Explosive Chemist Physical Security Specialist Ref. 1656

IT, Science & Technical
Central London (with a requirement to travel in the UK and occasionally abroad)
£42,654 - £46,021 (depending on relevant skills and experience)
This is a unique opportunity to be part of a collaborative team within the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), which focuses on Novel and Improvised Materials Characterisation.

The CPNI provides physical and personnel security advice to the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), and other nationally important assets and events, on safeguarding against malicious threats; such as terrorism or espionage.

You will support the delivery of an extensive research and development programme on the characterisation of Home Made Explosives (HMEs) and precursor chemicals. You will also be required to contribute to the delivery of credible, threat driven advice and training to CPNI advisors across the UK intelligence community and to the UK’s first responder network; ensuring that we are able to respond effectively to new and emerging threats.
Strong verbal communication skills will enable you to understand the requirements and concerns of a wide range of partners collaborating across government and internationally. Your written communication skills and eye for detail will be key in the drafting and reviewing of briefings and assessments. You will have the ability to communicate complex technical messages effectively to audiences from both technical and non-technical backgrounds.

The key responsibilities for the role are:

•    Support delivery of the research and development programme aimed at understanding the properties and behaviours of Home Made Explosives (HMEs) and novel materials.

•    Take responsibility for driving projects forward by regularly engaging with stakeholders and customers, peer-reviewing technical outputs, preparing documentation, and managing budgets.

•    Provide tailored briefings and assessments on all aspects of HME and precursor research in response to technical enquiries from internal and external partners, to ensure the UK can effectively respond to new and emerging threats.

•    Provide technical advice in support of Government initiatives and research aimed at reducing accessibility of precursors.

•    Promote awareness and provide advice on HMEs and precursors across UK government e.g. delivering training packages aimed at enhancing skills and knowledge amongst end users such as police, military and other first responders where necessary.

•    Provide support to, and attend where appropriate, several working groups and meetings.

•    Work with international partners to maximise opportunities for collaboration.

Qualifications and Experience

It is essential to have excellent communication and written skills, a strong background in Chemistry or a related science and the technical knowledge of HME materials, precursor chemicals and energetic properties.

Sound analytical skills are essential as you will analyse information and consider a problem in context to reach balanced, evidence-based assessments. You’ll need to respond well under pressure, multi-tasking and making quick, informed decisions; but you’ll also know when to escalate. You’ll be self-motivated, whilst being equally comfortable and effective working as part of a team.

The ability to build strong working relationships with a range of suppliers, stakeholders and customers is vital, to understand their requirements and effectively respond to these in new and flexible ways. You will demonstrate a proven background in project management with successful delivery of research and development projects within time, budget and quality constraints. An understanding of Protective Security would also be beneficial.

Membership of a recognised Professional Institution is encouraged and will be supported as part of ongoing Continued Professional Development.

Training and Development

A wide range of learning and development opportunities are available and continued learning is encouraged to further develop skills and competencies.

Recruitment Process

The first thing we will ask you to do is complete our pre-screening questions to find out if you meet our initial criteria. If you do meet these criteria we will then ask you to begin an application.

You will need to create a log in and provide your full name, email address and a memorable password. Once you have successfully created a personal account, you will be required to complete an initial registration form, providing contact details and equal opportunities monitoring information.

You will then be invited to upload your CV and complete an online application form. Our recruitment team will conduct a sift of your application, and successful applicants will be invited to attend a competency based face to face interview to further explore your skills and motivation for the role. If you are successful at this stage, you will be required to attend a security interview with a vetting officer. You should read about the vetting process and satisfy yourself that you meet the criteria outlined in the vetting pages of the How to Apply section prior to submitting your application.

Giving misleading information or omitting or concealing information during the recruitment and vetting process is viewed very seriously. You should ensure that you follow our guidance from when you apply.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

As part of our commitment to the “Disability Confident” scheme we offer an interview to all candidates with a disability who meet our minimum criteria for the job vacancy that they are applying for. This is known as the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS).

Along with the standard eligibility requirements for this post, your application will be assessed on how far you meet the job requirements. Your application must score the minimum amount of points set. On successful completion of this stage, you will be invited to interview. This will normally be a telephone interview and is our guaranteed interview.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply, you must meet our residency criteria. You must be a born or naturalised British citizen and one of your parents must be a British citizen or have substantial ties to the UK.

MI5 is committed to reflecting both equal opportunities and the society we protect and particularly welcome applications from women and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates.

Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for nine out of the last ten years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. However, we will still consider you if you’ve served overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of Her Majesty’s Government, studied abroad, or lived overseas with your parents.

Due to vetting requirements, you will need to be 18 years old, or above, to apply. Your application may take around six months to process.


Owing to the sensitivity of our work, we do not publicly disclose the identities of our staff. Discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.