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Senior Specialist Climate Change

Posted: 7 Nov 2019 Closes: 29 Nov 2019
East Midlands, Eastern, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber £30,875
Permanent & Full-time defra/20191107175533

This position is based Nationally

The Specialist Services and Programmes Team is part of the Chief Scientists Directorate in Natural England. This team leads on the development and application of natural, economic and social science and evidence to drive and enable the achievement of environmental outcomes both within Natural England and externally.

Job description

This is an exciting opportunity to join the growing specialist job family working on Climate Change in Natural England, with a particular focus on the Government’s commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The role involves providing expert, evidence-based and practical advice across Natural England and within the Defra Group and other partners.
This is a national role with regular travel to London and elsewhere.

Key tasks/principal accountabilities

This is an evolving work area and specific responsibilities will develop and change over time. The post holder will need to maintain a flexible and adaptable attitude and approach. Initial broad work areas are described below:

• Provide strategic and technical leadership for Natural England’s contribution to the UK’s net zero commitment, especially the role of nature-based solutions
• Carry out evidence gathering and associated data analysis relating to carbon accounting across the full range of habitats and soil types
• Work with partners, including academic institutions and the Defra group to identify evidence gaps and seek funding opportunities to improve the evidence base as it relates to this specialism
• Represent NE on external groups, Government committees and networks
• Work closely with Defra to provide technical evidence based advice to inform policy development, including drafting or writing briefings
• Provide thought leadership to integrate Climate Change as a cross-cutting theme across NE’s four programmes: Resilient Landscapes and Seas, Greener Farming and Fisheries, Sustainable Development and Connecting People with Nature
• Provide practical and evidence-based technical advice on priority work areas and projects, relevant to the specialism and grade e.g. ELMS
• Working with the Climate Change specialist team, build capability across NE by providing training, guidance and mentoring


Competence 1
Professional competency
Technical/specialist knowledge

Possess a degree in a relevant discipline or have equivalent level of applied experience. Applicants that do not hold a relevant degree should specify experience and outputs that they have produced that demonstrate that they have an equivalent level of knowledge.
Expert level knowledge of:
• Soil biogeochemistry, nutrient cycling
• The role of the main greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) in causing climate change and the processes affecting their emissions and removals from the atmosphere
• Carbon budgets, greenhouse gas emissions reporting and emission reduction targets
• Scientific skills: undertaking evidence reviews, data analysis and statistics
• Scientific skills: communicating science to different audiences (verbal and written), monitoring and evaluation methods
• Land management interventions on agricultural soils and the potential for contribution to net zero emissions

Practitioner level knowledge of:
• Status and management of carbon rich habitats such as upland and lowland peatlands and woodlands
• Knowledge of intertidal/marine habitats in relation to management and carbon storage (blue carbon)
• The opportunities and risks around promoting carbon uptake through tree planting and forestry
• The policy context on climate change and the natural environment, UK Climate Projections 2018 and the relevant legislative drivers e.g. the Climate Change Act 2008

Competence 2
Leading and Communicating

Adapt your style, content and approach to communicate effectively with different audiences and across different media – Expert

Produce specialist products such as articles, think pieces and papers for both general and technical readerships and contribute to professional publications and conferences - Expert

Develop and display independence and initiative, including the ability to test and challenge others in a constructive and evidence-based way - Expert

Display thought leadership on Natural England's behalf through external collaboration within the Defra family and with other partners and academics - Expert

Identify priority evidence needs and seek ways to meet them (e.g. through funding or partnerships) - Expert

Competence 3
Collaborating and Partnering

Build relationships and effective networks both internally and externally to bring fresh perspectives, approaches and evidence to Natural England and support our specialist interests – Expert

Contribute effectively to cross-team thought leadership through leading or participating in relevant networks and more informal methods – Expert

Share knowledge and information, building your networks and increasing your understanding - Expert

Competence 4
Making Effective Decisions

Apply expert knowledge and the national context to advice, technical input and options for decision making to nationally significant programmes and projects – Expert

Use evaluation and feedback skills so that you understand others’ points of view and you know the impact that your advice and evidence has when used by your customers – Expert

Interpret, evaluate and use evidence to inform your decision-making - Expert

Develop and display independence and initiative, including the ability to test and challenge others in a constructive and evidence-based way - Expert

Competence 5
Building Capability for All

Train, coach and mentor others in Natural England and key players externally to increase their capability and increase the organisation’s technical skill and capability


Please refer to Job Description



• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Selection process details

Please refer to Job Description

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

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