Chief Scientific Adviser Ref. 169

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Technology Roles
Salary from £97,533, depending on skills and experience (pro rata) 4 Days

The Security Service (MI5) and MI6 help keep the UK safe by investigating and disrupting threats to our national security.

This is a unique opportunity to help understand, shape and explore the emerging science and technology (S&T) landscape in order to reduce technology risks and enable new capabilities to be developed, to ensure that MI5 and MI6 are ready to meet the S&T challenges of the future.

The role

Reporting to both MI5 and MI6 Main and Executive Boards, you will chair the Science, Research and Innovation Investment Board and be responsible for directing the work of the Science, Research and Innovation and Behavioural Science teams. This involves working in partnership with scientists and engineers in MI5, MI6, GCHQ, other government departments, international partners, industry and academia at the most senior levels.

You will be an exemplar of professionalism across the security and intelligence agencies (SIA), striving for excellence and enabling the provision of relevant and high-quality science, research and innovation to meet the future capability needs of MI5 and MI6. The breadth of activities covers the physical, natural, information and social sciences.

You will be responsible for

Providing strategic leadership for the formulation and delivery of MI5 and MI6’s Science Strategy as part of the wider corporate and SIA strategy ensuring that science is informing, influencing and enabling the strategic direction of MI5 and MI6’s present and future capabilities.

Representing science, research and innovation issues at board level in both organisations and playing an active role across government and the wider Chief Scientific Adviser network. In particular, this involves working closely with the Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Mark Walport.

Providing direction and oversight to the joint Science, Research and Innovation team and Behavioural Science teams.

Delivering significant joint investment seeking new approaches for collaboration, innovation and exploitation to meet MI5 and MI6’s medium and long term objectives while delivering value for money and challenging and developing new business delivery and exploitation models.

Championing the science and engineering community, providing leadership for science and engineering careers and facilitating a broad range of science and engineering communication and education across the breadth of the SIA.

Directing MI5 and MI6’s science and innovation relationship within the wider SIA, other government departments, international partners, research funders, academia and commercial organisations in order to deliver key MI5 and MI6 objectives.

Leading and influencing a wide range of internal Leadership and Investment Boards, other cross government strategic research groups and national and international strategic teams.

Managing a significant investment budget and a team of approximately 50 staff.


Skills and Experience

You will have an acknowledged international profile through academia, government or industry (typically at FRS/FREng level for example) in areas of science and engineering relevant to the mission of MI5 and MI6. A specialism in tech, cyber and data fields is also desirable.

You will have a mature understanding of the strategic issues for science and engineering in academia, government and industry.

You will have demonstrable abilities to build, deliver and exploit multidisciplinary programmes of research and innovation across broad groups of stakeholders both nationally and internationally.

Before you apply

The role is based in central London. Please note, we do not cover relocation costs.

Honesty and integrity are crucial if you want to work for MI5 and MI6. Giving misleading information or omitting or concealing information during the recruitment process is viewed very seriously. You should ensure that you follow our guidance from when you apply.

Recruitment Process

The recruitment process for this role is outlined below:

Eligibility Questions- you will answer a number of questions based on the requirements for this role.

Application form and CV submission – you will create a personal account where you will complete our application form and upload your CV.

Face-to-Face Interview – this interview will take place at Thames House, MI5’s headquarters in central London.

Final Selection Board – this interview will take place in Thames House.

Security Interview – this interview will take place at Thames House. This is an important part of the selection process and is not a competency or capability based interview – it is an interview to explore your life and experiences.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

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

To secure an interview for this vacancy, the minimum criteria are:

Eligibility Questions – we must be satisfied that you meet the eligibility criteria.

Application form and CV – along with the standard eligibility requirements for this post, your application will be assessed on how far you meet the requirements for the role.

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.

Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for nine out of the last ten years prior to application. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. You will nonetheless be considered if you have, for example, served overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of Her Majesty’s Government or studied abroad.

Due to vetting requirements you will need to be 21 years old, or above, to apply. Your application may take around 6 months to process.

Discretion is vital to working in MI5 and MI6, so please only discuss this application with your partner and/or immediate family.  

Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to apply. Applying from outside the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.