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Research Manager, Biodiversity and Landscape Science Unit

Reference RCRE 1278  (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Terrestrial / Aquatic Ecology & Conservation
Location England (South West) - UK
Town/City Bristol
Salary Additional Information £25,991 - £30,496 pro rata
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Part Time / Per Day
Level Mid Level
Deadline 19/04/2009
Company Name Defra
Contact Name
Website Further Details / Applications
Defra logo
Directory Entry : Defra is the UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on the environment, food and rural affairs.
Also Listing:
Grade of post

RCRE1278: Research Manager, Higher Scientific Officer (HSO)
Biodiversity and Landscape Science Unit within the Natural Environment Science Team

Number of vacancies

1 part-time (28 hours)



Pay range

£25,991 - £30,496 pro rata

Skills required

Job purpose:
The job holder will support the Biodiversity and Landscapes Science Team in developing and managing the evidence base to support of Defra’s ‘Biodiversity’ and ‘People and Landscapes’ policy programmes.

Job description:
Working within the Biodiversity and Landscape Science Team, the key responsibilities of this role are to help develop a strong evidence base to underpin policy development by overseeing the management of the Biodiversity, People and Landscapes R&D programme and developing and managing a sub-set of research projects within that programme. The post will also provide scientific advice on biodiversity and landscape related issues to a wide range of stakeholders, and assist in the coordination of research with other organisations.

The main duties will include:

  • To oversee the programme management cycle and to maintain an overview of the programme content, priorities, status of individual projects, actual and predicted spend, advising the G7 on progress, issues and priorities.
  • Working with the programme administrator to oversee the letting of individual projects and to ensure all legal and administrative procedures are adhered to and implemented.
  • Managing the EO (programme administrator).
  • Developing, letting and managing science projects, particularly in the area of biodiversity, in accordance with the agreed processes for signing off projects. This will include producing specifications, in consultation with Defra policy colleagues and external partners, evaluating tenders and managing let projects.
  • Assisting with the development and management of the UK and England biodiversity indicators, and contributing to the scientific aspects of biodiversity policy development.
  • Assisting in the identification of policy-relevant research needs in the following areas: Domestic Biodiversity, International Biodiversity, People and Landscapes.
  • Coordinating research and liaising with a range of internal and external stakeholders to ensure the Defra research programme is aligned with those of other organisations.
  • Developing outline business cases for science projects within the Biodiversity, People and Landscapes R&D Programme.
  • Promoting research findings in a range of media, and in particular ensuring that they are presented in an accessible form.
  • Providing scientific advice to Ministers, policy customers and other parts of Defra on biodiversity and landscape related issues.

The post-holder will need to be highly motivated and able to work effectively with minimum supervision at times, have research or research management experience, and demonstrate a keen interest in helping to develop a strong evidence base to underpin policy development. The role will require regular travel outside Bristol.

Please note that this post is for 0.8 full time equivalent (ie. four days per week) although we are exploring the possibility of making this into a full time post.

Other information
The Biodiversity and Landscape Science Team comprises one G7, two SSOs, an HSO and an EO. The HSO post will be managed by one of the SSOs.

Please note that:

  • Those applying for jobs who, following the assessment process, are judged by the Selection Panel to have been suitable for the job(s) but to a lesser degree than the selected candidate, may be nominated as reserves.  Reserves will only be considered for the post they applied for (or closely related posts) and may not be selected for other vacancies.  There is no guarantee that reserve candidates will be offered jobs in this way.
  • Selection will be based on a candidate’s ability to demonstrate at interview that they meet both the technical and behavioural requirements of the role.
  • The successful candidate for this post will be recruited into the Science and Engineering Career Home.

Specialist skills required

  • Understanding of UK and/or European research funding mechanisms
  • A strong background in scientific research and/or advice

An understanding of the technical aspects in at least of one of the following disciplines: biodiversity conservation (in the UK or internationally); protection of landscape character and quality; access to the countryside.

Using the Core Competency Framework managers need to identify the 4-6 competencies relevant for the role and describe them in terms which managers, interviewers and applicants can understand. This will ensure that the selection process focuses on how candidates have demonstrated the relevant competences.

You will need to keep your knowledge base of key scientific questions up to date in at least of one of the following disciplines: biodiversity conservation (in the UK or internationally); protection of landscape character and quality; access to the countryside. You will need to make this knowledge available to others in the team. You will need to invest time to support other team members, providing them with clear guidance on priorities for research.

Thinking with vision
You will bring in new ideas or experience of best practice to help develop and manage the research programme. You will also need to keep abreast of changes in the external environment, and in particular in changes to the work programmes of key delivery partners such as the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and in the research programmes of other Defra Directorates, other Government Departments and the Research Institutes.

Making effective decisions
You will need to be able to conduct thorough analysis to make decisions based on well supported facts and evidence from relevant experts. You will also need to empower other team members to make decisions on research and operational priorities.

Delivering value for money
You will need to develop robust cases for research funding and recommend actions to achieve value for money and efficiency. You will need to be able to plan and forecast against budget targets and to advise colleagues on delivery of financial and scientific targets for the programme.

Making things happen
You will need effective project management skills to plan and track the research programme content and deliver high quality scientific output. Experience of science project management would be especially valuable.

Delivering in partnership
You will need to be proactive in building and maintaining networks with delivery partners, making sure they are clear about their priorities such that you are able to develop and implement joint-funded and managed research projects. You will also need to liaise closely with delivery partners to ensure that Defra-funded research does not duplicate work outside the Department.

Development opportunities and training:

The post-holder will be encouraged to work closely with scientists undertaking Defra projects and the wider scientific community, and to attend and participate in relevant conferences and workshops. Due to the breadth of projects managed by the team, and their importance in addressing the evidence needs of a range of policy customers, this role provides an excellent opportunity to work with colleagues across many of Defra’s policy areas and to develop and build on existing relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. It also provides a significant opportunity to develop or improve skills at the interface between science and policy.

How to apply

For further information on this post, please contact Mark Stevenson on 01483 307718 or email mark.j.stevenson@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Apply on form EP317 available from Defra Enquiry Centre – 0845 603 7262 or ssd.enquiries@defra.gsi.gov.uk.  Along with your application form you will be asked to submit a short statement outlining why you think you are particularly suitable for this post.

Send an electronic copy of the completed form and suitability statement to ssd.applications@defra.gsi.gov.uk quoting reference number RCRE 1278

Hard copies of your application are not required.

Closing date for applications

19 April 2009

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