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Head of Research

Job Title: Head of Research

Salary: Dependent on experience and qualifications

Hours: Full time

Location:  Flexible, but travel to Bristol will be required

Reporting To: Policy Director & Deputy CEO

Position Summary:

The post-holder will contribute to and lead parts of the Sustainable Food Trust’s pioneering research and policy work. The position will involve writing reports and research papers, conducting literature reviews, drafting position papers and other written material. The work will cover a wide range of topics relating to sustainable agriculture, healthy and sustainable diets and mechanisms for change.

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Research and draft reports, position papers and articles in collaboration with the Policy Director and Research Officer.
  2. Play a key role in helping the SFT to develop its organisational positions on a range of issues.
  3. Establish and maintain expertise in relevant areas of scientific research, including research methods.
  4. Identify emerging trends of relevance to SFT and contribute to the SFT’s research and policy strategy and research work priorities.
  5. Contribute to SFT consultation responses, submissions of evidence to select committees and Government bodies. Identify other opportunities to raise SFT concerns in UK parliament and local government, amongst devolved officials, and more widely.
  6. Work with the Policy Director, CEO, Deputy CEO and Head of Communications to raise awareness among the research community and opinion formers about issues relating to food system sustainability.
  7. Write or contribute to SFT website articles, in addition to external media requests.
  8. Initiate and contribute to funding applications as appropriate or required.
  9. Maintain a database of published papers, articles and other material by topic to be available to all SFT staff, as needed.
  10. Work with and/or supervise other staff members, contractors and interns as appropriate.

Note: This job description does not form part of the contract of employment but indicates how the contract should be performed. The job description may be subject to amendment.

Person Specification


  • Strong background in science. Masters or PhD in relevant subject or equivalent experience
  • Strong interest in the area of sustainable food issues and policy work. Committed to the ethos and priorities of the Sustainable Food Trust
  • Experience of writing reports and other documents for a wide range of audiences
  • Experience of conducting academic literature reviews, ideally in areas related to sustainable food production and consumption
  • Proven knowledge of issues relating to food system sustainability, with a specialism in one or more areas (e.g. soil science, agriculture and the environment, including global warming, diet and health, agricultural economics, the role of livestock)
  • Knowledge and understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to explain complex scientific issues to the public in jargon-free language
  • Ability to look at any issue from a wide range of different perspectives to get a rounded view
  • Ability to ‘read between the lines’ to pull out key points from a range of information sources and to rationalise conflicting scientific evidence
  • Ability to demonstrate strong academic rigour combined with a clear solutions-oriented approach, in line with the SFT’s mission
  • Good planning and prioritisation skills
  • Ability to think strategically with strong analytical skills
  • Strong IT Skills
  • Comfortable working alone or in collaboration with others


  • Writing campaign or policy reports and / or writing peer-reviewed papers
  • Supervising staff / volunteers
  • Developing or maintaining reference databases
  • Analysing, interpreting and developing policy


Please send your CV and a 1-page cover letter explaining why you feel you would be suitable for this role and your reasons for applying to

The deadline for receiving applications is 09:00 GMT on the 30th March 2021

Apply now