Research Officer - Forensic Science

Job Description

Job Title: Research Officer
Salary range: £48,734.00 - £50,204.00
Grade: Assembly Grade 5
Directorate: Legal, Governance and Research Services
Business Area/Office: Research and Information Service (RaISe)
Accountable to: Senior Research Officer

Job Purpose

Research Officers work directly with Assembly Members and Committees in the production of non-partisan, objective and evidence-based research. Each Research Officer is responsible for authoring research concerning a specific subject area (specialism) within the remit of the devolved powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The research produced by Research Officers is routinely published and can involve written, oral and visual presentations to Assembly Committees in open and closed sessions.

Job Description:

Main duties and responsibilities of the Research Officer are:

  • The provision of timely, accurate, high quality and impartial research and analysis to individual MLAs, Assembly Committees and senior managers within the Assembly Secretariat.
  • To retrieve, synthesise and analyse information from a wide range of regional, national and international sources, including online databases.
  • Responsibility for authoring Bill Research Papers that are published prior to the Committee Stage of the Assembly's legislative passage.
  • The production of a range of research outputs, including customised research papers, legislative analysis briefings, financial impact assessments, blog posts, data visualisations and digital dashboards. Research must be drafted to publication standard; be well written, concise and accessible. Research conclusions can propose recommendations on ways forward for Committee and MLA consideration as required.
  • The presentation of research briefings to Assembly Committees and responding to Committee members' questions in public and closed sessions. Research briefings can include making recommendations on potential lines of questioning of Committee witnesses and departmental officials..
  • To advise Assembly Committees on subject specific aspects of forward work programmes and inquiries that focus and assist scrutiny, including input to establishing terms of reference, identifying key issues and research requirements.
  • Provide specific support to the legislative scrutiny function of MLAs, Committee Clerks and Committees including - supporting the promulgation of Private Members Bills, identifying potential witnesses for Committees, identifying key witnesses (e.g. academic specialists, scientific specialists) and assisting the Committee with round table stakeholder events (e.g. facilitating and reporting).
  • To provide research support to Members and the Committee Clerk for Committee visits that may involve travelling with Committees to external events and longer visits to other jurisdictions.
  • To lead, direct and/or represent RaISe at public events, such as those which form part of the Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS) and stakeholder events for Committees including drafting opening remarks for Committee Chairs.
  • Maintain good communication with Committee Clerks, MLAs, and senior managers in order to understand and develop their research requirements.
  • Prepare joint papers with colleagues in other Parliaments and assisting colleagues in other Parliaments with queries for MPs & TDs etc.
  • Proactively forge and develop links with government officials, departmental liaison officers, external research bodies/communities and other parliamentary library and research services.
  • Support the development and enhancement of parliamentary library and research services in other jurisdictions through training, mentoring and practical advice.
  • Prepare and deliver training for MLAs, party support staff and the secretariat.
  • Oversee the work of undergraduate and postgraduate placement students working in their area and provide peer guidance to agency and new research staff.
  • Contribute to the peer review of colleagues' research.
  • Maintain a specialist knowledge of their research portfolio through relevant training, consultation of academic and other literature, maintaining and developing links with subject specialists in other legislatures and attendance at conferences and seminars.
  • Work collaboratively and collegially, as an effective team member;
  • Contribute to the development of RaISe, including designing content for and participating in working groups as required, identifying potential new outputs and potential improvements to service delivery.
  • Comply with all of the Assembly Commission's staff policies and procedures including Equal Opportunities and Dignity at Work policies and procedures and all mandatory training requirements;
  • Manage information and records in accordance with established policies and statutory requirements; and
  • Carry out other duties that the Assembly Commission reasonably requires.

Essential Criteria:
Applicants must, by the closing date:

  1. Be in possession of at least a second-class honours degree (or equivalent or post-graduate qualification), which contained at least 50% of the course content relating to the subject area of the post/s applied for. Applicants must, in their application form, indicate how their qualification/s are relevant to the subject of the post/s applied for;


  1. Following completion of the above qualification, have at least two years of work experience in:

  1. Conducting objective, evidence-based research; and

  1. Producing and delivering evidence-based research findings to help inform discussion and decision making relating to policy development.