Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

Closing date: 28 Nov 2017

Reference number



£26,805 - £31,103


Higher Executive Officer

Contract type


Business area


Type of role

Environment and Sustainability

Working pattern

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



Number of posts



Weymouth, South West

About the job

Job description

To work in the Epidemiology and Risk (E&R) Team of the science directorate within the area of food security, providing technical support to current and future research programmes. The E&R team undertake research and provide advice in support of Defra’s aquatic animal health and invasive species policy, and participate in EU funded research and other collaborations. Their research centres on the use of risk assessment, economic, statistical and computational modelling approaches to provide advice to help prevent, manage and control invasive species, and, animal and human health issues associated with aquatic systems. This work depends largely on desk based and modelling studies that require extraction, compilation and analysis of data from national and in-house databases, scientific and grey literature, but also require field and laboratory based studies to inform computational and economic models.

The jobholder will provide technical support to the epidemiological and risk research programmes. Their core role will be to conduct and inform studies to understand and model the risk and impact of invasive species and aquatic animal disease introduction, establishment and spread. The E&R team use a variety of computational models (statistical, GIS, mathematical) to help provide advice to its customers in support of their policy decision making. The job holder will be expected to provide biological advice and conduct field, laboratory and desk based studies to help inform and develop these models. Consequently, they will be expected to have a sound understanding of aquatic systems and species relevant to UK aquaculture and fisheries, and be able to undertake a range of data handling, geographic information systems and field based activities. The team also makes extensive use of existing databases which the jobholder will be expected to interrogate, and extract information for ad hoc studies. The role will also include the use of abstract and literature database searches to support epidemiological studies, undertaking systematic literature reviews and compiling reference libraries. Opportunities exist to perform statistical analyses and economic, computational and spatial modelling.

Duties will include:
• Desk, field and laboratory based research
• Liaison with external agencies and organisation of field sampling and survey work
• Provision of advice relating to the ecology of species relevant to UK aquaculture and fisheries.
• Literature searches and desk based studies
• Contributing to the development and application of epidemiological tools.
• Working across Cefas with other teams, and externally to derive the data required by epidemiological studies.
• Responsibility for database management, data extraction, entry and mining.
• Data compilation and basic analysis from national and local databases.
• Input into grant applications and publications.
• The application of a broad range of modelling approaches.

Essential Skills:
• Must be flexible and committed, with the ability to work as part of a team, but also independently to organise own work to meet deadlines.
• Candidates require good communication skills, excellent time management and must demonstrate excellent attention to detail and the ability to work on multiple projects at the same time.
• Must be highly computer literate and competent in setting up and using spreadsheets and databases.
• Experience in handling and manipulating large datasets.
• Some experience in using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
• A sound understanding of marine and aquatic biological systems

The following skills are also desirable:
• A working knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL).
• Knowledge of risk assessment, aquaculture and aquatic systems.
• Statistical experience.
• Knowledge of aquatic invasive species
• Economic modelling/accounting
• Knowledge of UK aquaculture industry

Person specification

Please show how your skills and experience match those outlined in the job description


Academic qualifications required for direct entry to this post are a degree or equivalent and relevant work experience. A PhD in a relevant field of research is desirable.


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

  • Collaborating and partnering
  • Making effective decisions
  • Seeing the big picture
  • Delivering at pace
  • Science and Engineering - Securing, Maintaining and Developing Relevant Technical Expertise
  • Science and Engineering - Applying Scientific and Technical Knowledge

Civil Service Competency Framework



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must pass basic security checks.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

Please ensure you upload an anonymised CV to support your application.
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.


Candidates in their probationary period are eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.

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 equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants or

Sift/interview dates and location

Interviews will be held at Cefas Laboratory, The Nothe, Barrack Road, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 8UB

Interview date to be confirmed

Cefas is unable to contribute to interview expenses

Further information

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 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 or if you have a hearing impairment, a Language Service Professional

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