Behavioural Scientists x 2

Forestry Commission - Forest Research

Apply before 11:55 pm on Thursday 12th August 2021


Reference number



£27,235 - £29,577


Executive Officer
Pay Band 5

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment

2 x 3 Year Fixed Term Appointments

Business area

FR - Ecosystems, Society and Biosecurity

Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time

Number of posts



Bristol, Farnham, Roslin

About the job


Forest Research (FR) is the research agency of the Forestry Commission, and a world leader in applied forest science and a trusted and recognised provider of expertise, data, products and services for governments and the tree, wood, forest and natural resource sectors. Please explore to find out more information about our organisation. The post holder will be a member of the Social and Economic Research Group, within the Centre for Ecosystems, Society and Biosecurity (CESB) – one of three thematic centres within Forest Research. CESB focuses strongly on interdisciplinary research, using the mix of disciplines within FR to address some of the many complex social and environmental problems facing those concerned with Britain’s trees woods and forests.

The Social and Economic Research Group (SERG) is a busy dynamic group involved in a suite of projects that develop scientific understanding and practical advice on a range of social, cultural, governance and economic issues relating to the use, engagement and management of British trees and forests. The team currently comprises twelve social scientists, three economists and two statisticians. SERG researchers focus on four broad thematic work areas: 1) well-being and woodlands – including: research on the health benefits of woodlands, social and cultural value of trees and woods, motivations and benefits of volunteering, impacts of education and learning in forest environments, 2) land manager behaviors – including: research on land manager’s decision making for woodland creation and management, adaptation and resilience; the impacts of community woodlands and social enterprises; land manager engagement in policy and governance, 3) social dimensions of tree health– including research on: behaviors of public and stakeholders in tree and plant supply chains and pathways; acceptability of pest management measures; stakeholder perceptions of risks and resilience, 4) economics – including valuation of natural capital, cost benefit analysis, economics of climate change and flooding. The group works on several cross-cutting research issues including: urban forestry; climate change and society; public engagement with woods; forest and nature; evaluation of behaviour change interventions including incentives, projects and programmes; integration of research knowledge into policy and practice. As well as delivering high quality evidence and applied outputs direct to research commissioners, the group has a strong publishing record in a range of high impact social science, policy related and forestry journals.

Job description

Members of the group are based at Alice Holt Lodge near Farnham, at the Northern Research Station near Edinburgh, and at the Forestry Commission national office in Bristol. The group is seeking to appoint on a fixed term (3 years), two Behavourial Scientists to undertake and support the group’s research across the portfolio of projects, with particular emphasis on understanding, influencing, sustaining and changing the behaviours of land managers, stakeholders and a variety of publics connected with the three central social science research themes.

The post holder will carry out behavioural science research that contributes to improving understanding of the values, attitudes, behaviours and actions of land managers and a range of publics and stakeholders across SERG’s three core themes of wellbeing, woodland creation and resilient management, and the social dimensions of tree health.

Key Work Areas
1. Assist with collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data through approaches such as descriptive statistics, factor analysis, analysis of variance, and thematic analysis.
2. Contribute to project management of contracts for research and evaluation.
a. Work with other members of the Social and Economic Research Group and in an interdisciplinary way with to develop research plans, survey and interview questions and guides, and protocols for gathering and reviewing existing evidence.
3. Contribute to the interpretation and reporting of behavioural data, including technical reports, research summaries, website and social media content, and scientific publications.
4. Assist with business development activities, working with the Head of SERG and other members of the research group to identify, develop and submit proposals for new research projects and scientific collaborations.


Essential Criteria
MSc and Bachelor of Science Degree or MSc and Bachelor of Arts degree in the area of behavioural / social and / or environmental science or equivalent experience.
Track record of contributing to successful behavioural research e.g. developing research questions, data gathering, data analysis and reporting.
Demonstrable ability and experience in behavioural science data gathering using quantitative and qualitative methods, undertaking fieldwork as well as on-line methodologies and analysis of data.
Demonstrable ability and experience of IT for data collection, data analysis and communication.
High standard of verbal and written communication and experience of knowledge exchange with a range of stakeholders.

Desirable Criteria
Post Graduate experience with substantial behavioural social science content within an environmental setting
Skilled in a range of data collection techniques, and particularly in quantitative data gathering and analysis.
A broad understanding of behavioural science issues and theories particularly as they relate to SERG’s core themes e.g. nudge, the theory of planned behaviour, social practices theory.
Track record of managing projects successfully to completion and of an ability to work on multiple projects over the same period.
Experience of working collaboratively in a multi-project team environment to achieve results.
Proficient in technical report writing and preparation of scientific papers.


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

  • Working Together
  • Changing and Improving
  • Managing a Quality Service


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
• A civil service pension
• 25 days annual leave per year rising to 30 days annual leave after 5 years service. Plus 10.5 days public and additional holidays.

Further information on the benefits of working for Forest Research can be found here:

Any move to Forest Research from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax-Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at

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.
Sift will take place on 13 August 2021 & Interviews are planned to take place on 20 August 2021.

Based on the current COVID-19 situation we are anticipating conducting online interviews with the use of Microsoft Teams/SKYPE or equivalent online communication method. Candidates would therefore require access to a computer and internet at interview stage. However, alternative communication methods would be made if this was not possible. We ask that candidates notify us in advance if this is a requirement.

If a large volume of applications is received, then we will sift on Experience/Technical Expertise and the Lead Behaviour Working together. However, candidates will be expected to answer questions on all behaviours at the interview stage.

This is a Fixed Term Appointment for 3 years with the possibility of extension or permanency but no guarantee.

For those candidates invited to interview, we will be asking for a written task to be completed before the interview date. This will be a timed exercise.

Appointments to Forest Research are made at the entry level of the salary quoted above except in exceptional circumstances where a candidates' experience and skills may justify a higher starting salary.

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 :  HR Services
Email :
Recruitment team :
Email :

Further information

Our recruitment process is underpinned by the principle of appointment on the basis of fair and open competition and appointment on merit, as outlined in the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles. If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with these principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should in the first instance contact FR HR Services by email: you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can contact the Civil Service Commission, which regulates all Civil Service recruitment.

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