from the line manager (Head of Public Affairs). The post-holder will get exposure to many senior staff across the University as part of business as usual. Aspects of the job can be planned in advance and are cyclical year-on-year, whilst other areas of workload will be on a more reactive basis. For some events, planning will be 6-9 months in advance, and for other areas of work the turnaround may be one week.

Problem solving and decision making

The post-holder must be confident in making day-to-day decisions, writing content and approving it for use across a range of mediums, engaging with a range of audiences in a professional manner and building strong professional relationships. Problem solving should be second nature. Difficult decisions and those relating to other people or that may affect other people significantly should be referred to the Head of Public Affairs and the External Relations hierarchy.

Internal and external relationships

Academic staff Communications skills to make academic staff aware of the purpose and benefit of policy engagement (and public affairs more broadly), and to help prepare them for their required input. Ability to translate complex strategies and analytics. Academics will range from PhD students to senior Professors.
All staff Providing policy engagement and public affairs advice and guidance. Ability to explain complex processes and aspects of strategy and governance clearly.
Managers, academics and other support staff Scheduling and prioritising tasks, general administration via telephone, e-mail and face-to-face. Delivering training to academics of all disciplines and levels.

Range of external and internal stakeholders Liaising with internal and external stakeholders from a range of political and policy backgrounds and a range of levels of seniority including MPs and advisors, in a confident and professional manner.

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