Strategic Research Team Leader

London, Cardiff, York or Birmingham
£51,300 - £55,300
29 Jul 2020
16 Aug 2020
Full Time
Contract Type

London, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham or York Site-based, Multi-Location or Home-enabled Occasional travel required     Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, new-starters will be required to work from home with no travel required. Once the situation changes the appointed candidate will revert back to their preferred working contract and be required to fulfil travel obligations.   

About the job


The FSA is a non-ministerial department of over 1300 people, with a big vision – to drive change in the food system so that it delivers “food we can trust” - as the country has now left the EU, the scale of this challenge cannot be underestimated. More than 90% of food and feed law in the UK currently comes from Europe and our primary goal is to continue to protect public health and UK consumers’ wider interest in food.

Safe food is essential to the health of everyone and plays a major role in the UK’s £113bn agri-food business; it’s largest industrial sector. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is the lead organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland responsible for ensuring food is safe and is what it claims to be.

The use of science has always been central to the Agency’s mission and is becoming increasingly critical as the UK looks to exit the EU. Our expert science, evidence and research underpins and supports the FSA’s work, including risk assessment, risk management and delivery processes for controls on food hygiene, animal feed, foodborne diseases.

The generation of independent, expert evidence is critical to us remaining a trusted regulator and within the FSA, the Science, Evidence and Research Directorate (SERD) has overall responsibility for delivering this. The Directorate’s mission is to provide expert risk assessment, and other scientific/socio-economic evidence and advice.
This is done through both a team of more than 90 science and socio-economic experts within SERD but also through engaging with external experts through our science committees, independent experts and our strategic and applied research programmes.

Job description

The postholder will lead the Strategic Research Team, working to ensure that FSA’s science connects to every part of FSA and externally delivering the biggest impact for the UK food system.

Science is at the heart of all FSA activities and the postholder will be responsible for developing, and overseeing the implementation of, the FSA’s research programme to ensure that FSA’s science connects to every part of FSA and externally, so that our science has impact, helping to identify, shape, deliver and evaluate our priorities and inform future strategies. This will be achieved by leading the strategic approach to the delivery of those priorities including developing existing relationships, identifying new partnerships to leverage additional resources and ensuring the coordinated delivery of ongoing FSA research programmes.


You will need to build effective networks and collaborations with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders at all levels on a wide range of issues including food hypersensitivity, assuring food safety and standards, innovation and the future of food systems.

The postholder will manage the Strategic Research Team with direct line-management of two Senior Scientists (SSO). There will likely also be secondees from the Science and Engineering Fast Stream and there is potential for the team to grow as our portfolio develops

As someone with pride and passion for public service, you’ll recognise the wider Civil Service priorities and always work in the national interest. You’ll seek out opportunities to create effective change and suggest innovative ideas for improvement. You’ll use evidence and knowledge to support accurate, expert decisions and advice. You’ll value difference, diversity and inclusion, ensuring fairness and opportunity for all.

Please read the attached Candidate Pack to discover further details about the role, our organisation, who we are looking for and the criteria we will assess against during the selection process. We look forward to receiving your application and wish you every success.


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

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Changing and Improving
  • Working Together
  • Managing a Quality Service

Technical skills

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

  • A degree or equivalent in a relevant science discipline.


Our candidate pack details the benefits that the FSA has to offer. Please also refer to the attached Terms and Conditions statement.

Things you need to know Security

Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Selection process details

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

Full details of the selection process are detailed in the attached candidate pack. This will consist of shortlisting against the essential and desirable person specification criteria stated. If successful at shortlisting stage, you will be invited to the final selection stage consisting of an experience/behaviours-based interview and presentation.

In the event of receiving a large number of applications an initial sift may take place on just the identified lead criteria indicated below:
• Demonstrable experience of developing science programmes and/or using science to shape and inform policy.

Please note detailed feedback is not given at sift stage.

We particularly welcome applications from black and minority ethnic candidates as they are under-represented within our organisation at this level. All appointments are made on merit.

We actively review the deployment of talent on a periodic basis in the interests of optimising personal development and the achievement of business plans.

Our candidate pack details the benefits that the FSA has to offer. Please also refer to the attached terms and conditions statement.

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 equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

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