SPICe (Scottish Parliament Information Centre)
Advertising Salary:
£49,312.80 to £59,220 (£54,792 to £65,800 FTE)

About The Role

Working pattern: This is a part time post working post, working 33 hours 18 minutes per week.  We are happy to talk about flexible working as we’re committed to supporting staff to achieve a healthy work-life balance. This is a hybrid role, working from Holyrood, and from home. 

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body is responsible for providing the Parliament with the property, staff and services required for the Parliament’s purposes.  We place high value on excellence, and we are continually looking to improve how we work to ensure that we can deliver the Parliament's core purpose of representing the people of Scotland by debating issues of national importance, passing legislation and holding the Scottish Government to account. We are a diverse workforce, and our embedded values shape the way we work and treat each other. We have a culture of respect and inclusion, and everyone has the ability to make a difference. 

This is an excellent opportunity to join the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) as a Senior Researcher in the Environment, Rural, Constitution and International Research Unit.  We’re looking for an experienced researcher with in- depth understanding of rural affairs, agriculture, and land use policy. This is a temporary post, covering maternity leave. The post is expected to be for 9 months; however, this could be extended dependent on the return of the substantive post holder.  

Applications on a secondment basis are welcome.  

SPICe supports the scrutiny and legislative functions of the Parliament by providing impartial, accurate and timely information and briefings to Members of the Scottish Parliament, their staff, and Parliamentary staff. It comprises a research and information service. SPICe forms part of the Parliamentary Business Directorate and is led by three joint office heads. You can find out more about SPICe on the parliament website  

Reporting to the Head of Research and Sustainable Development Scrutiny, and working alongside experienced colleagues in the Environment, Rural, Constitution and International Research Unit, you’ll be leading on Rural Affairs, Agriculture and Land Use policy areas – this includes forestry, and biodiversity policy in relation to agriculture, land use and forestry. In the short term it will also include supporting scrutiny of the agricultural tenancies aspects of the ongoing Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.  

You’ll be involved in answering enquiries on a wide range of subjects, including agriculture, farmed animal health and welfare, rural development, food, forestry, biodiversity and nature-based solutions to climate change - as well as support on issues including wildlife, natural heritage and fisheries. This work involves complexities related to post EU structures and governance in Scotland – and you’ll be expected to demonstrate some understanding of these.  

You’ll prepare parliamentary committee briefings and analysis to help MSPs scrutinise the related policies of the Scottish Government, and you’ll publish briefings and blog articles on relevant issues.  

For further information about the role please contact Graeme Cook at [email protected] 

About You

You’ll have detailed subject knowledge of rural affairs, agriculture and land use policy areas, and considerable relevant experience working in analysis, research or policy development.  You’ll be equipped with contacts and understanding of the policy landscape across your subject areas. You’ll also have a degree in a relevant subject or equivalent experience. 

You’ll be able to communicate complex issues with brevity, accuracy and impartiality, both orally and in writing, to tight deadlines.

You’ll demonstrate a high level of personal credibility with excellent communication and influencing skills, with the ability to develop and maintain positive working relationships.

We particularly welcome applications from candidates from a Minority Ethnic background and Disabled candidates. All appointments will be made on merit. We have a values-based culture of respect and inclusion embedded in our organisation, and everyone has the ability to make a difference. 

We offer a great range of benefits including: 41.5 leave days (FTE, including public holidays), flexible working, paid professional subscriptions, family-friendly policies, Season Ticket advance loans, an onsite gym, Health and Wellbeing Schemes including discounted gym membership, a confidential counselling and information service, and the Cycle to Work Scheme. 

You’ll also have the opportunity to join the Alpha Civil Service pension scheme, where we’ll offer you an employer contribution of 28.97% of your basic salary. 

For full information about the role, have a look at the job description and application pack

Please apply before 11.59pm on Sunday 14 July. Full details of our selection process are outlined below. 

The Selection Process

Stage 1

How to apply and our selection process

We are a values-based organisation. Our values are a central part of our working culture and our people management processes. We use these to recruit, manage and develop our staff. For more information on our values and behaviours framework, please visit our values pages in our Employee Handbook.   

To apply for our roles, click 'apply' and this will allow you to upload your CV in order to register with us  (if you’ve not done so already). 

You’ll be asked to write a values-based supporting statement based on the job description of the role you’re applying for. The job description will detail the main recruitment selection criteria under each value, in the sections titled “And in delivering these, you will have”.  

Your application will be assessed solely on your statement. 

You’ll need to provide one or more examples to cover all bullet points, in each of the four value sections entitled “And in delivering these you will have”   

Please provide details from your background or career, of where and how you have demonstrated that value.  

When completing and submitting the values-based statement to apply for this role: 
  • Please provide evidence against each of our four values, a maximum of 400 words is allowed per value.

  • Please use the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to address the key delivery requirements under each value in the Job Description.

  • Each value should be clearly formatted, and your examples may include specific skills, experience, abilities, knowledge and strengths you have.

  • We have a separate box on our system for you to input each value.

  • Please do not input anything into the values boxes until you’re ready to submit your application.

  • Please complete your answers to the questions offline, perhaps in Word, and then copy and paste your answers into the system when you're ready to submit your application.

  • We recommend that you check your answers, by reading the inputted information in the box, when you've copied and pasted the information into the system, just to ensure it's all there.

  • Please only click 'Next' to submit your application when you're content it’s complete. When you click “Next”, you don't have the option to go back.

  • If you 'cancel' then your work won't be saved.

  • The system will time out after an hour and your work will be lost if you don’t complete it in that time. You don't have the option to save your application and return to it later.

  • If the system times out, you can go into your ‘candidate profile’ to access and complete your statement.

  • If you mistakenly submit your statement prior to completing this on the system, please email [email protected] with full details of the role you’re applying for, what has happened, and your completed statement.
Please note that only your supporting statement will be submitted to Hiring Managers, without any personal details, and they will then select candidates for further assessment or interview. 

Stage 2

At the final stage, you’ll be invited to attend a virtual panel interview and will also be asked to undertake a written assessment and presentation.  Dates for the assessment and interviews are still to be finalised. 

Feedback will only be provided on request to those who attend interview.  

If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please email [email protected]

After the interview 

We’ll aim to let you know the outcome of your interview as soon as we can. This will normally be within 10 working days. If you’re unsuccessful at interview stage, you can ask us for feedback. We want to ensure a positive candidate experience, so we’ll also contact you to ask for your feedback on the whole recruitment process. 

Onboarding Process 

If you’re successful at interview, you’ll be asked to complete our onboarding process. This includes security clearance and you’ll also be asked to provide proof of your eligibility to work in the United Kingdom. 

We will provide you with details of our security vetting policy and you will be required to complete a security questionnaire. Some of our roles will require membership of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. For further information, please see our Policy on the employment of ex-offenders and use of disclosure


If you’re successful, we’ll approach previous and/or current employers for a reference. If you have no employment history we may approach any school, college or university you have attended. 

We can only make a formal offer of employment once we have received your security clearance, eligibility to work in the UK and references. Your health assessment will be used to inform us of any adjustments you require before you start with us. 

Our commitment to an inclusive workforce 

We are a Disability Confident Leader Employer and guarantee to interview any disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for the role.  If you have a disability and would like to talk to us about any aspects of this job, please contact us.  More details can be found here