Job advert – Public Engagement Manager

Do you believe in the power of data and want to be a champion for public engagement within Research Data Scotland (RDS) and externally? Could you lead an exciting programme of work to engage the public in how data is used in research to improve the lives of the people living in Scotland?  Yes?  Research Data Scotland needs you!

Now is a great time to join RDS as we take the first steps on our important journey.  

A bit about us:

RDS is a newly established charity committed to making public sector data available to support research and innovation in Scotland and to improve citizen wellbeing and equality. We will provide a service to researchers to simplify the process of accessing multiple datasets and identify existing datasets that can ultimately be used to improve the everyday lives of people in Scotland.

RDS aims to provide a step change in the service to researchers, whilst maintaining the high standards of information governance and data security already in place. We aim to work as openly as possible, maintaining standards in transparency and ethics.

Our focus is on providing a streamlined service for researchers, as well as extending the range of data available through the service, particularly in the areas of Covid-19, NHS imaging, geospatial data, children and justice services.

A bit about the job:

We are looking for a Public Engagement Manager. This post will be principally outward-facing, with a strong focus on project management and stakeholder engagement, at various levels and with the public. As Public Engagement Manager, you will work closely with the Partnership and Strategy Director, Communications Manager, members of the Data Team, CEO, RDS Directors, the Board of Trustees and colleagues in partner organisations. You’ll be an important part of our team, sharing your expertise with colleagues and partner organisations, as well as independently leading on activities. The salary range for this role is £40,000 to £49,000 - please note generally people start at the first point on the scale, but for roles with specialist skills and where there are recognised recruitment difficulties a level of flexibility will be considered.

About you:

A flexible mind-set and a “can-do” attitude are essential. You are organised, like to stay ahead of the curve on sector trends and thrive on managing multiple projects with different deadlines. You are keen to deliver. You will have a keen interest in how data, research and innovation can transform services and improve society but we have to engage the public so they understand how we use data in research and why, get their input into our work and support transparency.  

About the package:

We invest in the development of our people and promote an inclusive workplace culture.  We are based at the Bayes Centre in the centre of Edinburgh, a 35-hour week, hybrid working, flexible working hours, open from day 1 to discuss flexible working arrangements, 33 days’ holiday, including public, but we don’t have set closures, generous pension contributions. This list will be added to, and you’ll help shape it.

Curious? Go to for full application details. We’re keeping things easy – it’s just a c.v. and a cover letter giving us some insight into how you match the job and person specs.

Contact, if you’d like to arrange an informal chat.

Application deadline: Monday 28 November 2022 


Full details

Key Duties and responsibilities will include:

  • Further develop strategic plans around public involvement and engagement and action plan for RDS to ensure we and our partners undertake our work in a trustworthy manner that the public will support. You will also continuously review the public engagement plan, ensuring impactful outcomes.
  • Provide professional, trusted and credible public involvement and engagement advice to internal and external stakeholders, including researchers, data controllers, and service delivery partners
  • Lead on the recruitment of public contributors and support them to contribute to the work of RDS and wider activities. In doing this, you will have a passion for reaching, and involving,  diverse groups.
  • Ability to develop clear and accessible materials for a lay audience, including written content, as well as for the website and keen to promote wider accessibility.
  • Oversee a significant grant-giving pilot fund for public engagement activities across Scotland, on the use of data in research.
  • Manage events, including online and in-person meetings, workshops and larger events.
  • Deliver our public involvement and engagement plans to a high standard, to support transparency and public understanding of our work and wider understanding of the use of data in research for public good. Working with members of the public directly in some activities, and with partner organisations to input into, and support and supplement their work.
  • Ensure that our public involvement and engagement activities are clear, well managed, ethical and sensitive to the needs of members of the public.
  • You will have, and maintain, an understanding of a range of involvement techniques and methodologies, with the ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and think creatively to design and deliver engaging content and activities will also be key.
  • Coordinate with a wide range of public engagement experts, in partner organisations in Scotland and beyond, to ensure activities are well planned and coordinated and support each other.
  • Build strong relationships with, and influence, UK wide organisations that are working to similar public involvement and engagement objectives.
  • Support the development and delivery of related areas, such as user engagement.
  • Management of the public engagement budget and external contractors.

Knowledge, Skills, Experience

  • Experience of working with members of the public in public involvement and engagement activities including developing and maintaining policies and materials (essential)
  • Knowledge and understanding of public engagement practices and considerations (essential) 
  • The ability to work in an environment that attracts heavy public scrutiny (essential)
  • The ability to manage competing demands on your time work prioritising and working with different stakeholders and timelines (essential)
  • The ability to build and maintain robust relationships with a large and varied group of internal and external stakeholders (essential)  
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills, as well as interpersonal and event management skills (essential)
  • Efficient working knowledge of Microsoft Office and other tools to organise communications and manage workloads (essential)
  • An understanding of the issues and sensitivities about data and the use of public data in research (desirable)
  • Involvement in a grant setting process or fund, whether as an applicant and/or administrating funds (desirable)
  • Experience of setting and managing budgets (desirable)
  • Planning and developing public-facing communications outputs and event management (desirable)


  • Degree, other relevant qualification or relevant experience (desirable)

Key Competencies

  • Communication and Engagement (essential)
  • Improving Organisational Performance (essential)
  • Ethical approach to involving, and working with, people (essential)