Home Office seeks next chief scientific adviser

Chief scientist will also be director general for science, technology, analysis, research and strategy


Photo: David Pearson

The Home Office is offering up to £140,000 for its next chief scientific adviser, whose advice will inform the department’s approach as it manages the fallout from the coronavirus crisis and a major transformation programme.

The next chief scientist will also be a director general for science, technology, analysis, research and strategy to “help shape the Home Office’s strategy and inform policy making and operational decisions”, according to the job ad.

The job comes with management responsibility for “at least” three directorates totalling about 700 people.


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As well as leading on scientific advice informing the department’s strategy, policymaking and operational decisions, the successful candidate will therefore take on a “significant leadership and transformation challenge”, the job ad said.

They will be tasked with ensuring the department can access the scientific evidence it needs, and that it “thinks strategically about its future”.

Writing in the candidate pack, government chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: “This is an essential and varied role that cuts across the whole range of the department’s work, including national security, crime, immigration, the border and more.

“The successful candidate will have the opportunity to bring challenge and shape the way that science and technology is used to inform policy making in the department.”

The next CSA will be a “highly credible scientist of international renown in a relevant discipline, from academia, industry or other research environment”, the advert said. Their professional credibility and network will enable them not only to work with colleagues but also to call on external advice where specialist input is needed.

They must have “extensive” senior leadership experience that includes “developing a compelling organisational vision and providing direction for large, disparate teams”.

“Candidates will have the personal resilience to adapt and operate in an ambiguous, fast-changing and complex environment which is subject to regular scrutiny by the media, public and others,” the advert said.

They will succeed John Aston, a professor of statistics at the University of Cambridge, who will return to his academic post when his three-year term ends.

His successor will be hired on a three-year contract but loans or secondments will be considered.

They will earn between £111,500 and £140,000 and could be based in London, Croydon, Sheffield or Birmingham.

The job is only open to UK nationals, who must undergo a developed vetting process. Applications close on 19 July.

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