An excellent opportunity in policy and communications

Loudspeaker.jpgBy Simon Hettrick.

When I began work at the Institute, I was attracted by the fact that I could try out new ideas, that the role of communication was highly valued, and that I could have an impact on the way the Institute works. If you are a talented communicator, you too could have this opportunity by joining our Policy and Communications team.

We're looking to recruit a Policy and Communications consultant in Southampton. All the information about the role is provided in the job advert, so I won't repeat it here. Instead, I want to provide some more information about what the job entails and what it's like working here.

In the last couple of months, we split the Institute into four teams: Policy and Communications, Software Consultancy, Community and Training. Although we've been involved in policy since the Institute was founded in 2010, the creation of the Policy and Communications team sees us formalising our policy work and focussing more manpower on it. There is no better time to join a team than at its very beginning: it gives you an unprecedented opportunity to suggest ideas and see them realised.

The Policy and Communications team is led by me and works very closely with our Director, Neil Chue Hong. We aim to have another part-time team member in Edinburgh and our new full-time recruit will be based - with me - in Southampton.

The best thing...

If you're the type of person who likes to try out new ideas rather than just rehashing the work that other people have done, then the Institute is the place to work.

We are a small organisation, so we need to punch above our weight when it comes to policy and communications. To do this, we need to be clever and we need to be innovative. These qualities are all too often stifled in large organisations, where procedure moves with glacial slowness. Here at the Institute, we encourage everyone to contribute their ideas and we make sure to act on the good ones.

What does it involve?

The Policy and Communications consultant will work on a wide range of interesting projects. The recruit will help develop policies that represent the needs of the research software community. We will be looking to support the invaluable role of research software engineers, we will promote training in software for all researchers, argue for a greater significance to be placed on software developed in research, and promote the relation between good software engineering and reproducible research.

The new recruit will conduct research into policy areas to establish evidence, develop arguments and create materials in which to describe them, create strategies for influencing policymakers, and meet the people who we are supporting - and the ones who we want to influence - to refine and promote our policies.

On the communications side, we want to continue to increase the readership on our already popular blog, which means writing content, persuading guest bloggers to contribute and editing the content written by others. There's content to be written and edited for the website, and we want to continue to increase our social media presence. We want the recruit to come up with new ideas for broadening our communications strategy and then work to implement these ideas.

If you're interested in how we write, you would be well advised to read our style guide. If you like design, there are plenty of opportunities to build up your skills with Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator.

Who are we looking for?

This role combines a lot of different skills. We need someone who can write well, who knows how to construct an argument, who is happy to go out and meet new people, and who relishes the freedom of working within a field that's new and evolves every day.

We work with a broad range of researchers, so a broad understanding of science is a prerequisite. The staff at the Institute are a mix of computer scientists and physicists. We're happy to add to these ranks, or to take on someone from a completely new background. What's more important is an enquiring mind and a desire to understand new things.

It's unlikely that any candidate will have all of the skills we require, so the new recruit will be given plenty of opportunities to learn new skills on the job. Another great benefit of working with a small team: if we need new skills it's often down to us to learn them. This means you will have the opportunity to broaden your skills base.

Want to know more

If you are interested in joining our team, then check out the job advert which provides more information and contact details.

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