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Principal Behavioural Scientist

Posted 5 days ago by Department for Transport
Location United Kingdom Job Type Permanent
Salary National: £48,774 & London: £54,105 Sector Occupational, Teachers and Researchers, Miscellaneous

Principal Behavioural Scientist

Salary: National: £48,774 & London: £54,105.

Locations: Birmingham, Leeds or London

We recognise the challenges that people with (multiple) protected characteristics may experience on the job market and in their career progression. We are fully committed to being an inclusive employer and ensuring equal opportunities. We are keen to make our workforce as diverse as possible, and we hope to attract applications from underrepresented groups, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, people with a disability, and people with gender diverse identities.

Behavioural science is making a real-world difference to tackle some of the biggest issues the country faces, including the adoption of new transport technologies, sustainable travel and changing people’s behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. How do we get people travelling safely and sustainably while meeting their daily needs?

Over the past year, a surge in demand has led to the creation of a dedicated seven-person behavioural science team. With the Secretary of State and Ministers taking an active interest through monthly updates, there is significant opportunity for you to shape the new programme of work and to develop how the behavioural science team operates within the Department for Transport (DfT).

In the past year, the existing team have run online trials to improve confidence in public transport and compliance with face-coverings, published an experiment into electric vehicles with 4.5 million participants, and identified moments of change to get more people cycling. Upcoming work includes addressing international travel, e-scooter riding and improving gender equality and safety on public transport.

The posts are based in DfT’s Social and Behavioural Research Team (SBR). We provide, promote and advocate high quality and timely social research and behavioural science to support the delivery of DfT’s priorities. We work with teams across the Department on a wide range of policy areas to improve the user experience and ensure that policy-making takes account of the people and organisations affected by it.

SBR is a friendly team of 14 people based in DfT’s Analysis and Science Directorate (ASD) where social researchers collaborate and integrate with behavioural scientists to be greater than the sum of their parts. We are looking for two Principal Behavioural Scientists (G7s) and one Senior Behavioural Scientist (SEO) to join the four current behavioural scientists in this expanding team. The Senior Behavioural Scientist role is being advertised separately (Civil Service Jobs reference 111938). These are permanent posts.

Prior expertise in transport is not necessary, but you will be keen to develop your own and the team’s expertise in applying behavioural science in transport.

Job description

The posts are based in DfT’s Social and Behavioural Research Team (SBR). We provide, promote and advocate high quality and timely social research and behavioural science to support the delivery of DfT’s priorities. We work with teams across the Department on a wide range of policy areas to improve the user experience and ensure that policy-making takes account of the people and organisations affected by it.

SBR is a friendly team of 14 people based in DfT’s Analysis and Science Directorate (ASD) where social researchers collaborate and integrate with behavioural scientists to be greater than the sum of their parts. We are looking for two Principal Behavioural Scientists (G7s) and one Senior Behavioural Scientist (SEO) to join the four current behavioural scientists in this expanding team. The Senior Behavioural Scientist role is being advertised separately (Civil Service Jobs reference 111938). These are permanent posts.

Prior expertise in transport is not necessary, but you will be keen to develop your own and the team’s expertise in applying behavioural science in transport.

Responsibilities

a) Collaborating to develop the new permanent behavioural science team at DfT and working both responsively and proactively to identify and realise opportunities for applying behavioural science to the Department’s policy priorities.

You will work with the Head of SBR: Behavioural Science and your behavioural science colleagues to: establish the permanent team and its role in the Department; develop, prioritise and deliver a new programme of behavioural science work; work collaboratively with behavioural science, social research, policy and communications leads to provide authoritative and impactful advice and generate workable behavioural science-based solutions that inform and influence policy, delivery and communications.

This will include:

  • Working as part of the behavioural science team to define the role of behavioural science within the Department and shape how the team works, in order to maximise its impact.
  • Staying abreast of policy developments and direction to identify opportunities where behavioural science can provide greatest impact in guiding and improving policy interventions and to identify priorities for the team.
  • Reacting at pace to emerging policy challenges and requests for input/advice, robustly applying behavioural science tools and evidence.
  • Line and/or matrix managing and motivating staff to deliver behavioural science projects in a timely way to ensure they have impact.
  • Understanding the best and most up-to-date evidence and data to recommend novel behavioural interventions, then working with policy leads to develop and, where appropriate, implement these propositions.
  • Designing/guiding the associated research or data gathering to inform the design of behavioural interventions, which will include working closely with social researchers and other analysts in the Department.
  • Where relevant/feasible, designing trials and evaluation methodology to generate quantified evidence of impact in relation to behavioural interventions.

b) Championing and embedding the use of behavioural science across the Department.

You will work as part of the behavioural science team to promote the use of behavioural science to improve policy development and communications and to build the Department’s capability in behavioural science.

Activities will include:

  • Successfully engaging senior influencers in the Department, persuading and supporting them to systematically challenge policy areas to embed behavioural science from the very start of policy development;
  • Compiling high impact, authoritative examples and case studies of the successful application of behavioural science in transport, e.g. from COVID 19, and developing engaging ways of communicating these across the Department to build support for the further application of behavioural science;
  • Finding and taking advantage of internal meeting and seminar opportunities to champion behavioural science and its impact;
  • Proactively keeping abreast of relevant behavioural science developments and work outside the Department and bringing this to bear on the team's activities;
  • Building the Department’s capability in behavioural science through provision of online resources and materials, design and delivery of seminars and teach-ins to staff and through engaging with behavioural science teams on other government departments.

About you

You thrive in a fast-paced and challenging environment. You have a detailed knowledge of behavioural science theory and practice. You are creative and enjoy applying behavioural science and insights to resolve problems. You have outstanding influencing skills and are passionate about promoting the benefits of behavioural science based solutions to meet priorities across projects.

You have exceptional analytical skills and the ability to judge the quality of evidence and draw from a wider range of research and data to support ongoing improvements. You enjoy educating, gaining commitment and securing trust from a range of partners to support change.

To be successful in the role, we require the following skills and experience:

  • Designed and managed behavioural science projects and providing advice - employing the full range of behavioural science tools, theory and frameworks.
  • Identified opportunities to use behavioural science/insights to tackle problems and designed behavioural interventions to be developed, trialled and evaluated.
  • Applied behavioural science knowledge, evidence and expertise in a fast-paced environment, ensuring relevant, timely and impactful behavioural science input to policy or delivery decisions and communications.
  • Designed and managed research and analysis to inform the application of behavioural science/insights, using a range of social research methodologies, for example, literature/evidence reviews and primary qualitative or quantitative social research.

Qualifications

A degree (undergraduate or higher) or equivalent qualification in a human or social science. Behavioural scientists in Government come from a range of different backgrounds, but typically have degrees in one of the following subjects: psychology, anthropology, sociology/social research, geography, philosophy, history.

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 23rd May 2021.

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Department for Transport

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