Head of External Affairs (Maternity Cover)

In the Crick's Communications & Public Engagement Team.

Part of Crick Operations.

Key information

Job reference
R242
Salary
Competitive with benefits, subject to skills and experience.
Application close date
28 June 2021, 00:00 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 09 June 2021

Job title:

  • Head of External Affairs (Maternity Cover)

Closing date and time:

  • 27 June 2021 at 23:59

Reports to:

  • Director of Communications and Public Engagement

Contract term:

  • This is a full-time fixed term (9-12 months) position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.

Project summary

As a world-recognised multidisciplinary biomedical research institute, we aspire to be a leading voice in key areas of science debate. Reporting to the Director of Communications and Public Engagement, the Head of External Affairs is responsible for the development and delivery of our strategy to inform and influence decision makers. Providing strategic political advice to the CEO and Executive Team, you will play a key role engaging with policy makers, politicians, our funders and founding organisations, other key stakeholders and the media.

The Francis Crick Institute is a world-class biomedical discovery institute dedicated to understanding the fundamental biology underlying health and disease. Its work is helping to understand why disease develops and to translate discoveries into new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.

The Crick is based in a state-of-the-art building in central London which brings together 1500 scientists and support staff working collaboratively across disciplines, making it the biggest biomedical research facility under a single roof in Europe.

The Francis Crick Institute has a strong national role and global reach. Its distinctive vision for excellence includes commitments to collaboration; to developing emerging talent and exporting it to the rest of the UK; to public engagement; and to helping turn discoveries into treatments as quickly as possible to improve lives and strengthen the economy.

The Role

The Head of External Affairs is responsible for the delivery of the Crick’s strategy to inform and influence decision makers. You will play a key role in engaging with policy makers, politicians, our funders and founding organisations and other key stakeholders to manage the Crick’s reputation, promote our work, and ensure that they understand our impact and expertise. You will work closely with the Director and CEO Paul Nurse, writing speeches, briefings, opinion pieces and other material for him.

TEAM STRUCTURE

Reporting to the Director of Communications, you will be a senior member of the Communications team, managing media relations, digital communications and stakeholder engagement. The communications team is responsible for a range of activities, including media relations, digital communications, publications, stakeholder engagement, internal communications and events.

To succeed in this role, you will have:

  • A strong track record of using creative lobbying to influence change
  • Detailed understanding of Westminster and UK and EU political processes
  • Proven success in developing public affairs strategies in a complex organization with multiple stakeholders to drive organisational objectives and priorities.
  • Extensive experience of effective stakeholder engagement.
  • Experience of using media coverage to influence and achieve change.
  • A proven track record of providing clear, balanced advice and support at senior level.
  • An understanding of academic/research environments, science communication and issues that may affect the Crick.

Key responsibilities

  • Deliver a successful public affairs strategy.
  • Analyse the political and policy landscape to identify developments relevant to the Crick and advise on appropriate responses.
  • Develop and lead activity to build and maintain a favourable profile of the Crick with key stakeholders, decision makers and influencers.
  • Oversee the preparation of submissions to relevant Government consultations in collaboration with colleagues across the Crick.
  • Provide written or verbal briefings to senior colleagues to support meetings with decision makers.
  • Support the Crick’s Director and Chief Executive, including writing briefings, speeches and opinion pieces as appropriate.
  • Oversee the Crick’s media relations strategy to gain maximum positive coverage for the institute and respond effectively to media interest.
  • Oversee the Crick’s digital and social media strategy.
  • Manage the Media Manager and Digital Manager.
  • Establish excellent working relations with key internal and external stakeholders.
  • Provide advice and support to the Director and CEO, the COO and Director of Communications on policy and public affairs issues.
  • Provide clear and effective external communications in response to crisis or emergency situations.
  • Deputise for the Director of Communications when required.
  • Other tasks relevant to the post as per organisational requirements.

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial, in addition to the following:

Knowledge and experience

  • Detailed understanding of Westminster, and of the UK and EU political process.
  • Effective networker and influencer with a strong track record of using creative lobbying to influence change.
  • Proven success in developing communications strategies to drive organisational objectives and priorities.
  • Extensive experience of using media coverage to influence and achieve change.
  • A proven track record of providing clear, balanced advice and support at senior level.
  • Experience of developing high-performing teams, particularly during periods of change.
  • A record of driving continuous improvement.
  • An understanding of academic/research environments and a demonstrable knowledge of and interest in science communication.

Skills

  • Highly developed interpersonal and influencing skills, with a demonstrable ability to develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to think strategically, exhibiting presence and confidence, with articulate and engaging delivery.
  • Ability to act authentically and consistently, continuously developing self-awareness by seeking feedback from others.
  • Resilient under pressure and able to work in a highly collaborative and flexible way, reacting quickly to changing circumstance.
  • Ability to use discretion and judgement in dealing with confidential, sensitive or controversial issues.
  • A consultative approach - consulting with colleagues and sharing expertise and ideas to deliver effective outcomes.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with a concise, compelling written style and strong written accuracy.
  • Highly organised, with strong planning skills and the ability to prioritise in the face of competing demands and tight deadlines.

About us

An independent organisation, our founding partners are the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK, Wellcome, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King’s College London.

We have more than 1500 scientists and support staff working collaboratively across disciplines in a state-of-the-art building in central London, making us the biggest biomedical research facility under one roof in Europe.

To Apply

  • If you are interested in applying for this role, please apply via our website.
  • The closing date for applications is 27 June 2021 at 23.59.
  • All offers of employment are subject to successful security screening and continuous eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.
  • Interview dates: Between 5th and 7th July 2021
  • Please provide a CV and Cover Letter in your application.