Head of Science

£63,125 - £71,000
05 Aug 2020
23 Aug 2020
Contract Type

Do you care about the safety of products and want to protect people and places? Is your passion to empower consumers to make good and informed choices and can we use your skills, knowledge and experience to enable UK business to thrive? If the answer is yes, then we would like to hear from you!

We are the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. We are here for the purpose of making regulation work to deliver real world impact. Regulation is a powerful Government tool to address market failures, influence behaviour and promote positive action. Crafted and delivered well, regulation can be an enabler of growth, innovation and efficiency.

Our mission: To be a trusted product regulator for the UK.

Our goal: To be a leader of good regulatory practice and a champion of local regulation.

Further information can be found on our website:

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles. We embrace diversity and promote equality of opportunity. We are committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives and skills. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for people with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

About the Team & Role

Working closely alongside the Engineering & Technology and Analysis Teams in the Science, Engineering & Analysis Division, the Science Team ensures OPSS has access to scientific evidence and advice for the development of policy, and the delivery and enforcement of product safety regulations in OPSS. It is a multidisciplinary team currently composed of 9 scientists covering specialisms from analytical chemistry, to biology and psychology and decision science.

The team is responsible for both the Office’s Research Programme and Research Hub, developing new and novel research, and ways of delivering research, to drive forward improvements in consumer product safety through changes in policy and delivering regulation.

Job description

Key Responsibilities

The post holder is responsible for ensuring the right processes and people are in place to deliver high quality scientific advice for policy development, regulatory delivery and enforcement, to help ensure scientific evidence is at the heart of decision making within the organisation.

You will need to network with teams from across OPSS, relevant parts of Whitehall, including with Departments’ Chief Scientific Advisers, OPSS' key partners and academia to understand the key scientific issues affecting consumer product safety and deliver scientific advice for policy, regulation and delivery. Key to this are the abilities to work collaboratively and to communicate often complex evidence and ideas clearly to both technical and non-technical audiences.

Working closely with the Engineering & Technology and Analysis teams, you will ensure that the Office’s Research Programme and Research Hub are well led, that they achieve value for money, and deliver high quality and relevant scientific output.

As a Functional Team Leader and lead scientist, you will provide leadership and direction to our highly skilled workforce of scientists, supporting their development and playing a leadership role within OPSS.

It is important to note that as public servants we flex and deploy resources according to the shifting priorities of government so, as with the majority of civil service posts, there is potential for the postholder to be redeployed onto a higher priority work area on either a temporary or permanent basis should the need arise.



• Minimum of a degree in a scientific subject area

•Experience of delivering scientific advice for policy development and decision making


• Experience of delivering scientific advice in a regulatory context

• Oversight of delivering a research programme

Technical Skills

Overseeing the Technical Work of Others

• Demonstrates the skills needed to review, direct and sign-off the technical work of others, as is typically required from those acting as Technical Design Authority/ Technical Leadership roles.

• Champions the scrutiny and challenge of technical work and the early exposure and management of technical risk.


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

  • Leadership
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Working Together

Technical skills

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

  • Overseeing the Technical Work of Others


BEIS offers a competitive mix of benefits including:

  • A culture of flexible working, such as job sharing, homeworking and compressed hours.
  • Automatic enrolment into the Civil Service Pension Scheme.
  • A minimum of 25 days of paid annual leave, increasing by 1 day per year up to a maximum of 30.
  • An extensive range of learning & professional development opportunities, which all staff are actively encouraged to pursue.
  • Access to a range of retail, travel and lifestyle employee discounts.