Chair of Air Quality Expert Group

£226 per day
10 June 2019

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) invites applications for the position of Chair of the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) which is comprised of 14 members in addition to the Chair.

AQEG plays a vital role in providing advice to officials and key office holders in Government and the Devolved Administrations (DAs) on the evidence base supporting air quality policies and operations. The independent advice from AQEG helps shape Defra’s evidence base to robustly support policy development and implementation. While AQEG’s primary role is in the provision of scientific advice to assist Defra’s strategic vision, members and the Chair are also called upon to provide ad hoc advice on occasion. The role of the AQEG is particularly significant at present as Government begins to implement its Clean Air Strategy

The position of Chair requires significant expertise in a field of science relevant to air quality in addition to demonstrable strategic leadership and vision. Candidates should be able to show exceptional knowledge of the range of the Committee’s work and high levels of technical expertise in at least one of the areas detailed within the role specification below.

The Chair will be appointed in July 2019 and the role is scheduled to commence in November 2019 with a suggested handover from the outgoing Chair between July and October 2019.

Person Specification

A proven track record in a position of leadership within a high profile unit or organisation; An ability to lead and engage positively in debate with a diverse team of influential people and facilitate effective decision-making through consensus; An ability to command the respect and confidence of Ministers, the CSA, senior officials, senior scientists and other stakeholders.

Strong and current background in the science of air pollution or a closely related environmental or physical science, which reflects some aspects of the knowledge represented in AQEG (see the knowledge area list below). Understanding the interface between science and air quality policy with a demonstrable ability to strategically assess the application of evidence to support policy-making and implementation.

Excellent communication in a straightforward, truthful and candid way with a proven ability to negotiate, persuade and influence at all levels from ministers to members of the public and the press. Exceptional ability to articulate options available while taking into account the environmental, socioeconomic, and political impacts.

Ability to facilitate effective decision-making and chair complex multidisciplinary discussions, drawing out the views of all members, arriving at consensus, being clear on uncertainty and producing relevant and clear outcomes.

Proven expert ability to process and interpret complex information; well-developed analytical reasoning skills and judgment, and the ability to provide intellectual leadership and create a pro-active approach to problem solving and a high level of professionalism;

An ability to proactively build a strong network of collaborative relationships with a range of partners from varied scientific disciplines, the business community and civil society, where relevant, and across government in order to advance and champion the work of AQEG and to encourage an interdisciplinary approach to air quality science.

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