<< Back

This job listing is no longer active.
Please use our Environment Jobs Search to find current vacancies.


Senior Science Policy Advisor: Air Quality

Reference RCRE 1260  (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Sustainability, Climate, CSR, EMS
Location England (London & Greater) - UK
Town/City London
Salary Additional Information £34,336 - £41,851
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Senior 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

RCRE 1260: Senior Science Policy Advisor: Air Quality

Number of vacancies




Pay range

£34,336 - £41,851

Skills required

Job purpose:
To provide scientific support to policy development on transboundary, national and local air pollution, and its impacts, and to manage a programme of research on monitoring, emissions and environmental and health effects of air pollution.

Job description:
Senior Science Policy Advisor (2 posts): Air Pollution Science and Evidence Team. These are key roles in an increasingly important policy area. The Science and Evidence Team provide technical and evidence support across the air quality portfolio, from local air quality to international agreements on transboundary pollution and including the management of world leading research. The science-policy interface which the Team provides is crucial to the development of challenging air quality improvement plans to meet EU air quality and emission limits; approaches on the mitigation of the expansion of Heathrow Airport; the management of the interaction with climate change policies;  international negotiations on a series of Directives and agreements; in addition to a number of areas  of policy development and maintenance.

These are challenging, specialist positions, with qualifications or a demonstrable track record in air quality or a related discipline being highly desirable. The post holders will help manage and develop a programme of research, including financial management - the total programme spend for air pollution science is currently around £11m per year. Their focus will be the translation of science outputs into policy development and the provision of direct support to policy customers within the programme and elsewhere. The subject areas to be covered by the two posts include:

  • policy scenario analysis in terms of air pollution impacts and interfacing with economic analysis;
  • emission and deposition of air pollutants and their impacts on ecosystems (e.g. effects of acid rain, nitrogen enrichment and heavy metal contamination);
  • research into the sources and chemistry of pollutants linked to human health effects, mainly focussing on particulate pollution;
  • monitoring ambient concentrations of air pollutants through a series of national networks and the collation of data for PSA reports, EU and UNECE reporting obligations and public dissemination;
  • modelling the transport, chemistry and deposition of air pollutants on a local, national and international scale.

They will be responsible for ensuring that the programme delivers robust scientific information to meet current policy needs, and to guide future policy development. They will actively participate in UNECE/European technical working groups and conferences on transboundary air pollution issues, meaning that some foreign travel will be required. The two posts will activity manage three HSOs; the team is led by a Grade 6 and Grade 7, and also has a support staff of an SO, and EO and an AO.

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

  • Scientific qualifications to at least degree level, in an area relevant to air pollution or atmospheric processes.
  • Demonstrable knowledge base in one or all of air pollution monitoring, emissions, chemistry, modelling, environmental effects, human health effects.
  • Experience of public sector or research procurement desirable.

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.

Leading and influencing
You will need to contribute to identifying priorities for research, be willing to take responsibility for issues, and pursue new areas of work  through discussion with policy leads and scientific community.   The ability to liaise and negotiate with internal policy and scientific colleagues, research providers, research institutes and other funders of relevant R&D is essential for the position.   You must be able to demonstrate good communication skills, with the ability to communicate complex scientific information concisely and clearly both verbally and in writing. This is a key competency.

You will be required to forge strong working relationships with policy colleagues across Defra to ensure that science is placed at the heart of evidence based policy making. Co-ordination within the Programme is crucial to ensure the effective management of research programmes. The role requires frequent contact with policy leads, research providers and other funders of related research and it will therefore be necessary to foster effective associations with all stakeholders active in these research area.

The post holder will be required to represent Defra at international meetings and therefore experience of negotiations at International level is highly desirable.

Thinking with vision
The post holder must have a scientific background and knowledge of air pollution, including a good understanding if the impacts of pollution on the environment. Ability to align AQIP research and data gathering projects and understand how they feed into supporting negotiations and discussions at EU and UNECE is important, as is ability to successfully identify, liaise and align AQIP projects with wider relevant Defra programmes. This is a key competency.

Making effective decisions
You will be required to display sound judgement in developing and agreeing specifications for new proposals, assessing project proposals and final reports, acting upon outcomes when deemed appropriate. The post holder will be expected to think creatively and strategically in managing programme areas and to find solutions to any problems which arise from projects. The role also involves the representation of Defra at external technical meetings (national and International), for which the SSO will be expected to use their discretion while ensuring that the position of Defra is accurately depicted. This is a key competency.

Delivering value for money
 You will be required to prioritise competing demands on R&D and non-R&D budgets, linking in with wider Division needs to identify most appropriate and  relevant projects to take forward.  You need to show sound judgement and good understanding of the links between policy and evidence needs. Experience of commissioning of R & D and non-R&D projects is highly desirable, as is familiarity with Defra’s procurement processes. This is a key competency.

Making things happen
You must be able to demonstrate flexibility and a willingness to work on a wide variety of scientific and management support tasks.  You must be able to effectively prioritise and be able to work effectively under pressure and meet tight deadlines. 

Development opportunities and training:
The post is located within a dynamic team, working in an important and increasingly high profile policy area. Within the team there will be opportunities for new roles and responsibilities to be taken on, to allow for development and personal challenge. Technical and non-technical training and development will be made available where appropriate.

How to apply

For further information on this post, please contact Tim Williamson on 020 7238 1698 or email tim.williamson@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 1260.

Hard copies of your application are not required.

Closing date for applications

19 April 2009

Add to My Account
<< Back