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Vacancy: Specialist Adviser for Polar Research Sub-Committee inquiry into ‘The UK and the Antarctic Environment’

24 July 2023

Can you help Parliament examine the UK’s relationship with the Antarctic and its environment?

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is inviting applications from individuals interested in being a Specialist Adviser to its Sub-Committee on Polar Research for its inquiry into the UK’s relationship with the Antarctic environment and science.

The Sub-Committee’s inquiry is exploring three broad areas: environmental change in Antarctica, the role of UK science, and the UK’s role in Antarctic governance.

The inquiry will also look at how well the UK Government is meeting is obligations to protect the Antarctic environment under the Antarctic Treaty System, the UK’s contribution to Arctic science and the Government’s considerable investment in it, including through the vessels HMS Protector and RRS Sir David Attenborough, and research stations at Rothera and elsewhere.

The Committee

The EAC is a cross-party select committee of 16 MPs, chaired by Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP.

Its remit is to scrutinise how far the operation and policies of government departments and their public bodies contribute to sustainable development.

It is supported by the National Audit Office (NAO) in auditing the Government's performance against environmental protection targets.

Unlike most select committees, the EAC's work cuts across government rather than focusing on the work of a particular department.

The Sub-Committee on Polar Research

EAC established a Sub-Committee on Polar Research in January 2023 to consider the contribution of UK science to understanding climate and environmental change in the polar regions.

The Sub-Committee is chaired by James Gray MP and has 12 members. Details of the Sub-Committee’s membership are available here.

The Sub-Committee launched its inquiry on The UK and the Antarctic environment on 24 July 2023. It is currently open for written submissions to the inquiry and will commence taking oral evidence in the Autumn.

The Role

The Committee wishes to hear from applicants who:

  • can demonstrate familiarity with the global corpus of knowledge about the current and predictable future state of the Antarctic environment
  • can demonstrate knowledge of UK scientific and research programmes in the Antarctic and their contribution to environmental protection
  • can provide insight into the UK’s engagement on an international stage in relation to its governmental and commercial interests in Antarctica
  • can demonstrate detailed knowledge of the current geopolitical and strategic issues concerning the Antarctic and the international agreements and conventions which govern activities in the region
  • can suggest from experience which individuals and organisations the Committee should consult on the subject
  • are familiar with the advocacy positions or political affiliations that are held by these individuals and organisations, and with the policy debates relevant to the inquiry’s terms of reference
  • can demonstrate a strong network of contacts on this subject

The ability to provide clear, concise and impartial advice orally and in writing to politicians and/or senior decision-makers is essential.

The appointment is made by the Environmental Audit Committee on the Sub-Committee’s behalf.

As a Specialist Adviser, you will be working with the Committee secretariat on an ad hoc basis to provide authoritative advice in relation to this subject.

Work demands from the Sub-Committee are likely to be irregular and unpredictable.

Only in exceptional circumstances would you be asked to do more than two days' work in a particular week and it would normally be less than this.

You would be paid a daily honorarium on the basis of work done.

Examples of the types of work you may be asked to do include:

  • Working with the Committee secretariat, in particular the inquiry manager, on the planning and conduct of scrutiny for the inquiry
  • Contributing to briefing material for the Sub-Committee
  • Attending Sub-Committee meetings and providing oral briefings when required.

The role may involve attendance at Sub-Committee meetings in Westminster, and you may be asked to accompany the Committee on any future visits it might undertake in connection with the subject.

The Committee will meet connected, necessary expenses.

Specialist Adviser appointments are in the public domain.

Application Process

To apply please send a CV, covering letter and a declaration of relevant interests to Your CV should be no longer than 3 pages and your covering letter no longer than 2 pages.

In your covering letter you should indicate how your expertise is relevant to this subject, the amount of time you could realistically devote to Committee work, and your ability to take on work at short notice if required.

Your declaration of interests should include anything that a reasonable person might consider could influence the advice you give the Committee: for example, a relevant financial interest, active membership of a relevant campaign group or political party, or the involvement of a close family member in the area of specialism.

Declared interests from successful applicants will be published.

The Committee values diversity and encourages applications from people from a wide range of backgrounds. If you require any reasonable adjustments as part of the application process, please e-mail Committee staff at so that we can help you.

Deadline for applications

The deadline to send your CV and covering letter is 12 midday on Friday 15 September 2023.

Shortlisted candidates may be invited to interview (held virtually) during the week of 9 October.

If you have any questions about the role, please contact the Committee team on 020 7219 8890.

Further information

Image: UK Parliament/Tyler Allicock