Chief Scientific Adviser

London (Greater) (GB), Leeds, Birmingham
is SCS Pay Band 2
Tuesday, 17 November 2020
End of advertisement period
Monday, 14 December 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Four-year Fixed Term appointment with the possibility of extension. Secondments will also be considered.

London, Birmingham or Leeds. Frequent travel to other sites will be required and occasional international travel.

The Department for Transport (DfT) looks after some of the biggest issues facing Government today; from dealing with the UK’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation to making sure our towns and cities are ready for self-driving vehicles, and responding to the challenges that the Covid-19 emergency has brought. We plan and invest in transport infrastructure to keep people and things connected, while looking for new ways to boost economic growth through safe, secure and sustainable transport, particularly focusing on the challenge of decarbonising the transport system. 

The challenges the Department faces are significant and can change rapidly in the global environment in which we operate and the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of scientific advice to our work. DfT will play a key role in delivering against the government’s net zero carbon target, in ambitions to ‘level-up’ the UK and getting the UK’s economy moving again. At the same time, it is widely acknowledged that transport is undergoing a period of rapid, transformative change, resulting from automation, electromobility, digital connectivity and data, rapidly changing consumer demands and the imperative for rapid action on carbon. To respond to this exciting but challenging agenda it is essential that DfT has the knowledge, skills and agility to lead and ensure the success against DfT’s priority outcomes.  

The DfT is seeking an exceptional Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to lead on the use of scientific advice to ensure that DfT’s policies, operations, and contribution to wider Government issues are informed by fit-for-purpose science, social science, technology and engineering evidence, analysis and advice. As a Director in the Senior Civil Service (SCS Pay Band 2), the Chief Scientific Adviser occupies one of the most senior and influential positions within DfT, with the post holder directly accountable to Ministers and to the Permanent Secretary. The CSA is responsible for the development and delivery of the DfT Science Plan, they sit on the Executive Committee and Strategy Committee and should work closely with Directors General, the Chief Analyst and heads of the analytical professions, and Directors across DfT and beyond to ensure science is at the foundation of the government’s thinking around transport. As well as joining DfT as the CSA the appointed individual will become part of Patrick Vallance’s Chief Scientific Adviser network and will play a critical role as part of this wider leadership team. 

The CSA will be a distinguished scientist or engineer from either academia or industry. They will bring deep knowledge and be able to work fluently across a range of sciences. Knowledge, and an ability to convene respected authoritative groups, and personal standing in the scientific world are key. It is essential that the successful candidate can provide constructive challenge at the most senior and strategic level.  

Saxton Bampfylde Ltd is acting as an employment agency advisor to the Department for Transport (DfT) on this appointment. For further information about the role, including details about how to apply, please visit using reference OAMAJA. Alternatively telephone +44 (0)20 7227 0880 (during office hours). Applications should be received by noon on Monday 14 December.