We are committed to opening the doors to politics to a wider and more diverse audience. To help us deliver this, we are looking for a Research and External Engagement Officer to join us who has both relevant experience and passion to help us create a more inclusive and representative politics across the UK.

We want to lead by example, and as such, we are particularly interested in seeing applications from under-represented groups and those with lived experience of inequality. All applications are treated with fairness and equity.

Our ideal candidate would have a strong commitment to public service, a belief in breaking down structural barriers that prohibit equality of opportunity and a desire to work in a fast-paced but friendly working environment in a growing and ambitious team.

  • University of Glasgow Grade 6  (£32,332 – £36,024)
  • 1.0 FTE (35 hours per week)
  • Two year fixed term contract
  • Reporting to the Centre Development Manager, John Smith Centre, University of Glasgow
  • Place of work: Glasgow with remote and flexible options

Deadline to apply: 10 September 2023



Main Duties and responsibilities

  • Manage, maintain and produce content for the Centre’s website, social media accounts and other forms of publicity.
  • Support the promotion, organisation and management of the Centre’s diverse online and physical events programme, including setting up online events and associated logistical requirements and security settings.
  • Writing, co-ordinating and delivering a comprehensive communications strategy for all Centre activities in collaboration with academics and external guests.
  • Building physical audience and online reach for our activities
  • Prepare recordings of online events for publishing in a timely manner, including video editing, preparing closed captioning, indexing and creating clips) and publicise these on the Centre’s website and social media channels.
  • Build and sustain our external networks with organisations and individuals aligned with the John Smith Centre across the United Kingdom.
  • Provide strategic and operational advice to the Centre Director as to the development and delivery of the Centre’s programme of events and activities.
  • Develop and maintain our online Research Hub, by identifying and summarising key research in the field of politics and public service as it relates to our purpose.
  • Horizon scanning for key developments and opportunities aligned with JSC purpose.
  • Support the ongoing administration of the Centre’s core functions.


Knowledge, Qualifications, skills and experience




A1 Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 8 (Scottish Vocational Qualification level 4, Higher National Diploma) or equivalent, and experience of personal development in a similar role, or ability to demonstrate the competencies required to undertake the duties associated with this level of post having acquired the necessary knowledge and skills through personal development and progression in a similar related role(s).

A2 A demonstrable understanding of public service and its value to society.


B1 An understanding of the UK and Scottish political landscapes.




C1 Proven excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

C2 Excellent writing skills with the ability to write well for different audiences.

C3 Excellent research and data gathering skills with a proactive attitude to identifying salient information.

C4 Ability to communicate research and information succinctly and accurately.

C5 Excellent attention to detail and to production of accurate, high quality outputs.

C6 Advanced Digital media skills including video production and online seminars.

C7 Proven social media and website management skills.

C8 Very high ability to work independently and proactively and exercise initiative in problem-solving.

C8 Creative approach and horizon scanning to conceive of, devise and implement new research and communications opportunities.

C10 Ability to develop effective working relationships with colleagues and external stakeholders.

C11 Ability to multi-task, assess priorities and work flexibly according to changing priorities.

C10 Strong IT skills consistent with the needs of the role (Microsoft Office, website and content management systems, social media).


D1 Graphic design skills.




E1 Typically three years’ experience of working in NGOs, public sector organisations, government or the third sector with qualifications noted above, or evidence of progression and development gained through 5-6 years relevant work experience.

E2 Experience of website management and social media for professional purposes.

E3 Experience of digital media, and of creating and editing content

E4 Experienced in engaging with a variety of audiences, of clearly setting and managing expectations with the ability to handle sensitive information in a diplomatic manner.

E5 Experience of organising and managing events


F1 Knowledge of Scottish and UK Politics.

F2 A evidenced commitment to tackling inequality.


Job Features


  • Responsible for developing, managing and maintaining the Centre’s online Research Hub and wider website.
  • Responsible for undertaking research covering academic and non-academic sources to stay up to date with the evolving discourse around politics and public service and identify, summarise and promote resources related to our mission.
  • Responsible for producing engaging content and building audience.
  • Responsible for creating communications plans to promote the Centre and its mission.
  • Responsible for producing reports based research undertaken as part of the role which will form the evidence base for wider Centre activities, such as events.
  • Responsible for building and sustaining external networks with individuals and organisations aligned with the John Smith Centre.


Planning and Organising

  • Plan and organise varied workload, covering a variety of short, medium- and long-term projects, in order to meet deadlines and manage competing priorities.
  • Work flexibly to respond to changing priorities and remain responsive to changing institutional needs.
  • Frequent and open dialogue with colleagues in the John Smith Centre and across the university.
  • Manage the planning and delivery of specific project tasks, where attention to detail and accuracy are paramount.


Decision Making

  • Prioritising workload on a daily, weekly and monthly basis with potentially conflicting priorities.
  • Identifying, prioritising and maximising publicity on positive stories relating to the Centre.
  • Decisions relating to writing, sub-editing and publishing stories on webpages and newsletters.


Internal/External Relationships

  • External – Academics from other institutions, think-tanks, politicians; civil servants; policymakers and leaders across the public, private and third sectors; the media; members of the public; service suppliers and event contributors.
  • Internal – John Smith Centre staff, Management Board members, University marketing and comms staff, students; University management staff; academic staff; and administrative staff across the University.


Problem Solving

  • Be proficient in problem solving and adopt a proactive approach to workload management and provide solutions to complex and sometimes competing requirements on time and resource.
  • Using judgement and initiative to respond promptly and effectively to issues that arise on an ongoing basis.
  • Resolving queries and issues from stakeholders independently.



  • Flexible approach to workload content and supporting activities of the team is required.
  • Occasional evening and weekend work is necessary at times. Occasional travel may be required.
  • Access to confidential and sensitive information, which needs to be treated with discretion and in accordance with University guidelines and data protection legislation.