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Deputy Chief Scientific Officer

Posted: 29 Oct 2019 Closes: 17 Nov 2019
London £68,000
Permanent & Full-time defra/20191029171129

Please see the candidate pack here

Why join Defra?

Play your part as a scientific leader working across analytical disciplines and with ministers and senior leaders in creating new and more effective policies in key areas, such as agriculture and food, climate adaptation, land use, biosecurity, and the environment.

From water quality to waste disposal, beautiful countryside to the food on our plate, what we do in the Defra group matters to everyone in the country. Our strategy, Creating a great place for living, describes our goals. It sets out our twin ambitions: to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it; and to make a resounding success of our world-leading food, farming and fisheries industries.

This agenda is strongly based on sound evidence and innovation from research, monitoring, surveys and data collection, analysis and expert advice. We are seeking a Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser to support the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA), Professor Gideon Henderson, in leading Defra’s science and engineering professions, lead Defra’s partnerships with the external scientific community nationally and internationally and provide scientific advice to our ministers and the Defra Group leadership team.

This is a particularly exciting time for science in the Defra group, as leaving the European Union will impact the Defra group perhaps more than any other government department. A key priority is to make a success of our exit from the EU – there are many opportunities and challenges, and we are determined to make sure we use these as a catalyst to transform how and what we deliver. We have a chance to create new and more effective policies in key areas, such as agriculture and fisheries, the environment, and food and drink. To do this will we need a leader who can work across the analytical disciplines and with senior teams, to ensure robust, joined-up evidence and innovation is at the core of decisions within the Defra group. The Deputy CSA role leads on matters relating to EU Exit for Defra science.

Please see the candidate pack regarding the job description.


Please see the candidate pack.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Leadership
  • Making Effective Decisions



• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is developed vetting.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths and Experience.

Please see the candidate pack.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

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