Environmental Social Scientist

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

Apply before 11:55 pm on Monday 7th February 2022


Reference number



£35,895 - £41,660


Senior Executive Officer
Cefas Payband 6

Contract type


Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of posts



We welcome flexible working and are open to a hybrid approach of working from home and in an office. The location for this role is also flexible, though some travel to Cefas sites, in particular the Lowestoft site will be required. Please be aware that this role will be contractually based at one of the Cefas sites. The successful candidate is required to carry out all their duties from a UK location, and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time unless travelling for business purposes.

About the job


Within this post, you will provide technical support to develop and expand Cefas’ growing socio-economic capability whilst contributing research to a growing portfolio of UK and international programmes. Specifically, you will be required to: lead research and advice on marine and fisheries social sciences and governance both in the UK and overseas. This will include: studying interactions between people and the Ocean with regard to marine policy and spatial planning, natural capital and ecosystem services, sustainable use and management of natural resources, and conservation; collect, use and analyse qualitative (e.g. non-monetary values), and possibly quantitative, socio-economic data on human behaviour, including network analysis, ensuring high data quality and recording standards; design, lead and facilitate workshops and interviews in the UK or overseas (face to face or virtually) with a range of actors and stakeholders (including the public and policy makers) and/or experts; facilitate ocean learning and sustainable development engaging with appropriate stakeholders; communicate your work in writing through reports and peer-reviewed papers in high impact factor journals, and orally with presentations at relevant conferences and/or workshops.

Job description

Main duties and responsibilities for this post include:

• Leading research to improve our understanding of the interactions between people and the Ocean including the collection, extraction, compilation, and analysis of qualitative and quantitative socio-economic data in the UK and overseas;
• Leading, reviewing and supervising qualitative design studies (e.g. non-monetary values; network analysis) in the Social and Economic Assessment team, and provide relevant support across Cefas;
• Lead, contribute to and supervise the development and facilitation of workshops and interviews with a range of actors (from the public to policy makers, as well as topic experts) in an interdisciplinary setting working with Cefas’ natural and social scientists in the UK and overseas;
• Seeking new business opportunities and writing research proposals for future grant applications within Cefas and with broader national and international consortia, including academia; and
• Communicating science/research outcomes to a range of stakeholders using a variety of media (incl. peer-reviewed scientific publications, presentations, briefings etc.).


The following are essential criteria required for this role and you must be able to demonstrate your skills and experience in the following areas:

• Strong environmental social sciences background (translating theory to applications of human behaviour and governance);
• Relevant theoretical and applied research experience in environmental social sciences, especially with regard to the marine environment;
• Being flexible, able to work on multiple projects at the same time and to adapt to various activities and committed, with the ability to work as part of a team, but also independently to organise own work to meet deadlines;
• Excellent communication skills verbally and written;
• Previous experience leading the publication of peer-reviewed papers;
• Demonstrates having excellent time management skills.

Academic qualification required for this Cefas Pay Band 6 post is a postgraduate degree in environmental social sciences or related fields of work. However, relevant work experience will be considered.


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

  • Developing Self and Others
  • Delivering at Pace
  • Making Effective Decisions

Technical skills

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

  • Capability to lead and advise on a range of qualitative data analysis including content and narrative analysis; thematic analysis; and network analysis.
  • Competence in developing and facilitating workshops and interviews with a range of actors (from the public to policy makers) face to face and virtually, and analysing the results for marine governance and policy, including spatial planning.


• Annual leave entitlement – 25 days on entry (rising to 30 days over first 5yrs)
• Access to learning and development tailored to your role
• A working environment that supports a range of flexible working options
• A working culture which encourages inclusion and diversity
• Eligible to join the Civil Service Pension scheme. Very favourable package, contributions are more than matched by employer – more information can be found on the CSP website http://www.civilservicepensionscheme.org.uk/
• Performance Related Pay scheme – yearly award linked to individual performance
• Staff Recognition vouchers
• In-year recognition scheme (monetary amounts up to max £2000 possible)

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, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.
Application Process
As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a CV, 3 x 250 word behaviour and 2 x 250 word technical statements.
Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead behaviour, Developing Self and Others. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

Sift and interview dates are to be confirmed. The interviews will be held either via a video link or in person. The interview schedule will be confirmed following sift results.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview.

If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on experience, behaviours, technical skills and strengths.

If scores are equal following interview, an assessment of the lead behaviour, Developing Self and Others will be used by the panel.

You may also be required to give a presentation, complete a short test or provide a case study. You will receive further information to prepare for this if you are invited to interview.

The interview will be undertaken either in person or via Microsoft Teams.

Reserve List
A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.

New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band.

Reasonable Adjustment
If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

- Contact Government Recruitment Service via defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.
- Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

Criminal Record Check
If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check maybe carried out.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstances some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing Pre-EmploymentChecks.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk stating the job reference number in the subject heading .

Internal Fraud Database Check
Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5 year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

Childcare Vouchers
Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at here

We are closely monitoring the situation with regard to Coronavirus, and will be following central Government advice as it is issued. There is therefore a risk that recruitment to this post may be subject to change at short notice. Please continue to follow the application process as normal and ensure that you check your emails regularly for any updates from us as this is how we will communicate with you.

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 settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of 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 :  Mandy Roberts or Alec Wilson
Email :  careers@cefas.co.uk
Recruitment team :
Email :  defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Further information

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Government Recruitment Services via email: defrarecruitment.grs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission

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