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Defra secretary Michael Gove is looking for “orthodoxy-questioning free-thinkers” to help shape the UK’s post-Brexit agricultural policy.

A Defra advertisement on the government’s Civil Service Jobs website encourages applications from would-be policy advisers willing to “challenge received wisdom”.

Ministers are “looking for talented, imaginative, free-thinking and orthodoxy-questioning advisers to help shape and implement policy for life after the UK leaves the EU,” it says.

See also: Soil ‘at heart’ of post-Brexit farm policy

The advert says Defra is the department most affected by the UK’s departure from the EU, so there are many exciting opportunities to develop new and fresh approaches to policies.

These policies affect the lives of everyone, it adds – “including the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe and our treasured countryside and landscapes”.

Job details

Eight jobs are on offer: two senior policy advisers with salaries from £65,000; and six policy advisers with salaries ranging from £59,590 to £70,310.

All appointments are a time-limited period of up to two years and offer candidates the ability to shape a specific policy area.

“The single most important quality we are looking for is a determination to use this ‘unfrozen moment’ to leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it,” the advert says.

“Whether you are coming from industry, a think tank, another government department, an NGO or a different sector altogether, we want to hear from you.”

The advert says successful candidates will provide policy advice directly to Mr Gove, have involvement with experienced policy professionals and an opportunity to shape the future.

Received wisdom

“We want free thinkers ready to challenge received wisdom and who can argue with passion and authority,” it adds.

Senior policy advisers will be expected to act autonomously in terms of defining their work and the issues they look at, says the advert.

“You will act as a role model to others, and will be routinely interacting with those operating at the top levels of government, as well as influential figures far beyond Whitehall.”

Policy advisers will have a large degree of freedom to define and shape what they work on, with some work coming directly from ministers, who may ask them to look at a particular issue.

“Sometimes, your view will be sought from colleagues across the department, who are working on policy or delivery priorities,” explains the advert.

“You will also be encouraged to initiate projects on areas of your own interest, to spot opportunities and introduce new ideas.”

Applications close on 22-23 November.