ROE Public Engagement Manager


Direct Entry Job Permanent Edinburgh, UK

Uploaded 14 Jan 2021

Job Description

The UK Astronomy Technology Centre is an international leader in the development of astronomy technology and astronomical research and is based on STFC’s the Royal Observatory Edinburgh (ROE) site. We have leading roles in building the world's largest astronomical observatories, including the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) and the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). We are strongly committed to engaging both the public and schools with our exciting work.

The Royal Observatory Edinburgh Visitor Centre (VC) is the local part of the STFC National Laboratories Public Engagement team. The ROE site also hosts the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Edinburgh. The main focus of the Visitor Centre activities is the excellent astronomical research and astronomy instrumentation programmes that are carried out at the ROE. The VC delivers a highly regarded vibrant programme of public and schools’ activities including Continuing Professional Development for teachers. The programme is delivered with the support of the UKATC and University of Edinburgh students and staff.

We are seeking an ambitious Public Engagement Manager to lead our small PE team. The programme is primarily local with some national activity, and a strong focus on improving engagement with the most deprived communities and involving our engineers and scientists more closely with the programme. Previously, the programme comprised mainly face to face activities at the ROE Visitor Centre and off-site. Under COVID, we have successfully moved to an online programme. 

The National Laboratories PE (NLPE) Group includes similar PE teams at the Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. As a group we work together closely on areas including development work and good practice, under the STFC overarching Public Engagement strategy, which is available here.  This five-year strategy will be refreshed soon and you will be joining us at an exciting time for the wider PE programme.  

The UKATC is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce. We are invested in creating an environment that is welcoming and supportive of all, to help us achieve the highest possible standards in our work and organisation together. In this regard, we encourage applications from under-represented groups.

List of Duties / Work Programme / Responsibilities

  • Strategic development - Maintain and develop the overall strategy for public engagement with astronomy delivered through the ROE Visitor Centre and contribute to the development of wider group and corporate PE strategies and priorities
  • People management - Manage the ROE PE team which typically includes 4-6 people in a variety of roles, including direct line management of several staff
  • External relationships - Develop and manage external relationships with key stakeholders such as SSERC, Institute of Physics Scotland and the National Museums of Scotland, delegating to team members as appropriate
  • Internal relationship - Develop and manage relationships at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh site, building working relationships with the staff of the UK ATC and If and A and knowledge of their work
  • Ensure the PE programme is based around the highlights of the observatory science and technology. Develop and support an overall approach to involving ROE staff and students in the PE programme
  • Audience development - Extend our successes in improving engagement with underserved audiences
  • High quality programme delivery - Lead the development and delivery of a programme of high-quality PE, including appropriate evaluation and relevant good practice, integrated with the approaches of the wider NLPE group
  • Budget management - Support the NLPE Manager in his managing of the budget for NLPE with timely provision of spend and budgetary requirements for the local team. The budget has multiple income streams including ticketing, internal allocation and grant funding
  • Safety, Health and Environment - Fulfil all SHE responsibilities as Line Manager and Programme Manager including Visitor Centre day-day operations.

Person Specification



  • STEM Degree or equivalent qualification
  • Full UK driving licence. 


  • Astronomy or Physical Science degree 
  • Qualification or equivalent in science communication, such as MSc. 

Knowledge and Experience


  • Experience of managing staff 
  • Experience of programming, development, delivery and evaluation of STEM public engagement with schools and public 
  • Knowledge of public engagement methodologies and issues, including science capital 
  • Experience of managing small projects and budgets. 


  • Knowledge of ROE science and technology areas and the range of applications 
  • Knowledge of the Scottish Education sector and systems. 

Personal skill and Qualities


  • Pro-active self-starter, able to lead and work with others 
  • Time management and prioritisation skills 
  • Managing multiple projects 
  • Managing people and small teams 
  • Managing change 
  • Good communication skills, including with senior staff and public audiences; clear oral and written work 
  • Enthusiasm for STFC science and technology areas and the range of applications 
  • Budget management 
  • Quality of cover letter. 

Special Requirements


  • Able to work some unsocial hours, including able to travel including some overnights across the UK 
  • Full Driving License, to enable delivery of PE events at locations that are difficult to reach by public transport.