New Opportunity: Chief Economist/Senior Researcher

The SMF is seeking a new Chief Economist/Senior Researcher. The appointee will replace Aveek Bhattacharya, who is being promoted to Research Director.

This is an opportunity to join an influential Westminster think-tank in a senior role, working on the big economic and social problems facing the UK. The SMF is Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank and a registered charity overseen by its Chair, Wendy Thomson and the Board of Trustees.

The role is a wide-ranging and important position within the SMF. The appointee will help shape the topics that the SMF analyses and the policies we put forward, as well as working closely with and seeking to influence politicians, officials, leading figures from industry, academia and the media.

The postholder will be responsible for:

  • Designing, project managing and delivering high-quality research that maintains and enhances the SMF’s reputation for rigorous and influential policy analysis.
  • Maximising the impact of the SMF’s work, communicating our findings to a range of stakeholders, including politicians, advisers and officials.
  • Representing the SMF in the media, by writing articles and participating in broadcast and print interviews. The SMF will offer media training to an applicant without relevant experience.
  • Supporting and mentoring junior colleagues.

Person specification:

Candidates must display the following:

  • Experience of policy development or policy-focused research, whether in government, academia, industry, think tanks, Parliament, the charity sector or another relevant field.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Evidence of producing high quality written work in short timeframes.
  • An established interest in social and economic policy.
  • A keen awareness of UK politics.
  • An open and inquisitive mindset that can get to grips with new topics quickly and confidently.
  • Willingness to put evidence before political inclinations. The SMF recruits people of all political views, but staff must be happy to work closely with people of differing views.

The ideal candidate will also have some of the following attributes:

  • Experience of designing research projects, and managing them to completion.
  • Demonstrated expertise in some area of social or economic policy.
  • An understanding of different research approaches and methodological tools, both qualitative and quantitative.
  • Experience of data analysis software such as STATA, R or Python would be desirable though not essential.
  • Experience of working in a political context and attempting to influence policy.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in range of formats and forums: from formal reports to newspaper articles, and from one-to-one briefings to media interviews and presentations.
  • Awareness and understanding of key economic ideas and concepts (though academic qualifications in economics are not essential).


Salary: in the region of £50,000 per annum.

The SMF offers a contributory staff pension and generous holiday allowances.

The SMF is based at Westminster and the post-holder will be expected to work in our office there at least two days a week, with other working time spent at home.

Standard SMF working hours are 9.30am-6pm, Monday to Friday. We actively encourage flexible working and working patterns which are different to these hours. The appointee will be able to design their working week – in discussion with colleagues – to accommodate family commitments and other obligations.

Application process

Applications should be sent to with the subject “CHIEF ECONOMIST/SENIOR RESEARCHER”.

The deadline for applications is midday on Wednesday 28 September 2022. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an initial interview – to be held via Zoom – during the week starting 3 October 2022.

Applicants should attach three PDF or word documents:

  1. A CV (please read the notes on this carefully below)
  2. A one-page covering letter summarising how you fit the person specification and why you are interested in this position (please read the notes below before submitting)
  3. The outline of a research project you would like to undertake at the SMF if appointed. This should be no more than a page in length and explain:
      • The issue you would research and the problem your work would address
      • How you would do it.
      • How you would judge the success of the project.

Applicants are also asked to download, complete and return an equality and diversity monitoring form. This is voluntary and not a condition of applying. A copy of the form can be found here.

To discuss this post informally with Aveek Bhattacharya, the current SMF Chief Economist, please email

Notes on application
  1. Applications will be sifted on a name-blind basis. Please do not include your first or last name on your CV or covering letter. So we can identify you please include your name in the email you send with your application.
  2. CVs should omit institutions. Please do not include the names of schools or universities attended. Do include courses studied and qualifications obtained.
  3. Where possible, please remove references that might identify your background, sex or other characteristics. For instance, change references to “University women’s football team” to “university football team.”

The SMF is an equal opportunities employer and all our jobs are open to anyone, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marriage and civil partnership, or pregnancy and maternity.

We particularly encourage applications from people whose backgrounds are poorly represented in Westminster-based institutions and employers.


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