Public Engagement Officer
Post Details
Job Title
Public Engagement Officer
Post Number
1003985
Closing Date
2 Feb 2021
Grade
SC7
Starting Salary
£25,315 - £30,875  Salary will be pro-rata, based on a full time 37 hour week
Hours per week
27.5
Project Title
Darwin Tree of Life
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Mar 2021
Months Duration
23

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

The post holder will deliver a programme of public engagement to showcase the Darwin Tree of Life Project. Working closely with both communications colleagues and scientists, the Public Engagement Officer will need to hit the ground running to successfully turn around a range of activities - including DNA barcoding of local wildlife - that inspire and engage local communities around the theme of “Biodiversity on the Norfolk Broads”. These activities will build awareness of the importance of studying genomes to understand, protect and benefit from biodiversity.

Candidates must have a proactive approach and embrace change and innovation, particularly in response to current public health measures. You will need to be able to self-manage your workload and build collaborations internally and externally. The successful candidate will have an excellent eye for detail, strong written and verbal communication skills, and a demonstrable passion for public engagement with science. Experience in molecular biology - specifically DNA extraction and PCR, or teaching similar laboratory-based techniques - would be an advantage but is not essential.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate experience in delivering public engagement activities, project management experience, and the ability to proactively build working relationships with diverse community groups and organisations. You will need to be able to work with children and should be comfortable handling biological specimens. Above all, a positive attitude and can-do approach is essential.

Key Relationships

Internal: Reporting to the Scientific Communications & Outreach Manager, with a dotted line to the Darwin Tree of Life Programme Manager, the Public Engagement Officer will be a member of the Operations Division and will work closely with both scientists and operations staff at EI. External: The successful candidate will need to build relationships with peers at partner organsiations and at schools in the region where the public engagement activity is to be delivered.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Work with colleagues in the EI Communications Team, the Darwin Tree of Life partnership, and the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory in New York to develop and deliver a DNA barcoding activity in Norfolk. Establish a timeline and overall plan for delivery of the public engagement programme, including key milestones and deliverables. Proactively build relationships with the local wildlife organisations, community groups and schools where outreach activities will be delivered. Identify and support relevant scientists on the Darwin Tree of Life Programme to deliver outreach activities. Establish a teacher training workshop to provide teachers with the resources to deliver DNA barcoding in their own schools.
60
Contribute to the coordination of communications and public engagement activity across all DToL partners. Manage EI contributions to the DToL website and blog, ensuring our work is recognised and shared with partners and the funder.
20
Provide regular updates and generate evaluation reports to demonstrate impact.
10
Working with others in the Communications Team, contribute to wider public engagement and communication projects.
5
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role.
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
Bachelors degree in a relevant area, or a National Higher Diploma or equivalent experience
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Skilled in communicating complex concepts to diverse audiences
Essential
Knowledge of biology, specifically genomics and bioinformatics
Essential
Microsoft Office proficiency including Word, Excel etc.
Essential
Working knowledge of public engagement in science
Essential

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Experience of delivering public engagement activities
Essential
Experience of building networks and working relationships with diverse stakeholder groups
Essential
Experience of DNA extraction, PCR, and other molecular biology techniques
Desirable
Experience of organising and delivering training workshops or of teaching in a laboratory setting
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Essential
Ability to manage time, multitask, and work under pressure
Essential
Good interpersonal skills and positive attitude, with the ability to work well as part of a team
Essential
Ability to take initiative and make decisions
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
Essential
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Essential
Able to travel to national and international events, depending on restrictions
Essential
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required to suit events
Essential
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute and related project
Essential

Who We Are

Earlham Institute

Earlham Institute is a vibrant, contemporary research institute and registered charity, working in an area of rapid technological development and innovation.

Earlham Institute is strategically funded by the BBSRC to lead the development of a skill base in bioinformatics and a genomics technology platform for UK bioscience. The Institute is located on the Norwich Research Park, together with its partners: the John Innes Centre, the Institute of Food Research, The Sainsbury Laboratory, the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The research park has an excellent reputation for research in plant and microbial sciences, interdisciplinary environmental science and food, diet and health, to which Earlham Institute contributes strengths in genomics and bioinformatics. Close links exist between the NRP partners and new opportunities for collaboration in exciting new initiatives are under development. The NRP recently received £26M of government investment to facilitate innovation and further develop infrastructure to attract science and technology companies to the Park to enhance the vibrant environment and realise economic impact from research investment.

Earlham Institute is a UK hub for innovative Bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. This has been boosted recently by an e-Infrastructure grant to expand the data storage capacity to a multi-petabyte unit, deploying a high performance cluster and large-memory server enabling the allocation of processes requiring several terabytes of computing memory.

Earlham Institute’s state of the art DNA sequencing facility operates multiple complementary technologies for data generation that provide the foundation for analyses furthering our fundamental understanding of genomes and how they function. We aim to be at the forefront of technological advances and are developing and implementing technologies to generate and analyse new types of data. We also develop novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational bioscience. Earlham Institute has one fully owned subsidiary, Genome Enterprise Ltd (GEL) via which it offers genomic and bioinformatics services on a trading basis and works with commercial providers on a partnership basis. Earlham Institute also receives specific funding to enable knowledge exchange programmes which are supported across the institute teams.

Department

Communications Group

Management and Leadership

Requirement
Importance
Previous experience of project management
Desirable

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Advert Text

Applications are invited for a Public Engagement Officer to join the Communications Team at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK.

Background:

The Earlham Institute (EI) is a research institute focused on exploring living systems by applying computational science and biotechnology to answer ambitious biological questions and generate enabling resources. EI combines cutting-edge technologies with world-class expertise to deliver the next frontier in scientific research. EI’s research addresses fundamental scientific questions and tackles the biggest issues facing humanity, from climate change and food security to health and disease.

The Communications Team works across digital, creative design and public relations to communicate EI’s research and impact to a range of audiences. As a publicly-funded institute, a key part of this team’s work is public engagement.

The role:

We’re looking for a Public Engagement Officer to take the lead in delivering a programme of activity to showcase the Darwin Tree of Life Project. This Wellcome-funded project involves sequencing the genomes of all native species in the British Isles. Working with communications colleagues and scientists at EI and other institutes, the post holder will need to hit the ground running to successfully turn around a range of public engagement activities - including DNA barcoding of local wildlife - to inspire and engage local communities around the theme of “Biodiversity on the Norfolk Broads”. Activities will build awareness of the importance of studying genomes to understand, protect and benefit from biodiversity.

The ideal candidate:

Candidates must have a proactive approach and embrace change and innovation, particularly in response to current public health measures. You will need to be able to self-manage your workload and build collaborations internally and externally. The successful candidate will have an excellent eye for detail, strong written and verbal communication skills, and a demonstrable passion for public engagement with science. Experience in molecular biology - specifically DNA extraction and PCR, or teaching similar laboratory-based techniques - would be an advantage but is not essential.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate experience in delivering public engagement activities, project management experience, and the ability to proactively build working relationships with diverse community groups and organisations. You will need to be able to work with children and should be comfortable handling biological specimens. Above all, a positive attitude and can-do approach is essential.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £25,315 to £30,875 pro rata, per annum depending on qualifications and experience.  This is a part-time post (27.5 hours per week) for a period of 23 months.

This role does not meet the full salary requirements set by UKVI to allow for visa sponsorship. However, some individuals may still be eligible for visa sponsorship depending on their personal circumstances.  If you require visa sponsorship, please click here to find out if you qualify before applying. Please note, the occupation code for this role is 2472, which is not on the shortage occupation list.

As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy.