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Job title: Research Assistant
Length: Six months on a fixed contract
Salary: London Living Wage (£10.20 per hour)
Hours: Full time (40 hours per week)
Location: Westminster, London
Reform is recruiting a Research Assistant to join its small and passionate team for six months on a full-time basis. The successful candidate will help produce independent, challenging and authoritative research, and will assist in supporting Reform’s communications and events. You will be a dynamic and motivated individual with a track record of strong research and communication skills, and committed to our core principles.
For 15 years Reform has been the leading think tank at the heart of Whitehall and Westminster’s efforts to transform public services for the better, in the interests of all citizens and within sustainable government budgets. It is a non-partisan, independent research charity. Its core research areas are Home Affairs and Justice, Education, Health, Work and Pensions, as well as cross-cutting issues such as workforce capability, digital transformation, competition and choice, and efficiency”. Alongside its research, Reform runs around 60 policy events a year, attended by ministers and shadow ministers, other parliamentarians, senior officials, public service leaders, academics and business leaders.
The Research Assistant will work closely with the research team to support Reform’s research programme, including drafting literature reviews and contributing to sections of reports. You will also support Reform’s regular contributions to the policy debate by researching ad hoc policy issues. You will support events, update Reform’s contact database, and participate in regular team meetings. You will contribute to Reform’s online output by writing blog posts and assisting with the weekly newsletter in collaboration with the research team.
It is essential that candidate demonstrates:
Some experience of conducting research on public policy
Good organisational and administrative skills, including in prioritising tasks
An ability to work effectively under pressure and meet tight deadlines
Strong written and verbal communication skills
A commitment to building and maintaining good professional relationships
Excellent attention to detail
A First or good 2.i in a relevant discipline, though those with equivalent relevant experience will be considered. A master’s degree is desirable, though not necessary
Reform is committed to diversity. We will accommodate applications from any interested persons and to make reasonable adjustments at any stage should this be requested.
Former Research Assistants at Reform have gone on to pursue a range of careers, including gaining positions in government departments, non-government agencies, consultancies, charities, businesses and politics. Please see below testimonials from recent cohorts.
Emilie Sundorph, Researcher
Former Research Assistant (Mar 16 – Jul 16)
“The respect and autonomy given to Research Assistants from the very beginning is what really stands out for me about the position. From the very beginning I felt like I was a full member of the team and Researchers were extremely encouraging and helpful. Being brought on board on research projects from day one is both very challenging and very rewarding. It meant that I improved my skill set rapidly, and became better at doing policy research as well as writing about it. I would wholeheartedly recommend applying to anyone who is passionate about politics and good policy-making.”
Ben Dobson, Former Researcher
Former Research Assistant (Nov 15 – Apr 16)
“As a Research Assistant I principally worked across three research projects covering working-age welfare and education policy. My typical day involved conducting primary research by reading academic and other papers, sourcing and analysing data and interviewing experts in the field, as well as drafting sections of research reports. I most enjoyed the autonomy I had to shape the direction of the research; it gave me the opportunity to have a real and immediate impact on Reform’s output, which I found really motivating.”
Alasdair Riggs, Master’s student
Former Research Assistant (Mar 16 – Sep 16)
“My time as a Research Assistant at Reform was some of the most stimulating and informative of my life. I worked on a range of policy areas, including health, employment services, social care, and school operating models. I was tasked in particular with supporting Reform’s work on how government commissions services from external providers. It’s better to think of this not as an internship – in which you might focus on largely administrative duties – but as a junior research role. You’ll make substantive contributions to Reform’s publications, and will need to work quite independently: you’ll be trusted to plan your own research, and manage your own priorities. Reform works to a high standard, and at a swift pace, so expectations are high. I’m now working towards a higher degree at the University of Oxford, for which Reform has without question prepared me as well as I could hope.”
Roberta Wiafe, Master’s student
Former Research Assistant (Dec 14 – Sep 15)
“During my time at Reform I was able to work on a range of policy areas from criminal justice to health and social care, assisting with numerous research papers. I was given amazing opportunities to attend roundtables and discuss policy with business leaders, experts, and cabinet members which informed my understanding of the nuances of effective policy creation. My time at Reform expanded my knowledge of existing policy areas as well as improving my research and organisational skills. I learned to think critically about policy and how better to scrutinise and critique policies and research. After leaving Reform I went on to do a Master’s in International Public Policy at UCL and am going on to do an internship with the United Nations Development Programme in Ghana.”