Historical & Philosophical Studies - UK Jobs

The Henry Jackson Society (HJS) is the UK’s boldest think tank and policy-shaping force, constantly ahead of the curve on the big issues of international and domestic importance. We are currently looking for a Research Director to help lead us permanently on the next stage of our organisational journey, which has already taken us to the status of a household name in the international political and media constellation.

When HJS was founded back in 2005, the global environment was very different to what it has become today. Over that time, the threats to the free world internationally and to free societies domestically have multiplied, but there has been one constant: HJS’s willingness and ability to fight for the principles and alliances which keep societies free – working across borders and party lines to combat extremism, advance democracy and fundamental human rights, and make a stand in an increasingly uncertain world.

Reflecting this, our work is focused into two main streams: “Securing our Societies” and “Advancing the Free World”. “Securing our Societies” focuses on threats to free societies within the West, while “Advancing the Free World” examines how the enemies of the free world are operating internationally. Obviously there is interplay between the two streams as the challenges we face are often not as obliging as to lend themselves to easy classification. Our research centres that fall under “Securing our Societies” are the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism, and the Centre for Social and Political Risk, while those sitting in the “Advancing the Free World” stream are the Asia Studies, Russia & Eurasia and Global Britain Centres. But these are not exhaustive topics, and we are able to take on many new areas of study as well.

What we are looking for

In order to meet our ambitious agenda and to augment our existing capabilities, we need a Research Director to provide strategic oversight for all HJS research and to act as an integral part of the senior management team. You will also be responsible for your own research programme like any other Research Fellow, in order to produce output in your area of expertise. 

This is a fantastic opportunity for an ambitious candidate to develop their skills and profile further and will suit people ready to take on a challenging and exciting role at an organisation that can offer profile development as it increases in size and scope, as well as those with existing management expertise looking for a new challenge at the leading edge of the public debate.

You will play a critical part in our future development in a proactive role which will require you to create, manage and expand HJS research capabilities. You will have experience of managing colleagues and working to defined objectives, as well as a proven record in fundraising not just for your own projects but also for wider goals. With colleagues in the research, communications and political departments to assist, you will be playing the lead role in managing and directing our research output and strategy, as well as developing and delivering profile-raising material of your own.

This position is an opportunity for a motivated and well-rounded individual to work in a pivotal and challenging role where no two days are the same, and which provides the opportunity for career growth in an organisation looking to evolve domestically and internationally. Above all though, we want you to be passionate about our issues and hungry to make a difference in the public policy world – recognising that this is not a normal 9-5 job where you switch off once you turn off your laptop because (a) you don’t want to and (b) you understand that this is not how the policy world works. The rewards, both professionally and personally are vast, as some of the stellar names who have passed through our ranks are now shining examples of, but they require dedication and commitment to achieve.

Join us – and help make history.

Main Duties: 

  • To conceptualise, plan, lead and execute the research programme and special projects;
  • To develop existing projects and create new ones in order to boost the written, oral and programmatic output of HJS, and to ensure that there is a steady pipeline of work being published in internet and physical form;
  • To structure the department in order to manage research staff, increase their productivity, develop their skills and ensure that they meet agreed deadlines;
  • To peer review, proof and edit research output;
  • To provide reports on progress, delays and changes to the research programme;
  • To identify and develop revenue streams from research content, and to provide an overview of research funding secured and research expenditures through the budgeting and reporting process;
  • To help develop a collegial, united and inspiring atmosphere for all staff across the organisation;
  • To conceptualise, plan and execute a series of exciting research projects over the course of each year, complete with deliverables, ensuring compliance with good practice in relation to the conduct of research;
  • To conduct your own high quality research and writing, including contributing to drafting funding bids and proposals;
  • To engage in public speaking and media commentating;
  • To ensure media placement of the Society written output in association with colleagues and monitor the frequency and quality of this output, in addition to third party references to research;
  • To develop a network of professional contacts within your field of expertise;
  • To fundraise/secure grants to support your work;
  • To promote your work and represent your discipline and the work of HJS internally and externally, and to act as part of the HJS family in supporting colleagues doing the same.

Person Specification:

The ideal candidate will be a strategic thinker who is highly motivated, authoritative and keen to play a leadership role as head of a research team and part of the organisation’s senior management team. They will understand the balance required between the freedom afforded by running their own division, and the need to consult with SMT colleagues when proposing decisions that have an organisational impact. They will have:

  • Ideally minimum of 8 years’ relevant research experience in a working environment post-university study, with particular experience of working in an SME environment or an SME-style environment particularly welcome (eg a division in a larger organisation);
  • Confident writing and speaking skills, and experience of communicating research and policy recommendations to a variety of audiences;
  • Demonstrable expertise in at least one of the areas of HJS research, or in a topic that fits into the “Home” and “Away” conceptual basis outlined;
  • Team or staff management experience required;
  • Significant fundraising or successful grant writing experience required;
  • A post-graduate degree in international relations, politics, economics, history or related disciplines or equivalent professional experience.
  • Confident writing and speaking skills, and experience of communicating research and policy recommendations to a variety of audiences;
  • Demonstrable expertise in at least one of the areas of HJS research, or in a topic that fits into the “Home” and “Away” conceptual basis outlined;
  • Experience in policy-oriented research, demonstrated by a track record of publications and reports;
  • Excellent project management skills and demonstrated ability to manage time, prioritise workload and work to fast moving deadlines.
  • Ability to take responsibility for and work independently on specific project tasks;
  • Ability to conduct research on a comparative and international basis;
  • Ability to communicate with stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds;
  • Ability to independently analyse and research complex ideas, concepts or theories on key issues in domestic or international security fields;
  • Ability to work well under pressure and to multi-task;
  • Willingness to collaborate on mixed method research;
  • Commitment to collaborative and team working;
  • Understanding that organisational bureaucracy is part and parcel of SME life, and that organisation procedures and administration need to be followed and completed in a timely fashion;
  • Hard-working and motivated with exacting attention to detail;
  • Strong analytical skills;
  • Proficiency in MS Office tools.
  • Sympathy with our ideals expected;


  • PhD;
  • Fundraising or successful grant-writing experience;
  • Quantitative skills in statistical or data analysis;
  • Arabic, Urdu, Pashto, Farsi, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, or another regional language would be an advantage if applying with an expertise where the appropriate language would be considered helpful;
  • Understanding of public, international, or counter-terrorism law and the institutions that uphold and adjudicate upon it (if relevant to area applied for);
  • Experience of working with policymakers.


£60-80k dependent on experience and stage of career. The position can be filled by an up-and-coming professional, a grizzled veteran or anything in between – what is most important are the personal qualities you can bring to our party.

To apply

Please complete our online form which will include:

  1. A CV.
  2. A cover letter – please include your salary expectations as outlined above and why you feel this is an appropriate level, and the broad area of your personal specific research expertise (e.g., Russia, Extremism, China, International Institutions etc.).
  3. Links to examples of your published output and broadcast experience (if available), plus any evidence of fundraising/grant writing success.

Closing date – Sunday 5th June 2022

Choose your Reaction!
Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

October 2022
Verified Users
Profile Photo
Brian Crow
Profile Photo
Nonoka Chikugo
Profile Photo
Yuuki Mochimaru
Profile Photo
Yuumi Asahina