An exciting opportunity has arisen to work with a new company at the cutting edge of farmer-led research, to share ideas with some of the most forward-thinking farmers in the UK and to help spearhead Agriculture’s Fourth Revolution.
The British On-Farm Innovation Network (BOFIN) was founded by Tom Allen-Stevens in 2020 to bring together farmers who carry out their own on-farm trials, seeking a more scientific way to progress farm practice.
The network has around 550 members (60% of whom are farmers) and we are now involved in a number of Defra-funded projects with a range of collaborators below:
- Strategies Leading to Improved Management and Enhanced Resilience against Slugs (SLIMERS) with CHAP, Small Robot Company, John Innes Centre, Harper Adams University and Agrivation
- Nitrogen efficient plants for Climate Smart arable cropping systems (NCS) led by PGRO with 17 partners
- Slug-resistant wheat with Wicklesham Estates and John Innes Centre
- Harvest weed-seed control with Driver Farms and NIAB
BOFIN is just about to start some further exciting research projects as farmer-led innovation moves on apace.
What is the role?
We now have over 300 farmers involved in various projects and are introducing for them the opportunity to be paid to carry out on-farm research. We are looking for an enthusiastic and well organised person with good communication skills to help farmers deliver the cutting-edge science at the heart of our projects.
As Project Manager you will be responsible for delivering BOFIN’s role within SLIMERS, a £2.6m three-year project BOFIN is leading with industry and research partners, working alongside the Managing Director and Community Manager. You will assist the Senior Project Manager in the delivery of NCS and other projects, including new initiatives about to get underway.
Lying at the heart of what we do is turning science into practice that can be easily applied on farm, and ensuring farmers get the true value from the collective knowledge they have and accrue.
You will be instrumental in equipping farmers with the tools and resources that capture the value from their work, that allow them to resonate their achievements and deliver progress that the entire industry will benefit from. You will help shape the systems that will come to define the fourth agricultural revolution.
You will have a good grasp of the technical aspects of farming, particularly for broad-acre crops. You understand scientific principles and protocols and can turn these into everyday language and manageable tasks. You thrive in the company of farmers, demonstrate excellent communication skills and know how to use a variety of channels to convey information. You can make a plan, deliver it and report on progress to co-workers and project partners.
There is real scope for networking and collaborative opportunities with BOFIN, including site visits to farms, to industry events and through co-ordinating BOFIN events and workshops. Press liaison is a key role within this position and experience with agricultural publications and outlets would be valuable.
Most importantly, you will be an enthusiastic and eager individual with excellent organisational skills who thrives in a small team and is also able to work in isolation. The job is ideal for hybrid working, while there are opportunities to travel for events, meetings, farm visits and more.
You should be able to manage multiple tasks and short deadlines, as well as look at long-term project plans and bring fresh, new ideas to the team. Good writing skills are essential, you’ll need to be familiar with Office 365 basic tools and Gantt charts. We see this as a full-time role but it may be a part-time, salaried position, delivering the majority of your career expectations.
Please note we are hiring for multiple roles, so if you feel like you can contribute to some but not all, we still encourage you to apply.
- Delivering on-farm research projects according to the project plan (eg work package schedule of project collaboration agreement), both as lead Project Manager and assisting Senior Project Manager on other projects
- Day-to-day management of projects, including client/collaborating-partner liaison and management of contractors/subcontractors (including farmers)
- Working with Managing Director to plan content, schedule events, appoint contractors and freelancers, achieve milestones and deliverables and allocate resources according to the project budget
- Co-ordinating press liaison, including placing features, briefing freelancers as necessary, editing copy and managing approvals process, and working with Community Manager to deliver content
- Writing and editing copy, including features and press releases and arranging interviews, working with Community Manager for content and approvals
- Writing and editing knowledge exchange literature, including case studies, briefing freelancers as necessary and briefing design studio, working with Community Manager on final delivery
- Management of event schedule and deciding content of individual events, then overseeing delivery, working with Community Manager
- Oversight of social media content, including advising Community Manager on tone, messaging and actions
- Working with Managing Director on protocol design and delivery, specifically helping with content, presentation and delivery to contractors (farmers)
- Assisting Managing Director and Community Manager with direct communications to BOFIN members and webinar content, ensuring delivery of project plans
- Represent BOFIN at events, conferences and meetings; provide comment and/or interviews to press; work with Managing Director to engage stakeholders and with Community Manager to engage farmers and BOFIN members
- Reporting to Managing Director and project partners on delivery and progress of projects and management of time and resources
- You must have excellent communication skills, including proven writing ability, and be happy talking to farmers, press, scientists and the wider general public.
- You must be able to demonstrate a good technical understanding of farming, and related scientific principles, particularly in broad-acre crops.
- You should have good organisational skills, with experience of planning projects and working to deadlines.
- You must be proficient in basic Office 365 tools including (but not limited to) Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
- You must be able to work both as part of a small team and in isolation on tasks.
- A good understanding of on-farm and agricultural research.
- Active on social media and forums through your current profession.
- Experience facilitating workshops, planning events and presenting at events.
- Press liaison, particularly with the agricultural press, and familiarity with channels of communication and how to use them.
- Project management training/qualifications.
- Competitive salary (up to £55,000 per annum depending on skills, experience and availability).
- Multiple roles available – project manager, editorial and stakeholder liaison depending on availability.
- Flexible working hours; opportunity as part-time role.
- Hybrid working available – can work from home with occasional travel required. BOFIN is based at Faringdon, Oxfordshire.
If you would like to apply, please send your CV with a covering letter to Tom Allen-Stevens (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 September 2023.