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We are recruiting for a Senior Policy Advisor / Policy Advisor in The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) & Nesta’s Rapid Insights Team.

The (Senior) Policy Advisor will work across a full range of policy areas, but take particular responsibility for our work in health.

About the team

The Rapid Insights Team supports BIT and Nesta to provide timely, trusted, evidence-based policy advice to UK policy-makers, on some of the most urgent and impactful questions we face. The team works closely with BIT and Nesta’s subject experts to develop fresh policy recommendations; and generates new evidence to answer outstanding questions or refine policy advice.

The work is diverse and fast-paced. The team works across a wide range of government priority areas and topics related to Nesta’s missions (education & early years, health, and net-zero). The outputs include a mixture of rapid response advice to changing priorities, short-term pieces (a few weeks) to generate new evidence, and longer term thinkpieces to advance our understanding of a specific topic. Throughout, the team will work closely with peers and leaders across Nesta and BIT, to ensure their expertise is used effectively.

You will report to the Head of Policy, Rapid Insights Team, who themselves reports to BIT’s CEO/Nesta’s Chair of Policy, David Halpern.

The role

You will be part of a small team (6 FTE equivalent) of policy experts, and will support Nesta and BIT to influence policy and achieve social impact at scale via targeted, evidence-based products that are responsive to Whitehall’s emphasis and priorities.

The team works closely together across a range of policy areas, but you will have particular responsibility for our work in health. You will be responsible for keeping abreast of relevant policy developments, developing policy proposals, and building relationships both internally and externally within your policy area.

You will:

  • Write incisive policy notes to key stakeholders across government, that draw on the latest research and synthesise the best ideas from across Nesta & BIT. You will also support other Nesta & BIT teams in developing and writing their own notes;
  • Interpret and synthesise insights from primary research, evidence reviews and data analysis with a laser focus on drawing out the ‘so what’ and scanning for methodological robustness, in order to brief HMG contacts;
  • Design and deliver rapid primary research projects that enable policy options to be weighed robustly and pragmatically. To do this, you will draw reliable insights out of quantitative datasets, and at times work with qualitative and user research experts to undertake qualitative research sprints;
  • Write, edit and/or comment and review thought leadership and policy content for a range of audiences, working with the Communications team as part of a broader communications strategy for Nesta and BIT;
  • Produce high quality written briefings for meetings and events with key stakeholders on behalf of Nesta and BIT’s CEOs and Directors;
  • Develop close working relationships across BIT and Nesta and keep abreast of the latest thinking and research across both organisations;
  • Cultivate strong and sustained relationships with contacts across government, and support BIT and Nesta teams to strengthen our networks, partnerships and engagement with government departments across the UK;
  • Represent the organisation with senior stakeholders and at sector events, upholding BIT and Nesta’s reputation for being evidence-driven and impact-led.

Examples of work you may produce and contribute to:

  • Frank, fearless evidence-based policy advice responding to and supporting the shaping of pressing priorities;
  • Proactive primary research and data analysis;
  • Think-pieces and long reads for our own publication channels, encompassing new ideas and unique angles on the evidence base and novel data analysis;
  • Public commentary placed in national news outlets (e.g., blogs, op-eds);
  • Presentations at senior meetings at all levels of government.

Preferred qualifications and experience:

  • Excellent teamwork and collaboration;
  • Good understanding of how the UK government works at the national level;
  • First-hand experience working in strategic advisory positions within government and policy settings, particularly health;
  • Domain expertise across a range of health issues, with demonstrable breadth and depth;
  • Ability to summarise statistical data (eg confident use of Excel to draw insights from pivot tables); proficient use of R or STATA welcomed, but not essential;
  • Ability to review academic evidence and government policy papers and interpret, quality check and synthesise findings with ease, including critically interpreting the research methods used;
  • Strong aptitude for building relationships with senior stakeholders and networking;
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills. You can explain complex topics in simple terms and write clearly and concisely, adapting your communication to suit different audiences;
  • Proven interest in the political debates around health; experience of working with media team colleagues to shape and respond to relevant policy debates welcomed, but not essential;
  • Ability to write action-focused policy briefs and papers for government ministers, advisors and high-level stakeholders;
  • Willingness to work flexibly on topics adjacent to and outside of your immediate expertise;
  • Collaborative and solution-focused approach to problem solving;
  • Strong ability to manage and develop yourself at work. You demonstrate high levels of initiative and willingness to take responsibility for your own workload and professional development.

About our organisations

Nesta and BIT work towards innovation for social good, with a shared vision of changing millions of lives for the better. Both organisations recognise the critical role that policy plays in achieving that vision. For BIT, which started as part of the Cabinet Office, policy change is part of their DNA. For Nesta, policy is a crucial enabler to achieving our missions - to enable every child to have a fair start, help people live healthy lives, and create a sustainable future where the economy works for both people and the planet.

Nesta is a charitable foundation with an endowment, focussing on mission-driven innovation; BIT is a purpose-driven company providing consultancy to a range of clients. Both have a shared approach that focuses on data and empiricism, balances rigour and creativity, and recognises the central role of human behaviour in designing effective policy.

The two organisations have worked together for many years; and in early 2021 we deepened that partnership as BIT became part of the Nesta Group. We are increasingly working together and the Rapid Policy Insights team is one of a number of shared functions that support both organisations.

What we offer

Salary: £43k-£58k (Advisor level) or £50k-£62k (Senior Advisor level) plus an array of benefits, including health care plans, dental insurance, the ability to buy and sell annual leave, eyecare vouchers and more.

Location: This role is based in London, Blackfriars - hybrid working arrangement, we expect everyone in the RIT to work from our office 3-4 days per week and be available for all key internal and external meetings. We expect this role to involve many key external meetings.

Term: Permanent

Hours: This is a full-time role, but we support flexibility in when hours are worked as much as possible.

Reports to: Head of Policy, Rapid Insights Team.

Closing date

Applications for this post closed 8:00am on Monday 6th March 2023