Social Science Research officer

Food Standards Agency

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 20th June 2021


Reference number



£32,350 (London) £30,350 (National)


Higher Executive Officer
HSO (Higher Scientific Officer - equivalent to HEO Grade)

Contract type


Business area

FSA - Science, Evidence & Research - Analytics

Type of role

Communications / Marketing
Customer Insight
Market Research
Social Research

Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Homeworking, Job share, Compressed Hours

Number of posts



Multi-location from one of our FSA Offices (Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham, London or York), or home based in the UK. OCCASIONAL TRAVEL ACROSS ENGLAND, WALES AND NI EXPECTED – WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF OVERNIGHT STAYS. Please be aware that this role can only be worked within the UK and not overseas.

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”. Our primary goal is to continue to protect public health and consumers’ wider interest in food. As we have now exited the EU the FSA faces a significant period of change and activity.

Job description

The work that the FSA does is ostensibly about food, of course. But really, it’s about people. From our work on the frontlines of the food industry, to the wider policies that we champion and advise on, everything we do is guided by an ambition to serve the needs of the consumers and communities we work for.

Our Social Science team provides vital insight and guidance on how our work impacts, and is perceived by, the public, food businesses and others in the food chain. By understanding the social and economic realities that may guide - or themselves be guided by - the work that that FSA does, we are better able to make policy decisions that work for everyone.

We have 2 new Social Science Research Officer roles available, providing evidence-based insights across a wide range of future projects on the Social Science team. Each role will see the post-holder supporting senior researchers in varied and interesting projects, as well as having the opportunity to lead their own smaller projects. The work will help the FSA make vital policy decisions, and better understand the way those decisions will impact the lives of the public.

Projects worked on will vary greatly and may include: evaluating the impact of policy changes, helping policy colleagues assess options, understanding how citizens see the changing world of food, tracking and monitoring changes in attitudes and behaviour, or working on behaviour change interventions and trials. You will be at the centre of exciting and timely work that plays an important role in the FSA’s decision-making process.

The successful candidate will be strong communicator - working to share their findings in a digestible and accessible manner, whilst collaborating with both colleagues within the FSA and external stakeholders, including contracted researchers. Alongside project management and the collection and analysis of evidence, you’ll need to support the delivery of research contracts, and provide ad hoc analytical support to the Analytics Unit. Your work will promote the importance of using social science within the FSA, and in doing so will impact the policy decisions that the Agency makes and, by extension, the wellbeing of consumers across the UK.

If you are confident that you can manage these priorities whilst maintaining a quality service and delivering efficiently and effectively, do not hesitate to apply for the Social Science Research Officer roles today.


Please read the attached Candidate Pack to discover further details about these roles, 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:

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Making Effective Decisions


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


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 and Experience.
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 a 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:
Application of a range of quantitative and qualitative social research methods to projects

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.

A reserve list will be held for a period up to 12 months from which further appointment may be made.

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

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with (or eligible for) status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals
Further information on nationality requirements

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.

Apply and further information

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :
Name :  Lucy King
Email :
Recruitment team :
Email :

Further information

If you wish to raise a complaint then please email in the first instance.

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