Published: 13th September 2021

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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people’s day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.

We are looking for an SEO social researcher to join the Social Science Team in Defra’s Marine and Fisheries Directorate. The objective of the Marine and Fisheries Directorate is to ensure our seas are cleaner, healthier, safer, more productive and biologically diverse. This means protecting and improving the marine environment, both in the UK and internationally, and managing our diverse range of fisheries sustainably.

Our Marine & Fisheries evidence needs cover the same range of issues in the seas as those on land – from planning and construction, to biodiversity and climate change, food security and industry, to valuing natural capital. Our policy ambitions are high, requiring a significant evidence base to support policy development and monitoring – articulated in the 25 Year Environment Plan, the UK Marine Strategy, and the Fisheries Act.

The role will be situated in the Marine Evidence Team within Defra’s Marine and Fisheries Directorate. This is a multidisciplinary analytical team of around 20 scientists, economists, social researchers and generalists, informing and supporting the development of Defra’s domestic and international marine policy. The team delivers this by providing policy advice and analysis, commissioning targeted R&D and drawing on the skills and evidence developed across Defra Group. The team also fosters partnerships with academia and research institutes. Our vision is to support policy with robust and timely analytical advice, working together and flexibly as a team to provide a holistic interdisciplinary package of evidence, drawing on resources from across the Defra System and engaging and leveraging the wider UK research community.

We are inclusive: We recruit by merit based on fair and open competition, we embrace diversity and promote equality of opportunity, and we are committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives and skills. There is a disability confident scheme (DCS) for people with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria. We are fully committed to being an inclusive employer and ensuring equal opportunities.

Job description

The Marine and Fisheries Social Science Team is a smaller sub-team spread across the two wider analytical teams (Fisheries Science, Economics and Analysis; Marine Evidence) supporting the high profile and extensive policy development required for marine and fisheries management. Set up in 2018, the team is now well established and has delivered some key projects, as well as identified broader evidence gaps and strategic priorities. We are now looking to deliver on an ambitious programme of work, in particular by strengthening the links between evidence and policy in order to maximise our impact at this crucial stage of ocean policy development in the Directorate and across the UK. As a senior research officer in marine social science you will lead a portfolio of research. Key priorities include offshore wind, marine protected areas, marine plastics, public perceptions, cultural ecosystem services and evaluation of future international spend.

Find out more and apply here.