Head of Research, Knowledge and Policy

Head of Research, Knowledge and Policy

Head of Research, Knowledge and Policy





Background and role summary

The Irish Hospice Foundation is a national charity which strives for better bereavement and end of life care for all. Our vision is one where no-one will face death or bereavement without the care and support they need. Our activities include: advocating for palliative services; Hospice Friendly Hospitals; Nurses for Night Care; Compassionate End of Life (CEOL) programme for residential services; an MSc in Bereavement Studies; the Complicated Grief Programme; the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network; hosting public engagements. The IHF also has an extensive program of engagement with relevant stakeholders. Our program includes fostering research and policy development with healthcare professionals, with relevant state agencies and within the voluntary sector. Further information on the Irish Hospice Foundation is available on hospicefoundation.ie.

Head of Research, Knowledge and Policy is a senior management role which will translate research into policy and advocacy in order to drive the mission of the organisation. The role-holder will work collaboratively across all aspects of the organisation to ensure that the programmes and messages of the organisation are driven by the best available evidence. They will coordinate a Routine Data project to build a better quantitative picture of death, dying and bereavement in Ireland. They will drive a growing volume of research-related activity, including dissemination of relevant international research, as well as stimulating relevant and necessary research within the Irish Health System. They will also manage the Advocacy function of the organisation, particularly in relation to creating policy content within this work.

Duties and responsibilities include:

Overseeing strategy on research, knowledge, policy and advocacy

  • Interpreting and translating both national and international research to drive advocacy and policy work
  • Finalising a knowledge translation and research strategy for the IHF which speaks to the relevant issues
  • Working, as a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT), with all elements of the organisation to identify the impact of the projects and programmes
  • Advising project managers on appropriate evaluation processes and, where applicable, commissioning and managing external evaluations of organisation projects or programmes
  • Contributing a research perspective to the strategies of the organisation, including the digital strategy and communications strategy and the annual business plan
  • Identifying and engaging in applications for multi-partner projects, e.g. European projects, as well as engaging with a national research community with a common interest in improvement of end of life care’

Overseeing knowledge and research activity

  • Developing IHF research function as a two-way mechanism – exploring how research informs IHF activities, and how we use our own research to influence the external world
  • Developing mechanisms to shape, inform and generate policy positions of the IHF through research evidence – building research briefs, communiques and other tools
  • Overseeing the development of robust content for our advocacy work and growing and developing this role, in partnership with the Advocacy Manager
  • Working with key officials, data custodians and analysts of existing routine datasets in order to build a comprehensive data picture of death, dying and bereavement in Ireland
  • Developing reports, digests, infographics and other communications of relevant research and findings
  • Liaising with the All Ireland Institute for Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) and the broader research sector in order to ensure that current research can inform the work of the organisation
  • Securing, in partnership with the IHF fundraising team, external financial support for projects with a knowledge or research component

Supporting the organisation

  • Representing the IHF in interactions with our collaborators, allied agencies, funders, public representatives and relevant state and voluntary agencies
  • Supporting the work of the Board of the IHF through the Policy Committee
  • Playing a full role as a member of the SMT in delivering overall strategic and operational leadership of the organisation
  • Supporting, with research and knowledge input, the CEO and SMT as key spokespersons for the IHF
  • Working with SMT to maximise the impact from its network of stakeholder contacts at a strategic and operational level
  • Reporting on knowledge and research matters to the Board of the IHF as required, providing written reports and information as necessary
  • Taking overall responsibility for management of departmental budget

Managing staff and other duties

  • Managing any staff or contractors appointed related to this area (currently the Advocacy Manager)
  • Providing technical assistance, training and coordination to staff commissioning or devising projects with a research element
  • Conducting or overseeing appropriate research as required, convening advisory groups and policy committees
  • Carrying out other roles or duties as are within the scope, spirit and purpose of the post, as requested by the CEO



  • Third-level qualification in a relevant discipline, ideally at Masters level or above
  • Track record in translating research into policy and/or practice
  • Ability to relate research and research methodologies to the strategic needs of the organisation and the broader policy environment
  • Experience of data analysis, data management or commissioning data-dependent projects
  • Staff management skills and experience of managing and developing a team as well as working collaboratively across an organisation
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in order to engage with both specialist and general stakeholders
  • Confident, effective decision-making with strong analytical skills
  • Experience of engaging in or applying for multi-partner projects, e.g. European projects


  • Experience in the management of both research and public affairs
  • Strong reputation in the field of health or social research
  • Strong diplomatic and negotiation skills
  • Strategic outlook on the future of the organisation

Personal attributes

Ideally, the successful applicant will have the following attributes:

  • Committed to the vision and mission of the organisation
  • Resilient and robust with a positive outlook
  • Capable of managing uncertainty with an ability to be agile
  • Energetic with a high degree of personal drive and initiative


The salary scale for the post will be commensurate with experience and will reflect the senior management position within the organisation.

Application procedure:

• Applications should be submitted, by 5.00pm on Friday 4th May, by post to:

Head of Research, Knowledge & Policy Post
c/o Mary Cleary
Irish Hospice Foundation
Morrison Chambers (4th Floor)
32 Nassau Street
Dublin 2
D02 YE06

Or via email to Mary Cleary, and titled Head of Research, Knowledge & Policy Post. Any electronic documents should be saved as PDFs. As late applicants will not be accepted, candidates are advised to email early to avoid any unforeseen technical difficulties.

• Each applicant should submit a covering letter outlining the reasons why they believe they are suitable for this role along with a CV, outlining relevant experience. The letter plus the CV together should not exceed five A4 pages in total. Applicants will be short-listed on the basis of information supplied.

• Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. Should the person recommended for appointment decline, or having accepted it, relinquish it or if an additional vacancy arises IHF may, at its discretion, select and recommend another person for appointment on the results of this selection process.