Public Affairs and Policy Manager

The James Hutton Institute

Aberdeen, UK 🇬🇧

Dundee, UK 🇬🇧

The Vacancy

The work undertaken by The James Hutton Group is right at the top of the global agenda when it comes to tackling problems such as the impact of climate change and threats to food and water security.

The Communications Teams delivers across the remits of media, marketing, digital, events, public affairs, corporate and internal communications, all designed to support and promote the work of the James Hutton Group.

Critical to successful delivery of this work is how the Institute presents to policy makers on a local, national and international level and manages its public affairs. 

This post is focused on shaping and developing the James Hutton Group’s public policy positions and interactions across a wide range of issues to ensure the Institute is able to deliver on its priorities, build its reputation and influence and engage with internal and external stakeholders to advance its objectives with local, national and international stakeholders. It is responsible for providing analysis, preparing briefings and reports and responding to official consultations.

Previous experience is essential and can involve either a suitable qualification combined with practical experience or longer-term practical experience.

This post can be based at either Invergowrie, Dundee or Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen and can be combined with hybrid (home) working if desired.

More information on the detail of the post and the post holder can be found below in the job description.

Main purpose of job

Developing and implementing the 2022-27 public affairs and policy strategy and action plan designed to strengthen engagement between the James Hutton Institute and political, community and sector stakeholders in order for the Institute to build on its reputation and influence on a local, national and international level. 

Main duties of postholder

  • Developing and implementing the 2022-27 public affairs and policy strategy and action plan, identifying audiences and methods of engagement between the James Hutton Group and local, national and international political, community and sector stakeholders.
  • Shaping and developing the organisation’s public policy positions across a wide range of issues to ensure the Institute builds on its reputation and influence to advance its objectives.
  • Building and managing relationships with key stakeholders, including MPs, MSPs, Councillors, peers and officials with the Westminster Parliament, Scotland Office, Scottish Parliament and local councils.
  • Providing pro-active analysis, briefings and reports and responding to official consultations and identifying opportunities to engage with and shape policy development.
  • Providing regular written and in person briefings and analysis to the Executive team and senior colleagues on parliamentary activities, meetings and visits, highlighting and advising on opportunities as well as threats arising on relevant policy areas.
  • Keeping colleagues abreast of political developments which are relevant to their areas of work, both through written and verbal briefings.
  • Co-ordinating public affairs-related visits, meetings and events with stakeholders, such as government departments, NFUS, RBGE, SEFARI and the Macaulay Development Trust, working closely with the Events and Engagement Manager and Media Officers.  
  • Devising a rolling programme of public affairs visits, events and interactions with political stakeholders and others as appropriate including All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) and Cross Party Groups (CPGs)
  • Horizon scanning for upcoming policy developments and activities. Track progress of bills and committee work identifying opportunities of influence where appropriate.
  • Maintain a contact programme and up to date listing of parliamentarians, civil servants and stakeholders and of their contact information.


Essential Qualifications 

  • Minimum HND/NVQ/SVQ level 3 or equivalent professional qualification
  • Related experience in a similar environment.

Essential Skills 

  • In depth knowledge and understanding of functions and policymaking at Holyrood and Westminster
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills to work with a wide range of stakeholders with the ability to understand and communicate the broad areas of science in which the James Hutton Group operates
  • A strong network of political contacts
  • High standard of written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to organise own work effectively, prioritising competing workloads and working to tight timescales.
  • Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office applications including Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint.
  • Good attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Creative, proactive, flexible and able to work to agreed deadlines.

Essential Experience 

  • Proven track record of working in public affairs and a policy environment.
  • An interest in and highly-developed knowledge of the Scottish and UK political sphere, the people involved in it and the issues and tensions that surround policy, its creation and implementation.

Desirable Experience

  • Experience in working in a similar, science-based environment
  • Related experience in a similar environment.

Additional Notes and Requirements

  • This post can be based at either Invergowrie or Craigiebuckler but the postholder will be expected to spend at least one day a week on each site and may on occasion need to travel to other locations as required.

This role does not attract a certificate of sponsorship.

Benefits offered

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) – A confidential service available to support employees and their families with work or personal problems. Providing access to professional counsellors, psychologists, and work-life consultants available to help and support individuals in tackling all types of problems.

Annual Leave – Generous entitlement up to 40.5 days a year, with carry over possible and guaranteed time-off for Christmas.

Pension – Employer Contribution of 15% in a Personal Pension Plan and employee contribution flexibility.

Self-managed hours and Flexible Working – option to manage and spread your working time in line with organisational needs to create a healthy work life balance.

Our Commitment to Equality and Diversity

We will not consider the use of 3rd party recruitment agencies for the sourcing of candidates for this position.  

The James Hutton Institute is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

The James Hutton Institute is a: Stonewall Diversity Champion; Athena SWAN Bronze Status Holder; Disability Confident Committed Employer and a Living Wage Employer.

The James Hutton Institute is Happy to Talk Flexible Working.

The Company

The James Hutton Institute combines strengths in crops, soils and land use and environmental research, and makes a major contribution to the understanding of key global issues, such as food, energy and environmental security, and developing and promoting effective technological and management solutions to these.

James Hutton (1726 – 1797) was a leading figure of the Scottish Enlightenment, an eighteenth century golden age of intellectual and scientific achievements centred on Edinburgh. He is internationally regarded as the founder of modern geology and one of the first scientists to describe the Earth as a living system. His thinking on natural selection influenced Charles Darwin in developing his theory of evolution.

Our Values

  • We respect and value our people and the people we engage with
  • We want to make a difference
  • We strive to be excellent in everything we do
  • We lead by example
  • We foster creativity and innovation