Senior Policy Advisor

The Open Data Institute are looking for a Senior Policy Advisor who will work across a number of initiatives that develop, test, communicate and implement policy.

Senior Policy Advisor

Location: UK based with frequent travel

Salary: Up to £50,000 per annum plus benefits

Fixed Term Contract until 31 March 2020

Secondment opportunity available

About the ODI

The Open Data Institute (ODI) was co-founded by two visionary leaders, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, Sir Nigel Shadbolt, renowned AI professor. Our vision is for people, organisations and communities to use data to make better decisions and be protected from any harmful impacts.

The ODI works with governments, businesses and NGOs all over the world. We deliver advisory, training and research and development services, encompassing public policy, business strategy and technology. Our programme of work is busy and constantly changing. We are committed to producing work at a very high standard and delivering measurable value to our partners and clients.

About the role

Reporting to the Head of Policy, the Senior Policy Advisor will work across a number of initiatives that develop, test, communicate and implement policy.

We are a global organisation headquartered in London and our work has international application. Your work will be focussed internationally. A priority in our strategy is the need to reassert our international expertise. You will help deliver that component.

Our work and policy is focussed on, but not limited to, data and digital transformation. We are currently working in a range of areas including transport, cities, sports, finance, agriculture, international development, utilities, artificial intelligence, public services and digital government. You will have the opportunity of working with experts in these diverse sectors.

We are not partisan but we believe that data is a political topic. You will work as openly and fearlessly as possible, iteratively improving our work based on what we and our network learn from research, tests and delivery.

This is an exciting opportunity to have a huge impact helping people, businesses, and governments adapt to and shape the changes that data is bringing to our world. We are still discovering what those changes are. You will help with that discovery.

Key responsibilities

As Senior Policy Advisor you will work closely with the rest of our team and network using your expertise to help tackle real problems. In the first year you will be particularly focussed on issues around international trade for data-enabled businesses. This will involve international travel to help expand ODI’s network, share learning, develop policy and help data-enabled businesses.

Your key responsibilities will be to:

  • work with the rest of our team on a range of projects, especially our new innovation programme but also other work that you help bring into the organisation, to develop, test, communicate and implement policy advice through the programme.
  • provide management and leadership to a project that is predominantly focussed on increasing international trade between the UK and other countries. The list of countries (TBD) is expected to include countries in Europe, N.America and Asia and Oceania. The team also includes people with research, consultancy and project management expertise.
  • respond to consultations and provide advice to governments around the world on how to increase trade, competition and innovation in a way that aligns with our vision.
  • work with and help develop our global network of nodes, members and partners.
  • help to develop, maintain and communicate policy positions and guides such as our work on data infrastructure, policy design patterns, personal data, opportunities created by the EU General Data Protection Regulation, Facebook/Cambridge Analytica and increasing data collaboration between countries.
  • work with the ODI team to develop and contribute our thinking to topical data debates such as artificial intelligence, GDPR, skills, equity, ethics, competition and innovation.
  • support the whole team, including board members, with policy advice.
  • build and maintain relationships with other people and organisations who influence policy, practice and regulation around data.
  • represent the ODI at events including conferences, roundtables and workshops.

About you – skills, knowledge and experience

We think it is essential that policy is informed by delivery of projects and services. Prototyping is one of the ways we develop policy. Our policy team is part of our delivery team. We do not necessarily expect you to already have delivery or consulting knowledge but you should be prepared to play, experiment and learn with the rest of our team. We will help you do that. Alternatively, perhaps you are a delivery expert or consultant who wants to move into policy. If so, we can help you do that too.

At this point in time we are particularly interested in applications from people with experience in digital, trade, innovation or competition policy.

You will have the following skills and experience:

  • Experience of managing or leading projects delivered by a team with a mixed range of skill sets within a consultancy, NGO or not-for-profit context.
  • Knowledge of current debates in data and/or the open movement.
  • Experience of working with the public and private sector.
  • Strong research and analytical skills.
  • Strong writing skills with the ability to write to meet your audience’s needs.
  • Strong communication, listening and advocacy skills.
  • Experience working with people from a range of cultures, backgrounds and seniority.
  • Experience influencing or developing policy for at least one national government.
  • A keen interest in the future of data and its impact on societies, businesses and people.
  • Critical thinking skills, including the ability to absorb large amounts of evidence / opinion before quickly forming and testing ideas.
  • Fluent in English.

Desirable experience

  • Fluent in French, Spanish and/or German.
  • Experience working with a wide range of stakeholders including businesses and NGOs.
  • Experience working on topical data topics such as artificial intelligence, data protection, ethics, APIs, innovation or competition policy.
  • Exposure to systems thinking techniques suitable for complex, adaptive systems such as the data economy and society
  • We tend to commission economic research rather than perform it ourselves but exposure to a range of economics techniques such as macroeconomics, microeconomics, behavioural economics, and complex systems modelling (including agent based modelling) would be useful.

If you do not have all of these skills, knowledge and experience but you think that this is the right role for you then do apply.

ODI values


You are good at what you do. You use your expertise to help with ODI’s mission. You are open and generous with that expertise and experience, and share it outside and inside ODI.

You can get better at what you do. You recognise the limits of your expertise and respect that of others. You are open to and seek advice, opinions and support to develop your expertise, within and outside ODI. You reflect on what works and what doesn’t to consciously learn, improve and grow.


You succeed when others flourish. You support and challenge others to do their best work. You open up opportunities for other people and organisations, and empower them to take them. You are as open as possible about what you are doing and what you have learnt. You encourage others to refine and build on your work.

You empathise with others so you can help them. You find out what people and organisations really need. You have empathy with their motivations and the constraints they operate under. You communicate in terms they understand.


You are trusted because you are honest and responsible. You are open with your opinion, open to hearing what others say, open to being wrong and open to changing your mind. You are not afraid to speak your mind when it is useful or important, and take responsibility for the results of doing so. You actively and curiously listen to others, and take responsibility for your responses to them.

You can do more than you might think. You are bold, creative and open to failure. You know what you do won’t be perfect at first but that doesn’t stop you. You start small and quickly and iterate to improve.


  • 3% contributory pension
  • 30 days’ annual holiday
  • Life Assurance cover
  • Long term disability cover
  • Critical illness cover
  • Flexible working
  • Coaching and mentoring for skills and personal development
  • £750 annual training budget toward your own professional development

How to apply

To apply please send your CV and a cover letter explaining why you would be a suitable candidate to [email protected].