BNA Head of Policy and Campaigns

Closing Date
6 Dec 2018
£36,000 - £40,000 FTE
Fixed term contract

The British Neuroscience Association (BNA) is a professional society which brings together over 2,000 scientists, students and clinicians devoted to understanding the nervous system, particularly the brain. We support neuroscience and neuroscientists through activities such as meetings, publications, providing careers advice, a schools’ programme, promoting the latest neuroscience research, and being an advocate for the neuroscience community.

It’s an exciting time for the BNA as we launch an ambitious project to promote and support reproducibility, replicability and reliability in neuroscience.  This project is central to our strategic aim of increasing the reach and impact of the BNA’s activities, and for the development of the UK neuroscience sector.

Critical to the project’s success is the ability of the BNA to engage with and influence the key stakeholders which shape the environment in which neuroscience research takes place. Chief amongst these are the bodies which run the Research Excellence Framework (Research England, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland (DfE)), research funders such as Wellcome, BBSRC and MRC, and journal publishers.  Others include professional societies, universities, industry partners, and neuroscientists themselves.  Our aim is that all of these stakeholders recognize the importance of increasing research reproducibility, how they each play a role in achieving this, and that they commit to actions which support it.

Alongside this central project, the BNA also has interests in other policy areas, and we expect the post-holder to be involved in our wider portfolio of policy work.

We are therefore seeking to appoint an experienced professional in policy and campaigns work. Because this is a new post, the successful candidate will have a unique opportunity to shape the role and have a transformative impact on neuroscience research.


Job description

The role of Policy and Campaigns Manager is chiefly to take the lead in delivering our policy of supporting reproducibility, replicability and reliability in neuroscience, and neuroscience research in more widely.

You will plan and lead campaigning activity, engaging with all stakeholders to ensure that reproducibility, replicability and reliability in neuroscience remains high on the agenda, with activities to make sure this happens. You will help plan and organize activities such as consultation with members, holding workshops and other stakeholder meetings, as well as draft and disseminate meeting reports.  You will work closely with the Head of Communications and Marketing to ensure these are communicated well and effectively with all stakeholders.

The postholder will interact with the newly formed UK Reproducibility Network (based in Bristol), the University of Bristol Research and Enterprise office, and the Academy of Medial Sciences in order to maximise the impact of the BNA’s activities and complement other initiatives with aligned aims.

This role also involves supporting the newly appointed BNA Advisory Group for reproducibility, replicability and reliability of neuroscience.  This includes planning meetings and facilitating actions.

The role will entail:

  • Building on initial work to further develop our policy to support reproducibility, replicability and reliability in neuroscience
  • Designing and developing creative plans to enable reproducibility, replicability and reliability in neuroscience by influencing the environment in which neuroscience research takes place (publishing, REF, promotions, funding etc.)
  • Representing the BNA and our objectives at internal and external meetings
  • Co-ordinating our activities with other organizations and initiatives promoting reproducibility, replicability and reliability
  • Contributing to projects associated with the BNA’s other policy activities.
  • Helping to develop or inform consultation responses or statements on other policies relevant to the BNA community
  • Working with the team to maintain the relevant areas of the website; liaising with the Communications and Marketing Manager to ensure internal and external engagement with the BNA’s policy work including through the use of new media.
  • Ongoing assessment of the success of policy and campaign activities


Person specification

You will possess sound understanding of the UK life sciences research environment, and be familiar with the key organizations and processes which control it; government, publishers, funders, universities, individual scientists, industry and the wider public. It is essential that you can research, understand and articulate reasons for wishing to support reproducibility, replicability and reliability.  You will have the skills to build close links and partnerships with individuals and organisations across the life sciences sector, and the confidence and clarity to influence them and bring about change.

It is vital that you can operate flexibly in a small organisation and show the commitment and initiative to make a real difference to neuroscience research. We are a small team of 4-6 people, and you will be expected to both work on your own initiative and pitch in as a team member when required. You need to be able to plan well but respond quickly.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A passion for improving the reproducibility, replicability and reliability of life science research
  • Thorough understanding of the UK life sciences research environment and policy-making processes
  • Experience in a policy and campaigns role within a membership or charity organization
  • Ability to develop contacts with all relevant stakeholders, and maintain positive relationships in order to gain co-operation, overcome objections and progress objectives.
  • Experience of planning and delivering a policy strategy for both key projects and overarching aims of the organization
  • The skills to carry out activities involved in delivering the strategy, such as holding meetings, writing reports, or undertake consultations with stakeholders to make informed decisions
  • Ability to anticipate risks and the implications of decisions
  • Confidence in representing and promoting the BNA’s aims to internal and/or external arenas, with individuals and groups at all levels
  • Experience of using a range of methods to influence others
  • Education to degree level, preferably in a life sciences subject
  • The ability to effectively prioritise and manage workload in times of high activity and use quieter periods to plan ahead


Organizational structure

You will be working as a member of the BNA Executive team.  You will work particularly closely with the Chief Executive and the Head of Communications & Marketing (a new position); however, you will be expected to interact with all members of the team across all activities. 

The BNA is overseen by the Board of Trustees, headed by the President; this is the decision-making body of the organization. The BNA President and CE work together closely to deliver the BNA’s work.  Both the Trustees and Executive team also have input from BNA Advisory Committees.

You will also work with external organisations which will help you to perform your role. These are chiefly the Academy of Medical Sciences, the new UK Reproducibility Network (based in Bristol), and the University of Bristol Research and Enterprise Development (RED) office.


Essential details

This is a part-time role of 0.5 FTE (2.5 days per week).  

Salary: £36,000 - £40,000 FTE (£16,000 - £20,000 pro rata)

Fixed term contract of 24 months, starting with an initial 6 months’ probationary period.

The BNA office is based at the University of Bristol, with some activities at Cardiff University.

The BNA is able to support flexible working and we are open to how this job is filled.  We would be interested in a freelance contract, working from home, or other arrangements.

This job will include some travel and out of hours activity.

You must have the right to work in the UK when you apply.


Application procedure

Deadline for applications = midnight on 6th December 2018.

We welcome applications from all sections of the community.

To apply, please send your CV and a cover letter demonstrating how you meet our person specification and would fulfil the requirements of the job description to:
or The BNA, Dorothy Hodgkin Building, Whitson Street, Bristol BS1 3NY

Please do not be discouraged from applying if your current CV is not a ‘perfect fit’. If you think that this is the role for you, please write and tell us why. This is a new job, with great scope for the right applicant to develop the role and make it their own.

Contact Details

If you wish to discuss any aspect of this role, please feel free to contact the BNA Chief Executive:, 0117 331 3159 / 0777 178 1582.