Policy Adviser (Higher Education & Skills) x2

The British Academy

  • Team: Higher Education & Skills Policy
  • Grade: Grade D
  • Salary: £31,350 plus excellent benefits (including 34 days' annual leave, defined benefit pension)
  • Location: Central London, with hybrid-working available
  • Closing: 12:00pm, 6th Dec 2022 GMT

Job Description

The British Academy – the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences - is seeking two Policy Advisers to join our Higher Education and Skills Policy team, providing key support in the delivery of higher education, teaching and research policy.

You can find out more about the British Academy here, including our Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement.


The Policy Adviser positions are an integral part of our established Higher Education and Skills Policy Team (currently eight people). The Higher Education Team is a collaborative, productive and high-performing team, part of the Academy’s Policy Directorate alongside the Public Policy Team. We work to position the Academy as a thought leader on Higher Education and research policy, engaging in evidence-based policy to influence the health and vibrancy of our disciplines throughout the pipeline. This involves a combination of reactive responses to policy developments as they occur, and proactive planned projects designed to strengthen our evidence base, support the SHAPE discipline community and stimulate debate.

The core duties of Policy Advisers support the development and delivery of a range of policy projects within our workplan. Each Policy Adviser has the opportunity to contribute to and deliver new ways of approaching our higher education, research and skills policy activities. Programmes of work cover the breadth of higher education teaching and research policy related to the SHAPE disciplines (Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts for People and the Economy). This includes work to source, monitor and evaluate data on distinct disciplines, pipelines and provision to assess the health of SHAPE. These assessments underpin substantial policy programmes which inform ongoing policy debate about SHAPE teaching and research in the UK, including its societal and economic value (from local to international), R&D performance, and role in key government agendas.

Joining an enthusiastic, close team of policy experts, Policy Advisers are expected to work with the wider policy teams and across the Academy to tailor our higher education and skills policy work to the most pressing issues. They will also have the opportunity to get involved in various Academy initiatives, from affinity groups and EDI planning, to building redevelopment and the implementation of our new Strategy Plan.

OFFICE LOCATION - 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, St James Park, London, SW1Y 5AH


1 -Research and analysis

  • Research, evaluate and interpret policy issues using, or seeking appropriate expertise to use, quantitative and qualitative methods and a variety of data sources.

  • Develop and maintain a body of expertise in topics relating to higher education, to monitor and review external developments, propose responses and identify opportunities for policy and programme development in collaboration with Academy colleagues’.

2 – Producing policy outputs and outcomes

  • Oversee the development and delivery policy projects, sometimes within larger programmes, under the Higher Education and Skills policy workplan.

  • Balance a range of projects and activities, including organising events and meetings, preparing briefings, consultation responses, programmes and promotional copy, and committee papers, undertaking background research as necessary.

  • To support relevant Academy committees and groups by organising meetings, drafting papers, briefing chair(s) and writing minutes. Ensure relevant policy work you are responsible for is presented and discussed at these committees.

  • Support the publication, launch and dissemination of relevant outputs and work with Academy colleagues to ensure relevant and timely and communication of the Academy’s higher education policy positions.

3 – Stakeholder engagement

  • Contribute to the development of links, networks and collaborations with appropriate organisations and stakeholders, forging new relationships and maximising established ones with individuals and projects.

  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with academic experts within and outside the Academy Fellowship. This includes building networks within the Fellowship, particularly through facilitating relevant committees and working groups.

  • Ensure the Academy is well represented externally, at meetings with stakeholders and other key audiences. This may include presenting work, attending events, and briefing the Head of Policy (Higher Education and Skills), or Senior Management Team and Council and Committees as appropriate.

  • Work collaborative across the Academy, as well as with the other UK National Academies on specific projects and initiatives, supporting and leading as necessary, to ensure a joined-up approach.



  • Higher Education and Skills team, and Director of Policy; News and Public Affairs team; Research Funding team; International Policy and Funding team; Public Policy team.


  • Includes but not limited to other National Academies and Higher Education or research representative bodies.


Working Relationships

  • Is able to develop and maintain effective working relationships with others internally, particularly in working with committees and working groups, and with academics, to increase engagement in policy work

  • Can build effective relationships with, and work in partnership with, other organisations in the higher education or SHAPE community.

  • Demonstrates a positive attitude towards helping others by providing appropriate support, using initiative and not waiting to be asked.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Can demonstrate an understanding of politics and policymaking in UK. Comprehension of the UK higher education landscape and context for SHAPE disciplines is desirable.

  • Is able to conduct qualitative and quantitative research and analysis, using findings to write policy briefings, contribute to reports, and other outputs.

  • Adopts a communication style appropriate to the situation and the audience, in both written and oral communications.

  • Is aware of own strengths and weaknesses, seeking and using opportunities to learn and develop, and is quick in picking up new tasks.

Proactivity and Planning

  • Is successful in planning and delivering projects, taking ownership of tasks, and being proactive in spotting issues.

  • Able to meet deadlines under pressure, accurately and with attention to detail, often balancing conflicting priorities.

  • Willing to build (or learn) and monitor project plans, policy methodology and budgets

  • Can confidently organise committee or working group meetings, including all papers, and liaising with members.

Problem Solving and Decision Making

  • Monitors progress effectively, including written reporting, and is able to escalate risks or concerns as needed.

  • A creative and strategic thinker, with the capacity to deal with complex issues and ambiguity.

  • Sets the right balance between referring decisions to the appropriate level and taking things forward without referral.

  • Able to use tact and diplomacy and to handle confidential information.


  • An assured, open-minded, and positive outlook with a constructive attitude to challenges and sharing knowledge and skills with others.

  • Takes a professional and assured approach when dealing with a variety of people and has the ability to work independently, and as part of a wider team.

  • Is able to represent the HES team, or a policy area, internally and with close supporting organisations or committees.

Other Requirements

  • Is able to be flexible about working hours on occasions.

  • Is willing to travel on British Academy business.


The Academy’s workplace values and supporting text are set out below. We share these core values with each other. They guide how we work together and with others. We demonstrate them through our behaviours.

COLLABORATION- We consistently work together to a common purpose, supporting each other, communicating openly and sharing knowledge. We are flexible and adaptable, receiving feedback constructively.

CREATIVITY - We bring imagination and curiosity to our work, valuing learning, diverse thinking, and innovation. We are open-minded, receptive, and responsive, taking account of alternative perspectives.

EMPATHY-We are understanding, sensitive, compassionate, and considerate, mindful of our own wellbeing alongside that of others.

EXCELLENCE - We always do our best, without striving to be perfect, applying our expertise and experience to develop and grow.

INTEGRITY - We are open and honest with each other, accepting personal responsibility and demonstrating loyalty. We are reliable and dependable, having belief that we will be transparent and clear.

RESILIENCE - We are confident, bold, and tenacious, knowing when to listen as well as when to speak up. We respond positively to challenges and overcome problems.

RESPECT - We are inclusive in our regard for each other, showing courtesy and appreciation. We treat people fairly and equally, welcoming everyone’s contribution and difference.

Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You won't need a CV to apply to this job

Applications closed Tue 6th Dec 2022


Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You won't need a CV to apply to this job

Applications closed Tue 6th Dec 2022