Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Senior Data Policy Manager

230001E7 Requisition #

Smart Data Research UK: Senior Data Policy Manager


Job title: Senior Data Policy Manager, Smart Data Research UK

Responsible to: Head of Strategy and Partnerships, Smart Data Research UK

Responsible for: n/a 

Location: Swindon based - Hybrid working available (see hybrid working below)

Contract type: Permanent. 

Hours: Full-time or 0.8 FTE role. ESRC have a wide range of policies to support work/life balance. As such, we welcome full time/part time/compressed hours applications for this role.


Total salary package: £40,543 per annum

Band: UKRI Band E

Closing Date:  1st December 2023

Interview Date: w/c 11th December 202

Start Date: 26th February 2024



Smart Data Research UK


This is an exciting opportunity to work at the forefront of UK science and technology. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is investing £59.3m in Smart Data Research UK – an ambitious programme to unlock, organise and champion safe access to smart data. 


Smart data is made whenever we engage with the digital world – when we buy something, ‘like’ something, or get directions. If used for scientific research, smart data can help us understand important social challenges – from preventing diseases to tackling climate change. 


Our mission is to unlock the power of smart data for research that improves lives. We will do this by providing researchers with safe, trustworthy access to smart data, safeguarding public trust, building capability for cutting-edge research, and supporting research that addresses significant social and economic challenges.  


Smart Data Research UK will invest in data services - teams of experts from research institutes across the country. They will build partnerships with data owners and provide secure access to data for researchers. Coordination and leadership are provided by a Strategic Hub team, led by a director, based at the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).  



About the role


Smart data offer a powerful opportunity to understand society, improve lives, and sustainably grow our economy. In order to deliver a step change in the use of such data, Smart Data Research UK must safeguard public trust and navigate both day-to-day legal complexities and the dynamics of the international data policy landscape.


ESRC is seeking a Senior Data Policy Manager to manage internal and external facing policy concerns for the programme. In this role, you will enable us to provide leadership and coordination across the programme on matters pertaining to ethics and responsible data governance, and you will help our leadership team stay informed about emerging policy issues. You will achieve this through sourcing appropriate expertise, as well as becoming our internal expert on key data policy questions. Your efforts will complement and be informed by the activities of the Communications and Public Engagement Team, who are charged with delivering a programme of inclusive public involvement and engagement that engages with a diverse range of groups. Together, these activities will be critical to the realisation of our ambitions for the societal benefits of smart data.



Hybrid Working


This post is based at our Swindon office, but we operate a hybrid approach, and you can expect a mix of working from home, the office, and external locations. As we recognise the benefits of in-person working, Smart Data Research UK currently has a minimum expectation that we will work in person at least 2 days per month in the Swindon office. On occasions where there is a business need, you may be required to attend the office more than 2 days a month (e.g., for training, events, or team days). This post also requires travel to attend external visits and meetings. We will make exceptions to the minimum requirement to work in person in the Swindon office for individuals who might encounter difficulties because of a disability/health condition.



About you


We know that many people hesitate to submit a job application if they feel they don't meet all the criteria. If you are passionate about our mission and you possess most of the skills or experience, we encourage you to proceed with your application. We'd love to hear from you!



Key Responsibilities 


You will engage with national and international data policy developments, keeping the team informed of key issues and connected to relevant conversations. You will also manage the provision of cross-programme data governance and ethical and legal support, including, where relevant, scoping and commissioning external advice and services.


Your work is likely to include these key activities:


·       Develop and maintain an up-to-date understanding of the external policy, legislative and ethical landscape relevant to Smart Data Research UK. Provide timely advice to the senior leadership team on opportunities and risks.

·       Lead the scoping and drafting a programme of ethical and legal resource to support Smart Data Research UK and its user communities, considering the requirements of the programme and community and options for resourcing.

·       Manage activities to assure we meet our strategic objective to demonstrate responsible research practices, including providing investment management of the ethical and legal resource (see previous activity).

·       Lead our effort to develop an overall ethical framework that aligns with relevant policies across UKRI and the wider landscape while accounting for the distinct challenges raised by the new data sources and methods we unlock for research.  

·       Convene advisory groups to help inform the development and delivery of Smart Data Research UKs ethical and legal programme.

·       Provide input into our programme’s overall data governance.

·       Represent the programme at events and meetings relevant to data policy.

·       Provide briefings to the director and senior ESRC leadership on issues arising in the data landscape, including legislative developments.

·       Support our communications efforts through writing blogs and providing input on other public-facing content.

·       Build strong relationships across the academic community, government and other stakeholders around issues of data policy and ethics.


This is not a comprehensive list, and we may require you to undertake other duties within the Strategic Hub commensurate with the level of responsibility of this post.  



Shortlisting and Interview Criteria (Person Specification)




·       A strong understanding of data sharing and research use with regard to one of these three areas: ethics, legal practice including data sharing agreements, government data protection and data sharing legislation; or a demonstrated translatable understanding in an adjacent area.

·       The demonstrable ability to develop knowledge quickly in all three areas listed above.

·       A proven record of building effective working relationships with both internal and external collaborators (such as senior academics, policy makers, practitioners, or business partners) at varying seniority levels with the ability to influence and persuade.

·       Experience of scoping new project ideas, including engaging a range of stakeholders to ensure requirements are understood and reflected in projects and programmes.

·       Sophisticated analytical, problem-solving and decision-making skills and an ability to think strategically to overcome challenges.

·       Strong project management skills including experience of multi-tasking, prioritising and matrix managing colleagues to successfully deliver projects.

·       Excellent written communication skills (both written and oral) with the ability to produce clear, concise and accurate presentations and written documentation for a wide range of audiences.




·       An understanding of smart data research and an understanding of the role it plays within the UK research/innovation system.

·       An understanding of what constitutes good data science, including an understanding of how data can be used safely for the public good.

·       Knowledge or experience specific to collecting quantitative or qualitative data for research, using data archives/data repositories, or data preparing/processing

About the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 

The ESRC is the UK’s largest funder of economic, social, behavioural and human data science. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policy-makers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. 

For more information about ESRC, please visit

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation. 

More information can be found at

Choosing to come to work at UKRI means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme, excellent holiday entitlement, access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme.  For more details, visit benefits of working for UKRI

The role holder will be required to have the appropriate level of security screening/vetting required for the role.  UKRI reserves the right to run or re-run security clearance as required during the course of employment.

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 

How to apply 

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

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