Data Scientist (HEO)

UK Health Security Agency

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 23rd January 2022


Reference number



£28,588 - £39,691
External candidates will start on the band minimum


Higher Executive Officer

Contract type


Type of role

Architecture and Data

Working pattern

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

Number of posts




About the job


COVID-19 has reinforced the impact that threats to health can have on society and the economy and driven health security as a critical component of our national security architecture. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is a system leader for health security taking action internationally to strengthen global health security, providing trusted advice to government and the public and reducing inequalities in the way different communities experience and are impacted by infectious disease, environmental hazards, and other threats to health .UKHSA’s remit, as an agency with a global-to-local reach, is to protect the health of the nation from infectious diseases and other external threats to health. As the nation’s expert national health security agency UKHSA will:
Prevent: anticipate threats to health and help build the nation’s readiness, defences and health security
Detect: use cutting edge environmental and biological surveillance to proactively detect and monitor infectious diseases and threats to health
Analyse: use world-class science and data analytics to assess and continually monitor threats to health, identifying how best to control and mitigate the risks
Respond: take rapid, collaborative and effective actions nationally and locally to mitigate threats to health when they materialise
Lead: lead strong and sustainable global, national, regional and local partnerships designed to save lives, protect the nation from public health threats, and reduce inequalities

Job description

As a data scientist in UKHSA you will work with other experts (epidemiologists, economists and public health experts) to use data to help solve health problems. You will work within a cross functional team of epidemiologists, economists and other data specialists to tackle complex health problems. You will need to apply data science techniques to solve complex problems, develop and validate solutions and communicate your results with senior stakeholders in a convincing manner

As a data scientist within the UKHSA you will be expected to support work on projects that :

• Provide analysis and assessment to Covid-19 outbreaks;
• Set the COVID-19 Alert level;
• Perform hypothesis testing and analysis to understand the effectiveness of the Test and Trace system and other types of intervention;
• Create live dashboards to present data and analysis, including performance monitoring for Test and Trace or indicating changes in infection rates across the UK;
• Work with partners to calculate the R number
• Develop mathematical and epidemiological models which simulate the spread of infectious diseases
• Forecast and assess the effectiveness of policy interventions in reducing the spread of infectious diseases


• Programming and build (data science). You will use programming and applied statistics to solve analytical problems. Your work is reproducible and understandable by others by using software tools such as version control and you implement best practice such as peer review, code tests and modular code
• Data engineering and manipulation You will work with data engineers, data analysts and health experts to define, consume and test data products including making transformations or joins in data to answer analytical questions. You understand and can make use of different data engineering tools for reproducible data processing.
• Domain expertise You will apply data science techniques to analyse, present and communicate health problems in conjunction with other specialists. You are open to learning more about the health domain from other experts. You can develop the most appropriate medium to visualise data to communicate complex patterns clearly.
• Data science innovation. You will identify new and innovative approaches to answer difficult health problems. You demonstrate strong intellectual curiosity with an interdisciplinary approach
• Developing data science capability You continuously develop data science knowledge, using multiple sources. You share data science practices, promoting professional development and use of best practice across all capabilities identified for data scientists. You will help upskill your peers and other experts in relevant technologies and tools so that we can deal with health challenges

Essential Skills / Experience / Knowledge

• Understanding and experience in applying statistics and data science techniques to real world problems
• Experience with Python and/or R for Data Science including the core scientific Python stack (pandas, NumPy, matplotlib etc) and/or R stack (ggplot2, tidyverse etc) for data science and visualisation
• Ability to work at pace to deadlines across multiple projects
• Ability to effectively communicate the results of analysis to senior stakeholders and decision makers

Desirable Skills / Experience / Knowledge:

• Experience working in Agile teams and use of software management tools such as JIRA or Azure DevOps
• Experience with cloud-based platforms (we use AWS and Azure)
• Experience with SQL Databases and ability to write efficient queries
• Experience with computational statistics tools and / or Machine Learning frameworks such as PyTorch and TensorFlow
• Exposure to graph analytics tools (we use NetworkX and GraphX)
• Exposure to Dashboarding tools (ideally PowerBI or Qlik)
• Experience automating build of MS PowerPoint slide decks


Candidates must have at least one of the below:

• A first or second class honours degree in a numerate discipline, computer science or IT equivalent which demonstrates core statistical skills;
• A higher degree, e.g. an MSc or PhD, in Data Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics (this is not a definitive list);
• Have worked in a statistical/data science field and are able to demonstrate continuous professional development in statistics/data science at the same level as a foundation degree/HND (Level 5)


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

  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace

Technical skills

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

  • Programming and build (understanding analysis across the product life cycle)
  • Applied maths, statistics, and scientific practices/data engineering and manipulation
  • Data science innovation/developing data science capability


• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

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 Technical skills.
• This vacancy uses Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.
• At application stage candidates will be assessed on a CV and 500 word personal statement outlining how they meet the essential criteria for this role
• The final stage of the assessment process will be an interview where the behaviours and technical skills will be assessed in a blended approach
• A technical test will be sent out 1 hour before the interview which will assess technical skills, further instructions will be shared with candidates in advance of the interview
• Candidates will be invited to complete a survey post the interview process to provide feedback on the process so that it can be improved for the future


This role will be home-based with travel to DHSC office in London OR other NHS Test & Trace/ UK Health Security Agency sites/offices as required. Please note, the department may change the place of work to any place within reasonable travelling distance of your home address if there is a business need to do so. This may result in some roles being performed from a regional office. This should be considered when applying for this role. Your salary will be based on your home address and the relevant pay scales under department pay policy. National pay rates will apply to those employees whose permanent place of work is outside of the 40-mile radius of the M25.

Other Information

• New entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band
• Existing Civil Servants joining the department on level transfer will move on their current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive 10% increase

Security Clearance

Successful Candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

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

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