Applied Behavioural and Social Scientists Ref. 2677

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Specialist Roles
Cheltenham, Manchester
Full-time and part-time opportunities (flexible working hours available)
£37,639- £55,873 (Dependant on skills and experience)

About Us

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are the UK’s Intelligence Services. We work together to safeguard Britain’s people, interests and businesses from various threats at home, overseas and online, including cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime. Working across our vital missions, you’ll deliver impact at the heart of national security, all within a supportive and inclusive environment that allows everyone to thrive. 


The Role

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are looking for Behavioural and Social Scientists to join a growing community of experts delivering rigorous advice, training and research in support of the UK’s national security requirements. These varied roles offer a unique opportunity to apply behavioural and social science expertise to a mixture of short and long-term challenges in a dynamic setting where you can have real impact.  

You will join an established, diverse and supportive team providing timely support to intelligence operations and corporate objectives, conducting and commissioning high quality research projects and delivering behavioural science-based training. This will be done in partnership with colleagues across the UK’s intelligence community.  


You will have the opportunity to lead specific areas of Behavioural and/or Social Science engagement within our organisations, and to work with partners in academia and across government to shape how the UK identifies and responds to some of its most pressing security concerns. 


Depending on your prior experience, you may be offered line management opportunities within your field of expertise. There will also be occasional UK and international travel opportunities on a voluntary basis. 


About You

You will have a post graduate degree from one of a broad range of behavioural and social science disciplines*, as well as experience of working in an applied, research or professional training delivery setting.  

For example, you may have been applying your behavioural or social science expertise to advise private and/or public sector customers on how to achieve evidence-based behaviour change via effective messaging campaigns. Alternatively, you may have been working in an academic role developing high quality, impactful and applied behavioural or social science research. Or maybe you have been responsible for delivering bespoke training to a range of customers interested in applying behavioural or social science thinking within their organisation. 

Whatever your behavioural and social science background, you will enjoy applying theories, findings and research methods to real-world challenges and explaining their relevance to a range of different customers within our intelligence communities.  

You will enjoy working as part of a team, engaging with a varied customer base and holding responsibility to develop and shape your own role in the organisation. You will be passionate about the pursuit of ethical working, scientific excellence and professional standards and will enjoy testing these principles in a dynamic workplace. Your communication skills will help you build relationships and identifying opportunities to test new mechanisms and processes to solve complex and shifting challenges, communicating them to both experts and non-specialists. 

(*For example, but not limited to, branches of: Social Anthropology, Sociology, Cognitive Science, Psychology, Behavioural Economics, Behavioural Analytics, cyber psychology, political science, clinical psychology, forensic psychology etc.) 

Training and Development

Continuous professional development is important to us, and you will have the opportunity to attend training courses to help you develop skills and qualifications that meet your needs while developing your knowledge of working in this particular setting.   

There will be future opportunities for promotion within this specialism, as well as the potential to apply for roles in other parts of the organisation or elsewhere within the intelligence community. 

As well as attending a short induction into the organisation you may join, you will also have an informal induction into your team as well as a buddy/mentor to help you settle in, get to know your colleagues and find your feet in your new role, all within a supportive environment.   

Rewards and Benefits

You’ll receive a starting salary of £37,639 - £55,873 (depending on skills and experience) plus other benefits including:  

  • 25 Days Annual Leave automatically rising to 30 days after 5 years' service, and an additional 10.5 days public and privilege holidays
  • Opportunities to be recognised through our employee performance scheme
  • Interest-free season ticket loan
  • Excellent pension scheme
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Facilities such as a gym, restaurant and on-site coffee bars (at some locations)
  • Paid parental and adoption leave. 

Equal Opportunities

At MI5, MI6 and GCHQ diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission. To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve. This includes diversity in every sense of the word: those with different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce such as women, those from an ethnic minority background, people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds. 

Find out more about our culture, working environment and diversity on our website: 

We’re Disability Confident 


MI5, MI6 and GCHQ are proud to have achieved Leader status within the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme.  This is aimed at encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people. Being Disability Confident, we aim to offer a person-to-person interview to any candidate who self-identifies as disabled and meets the essential criteria for the role.  This is our ‘Offer of Interview’ (OOI). To secure an interview for this vacancy, the essential criteria (in order of application process) are:  

  • A relevant undergraduate degree in a behavioural or social science discipline PLUS a relevant post-graduate degree
  • Experience of working in an applied, research or professional training delivery setting
  • Passing the application sift carried out by the Hiring Manager

What to Expect

Our recruitment process is fair, transparent, and based on merit. Here is a brief overview of each stage, in order: 

  • Initial application
  • Full application
  • Application sift, looking at your motivation for the role and the organisation
  • Assessment centre, including a presentation and technical and competency-based interview

If successful you will receive a conditional offer of employment, subject to vetting


Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process to progress to the next. Your application may take around 6 - 9 months to process including vetting, so we advise you continue any current employment until you have received your final job offer. 

Before You Apply

To work at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, you need to be a British citizen or hold dual British nationality. You can read our full eligibility criteria here.

This role requires the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community undertakes. You can find out more about the vetting process here.

Please note we have a strict drugs policy, so once you start your application, you can’t take any recreational drugs and you’ll need to declare your previous drug usage at the relevant stage. 


For MI5 and MI6 the role is based in London, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application. An interest-free loan via our benevolent fund is available to assist with relocating into privately rented accommodation to take up the offer of employment.  To apply via this organisation click here.

For GCHQ, the role is based in Cheltenham/Manchester, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application, as we do not offer relocation costs. 

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 launch an application. Applying from outside the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member.  

Right to Withdraw Statement:  

Please be aware that we withhold the right to bring forward the closing date for this role from the original closing date once a certain number of applications have been received

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.