Senior Behavioural Scientist

Job Title: Senior Behavioural Scientist
Contract Type: Permanent
Location: United Kingdom
Salary: National - £38,654 & London - £42,466
Reference: 111938
Job Published: May 04, 2021 09:19

Job Description

Senior Behavioural Scientist

Salary: National - £38,654, London - £42,466

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 in tackling 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 and deliver 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.

Job description

The post is 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 one Senior Behavioural Scientist (SEO) and two Principal Behavioural Scientists (G7s) to join the four current behavioural scientists in this expanding team. The Principal Behavioural Scientist roles are being advertised separately (Civil Service Job reference 114835). These are permanent posts and the Senior Behavioural Scientist will be line managed by a Principal Behavioural Scientist.

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.


Key responsibilities include:

a) Work at pace to apply behavioural science to the Department’s policy priorities.

Working closely with a Principal Behavioural Scientist, you will collaborate with 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. Activities will include:

  • Applying behavioural science models and frameworks (e.g. EAST, COM-B etc) in order to scope behavioural challenges and design solutions, contributing to the development of the team’s programme of behavioural science activities
  • Reacting at pace to emerging policy challenges and requests for input/advice, robustly applying behavioural science tools and evidence
  • Proactively keeping up-to-date on developments in behavioural science, share this amongst colleagues, applying this learning to help deliver own behavioural science projects
  • 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 and specifying behavioural science trials to inform policy priorities, incorporating a test, learn and adapt approach.

b) Promote the use of high quality behavioural science across the Department.

You will work as part of the behavioural science team to promote the use of behavioural science to build the Department’s capability in behavioural science. Activities will include:

  • Actively contribute to monthly updates to the Secretary of State and our well-established Behavioural Science Newsletter, which is shared across the Department.
  • Preparing high impact, authoritative examples and case studies of the successful application of behavioural science in transport and disseminating these across the Department.
  • Promoting best practice in behavioural science and behavioural insight techniques, developing and delivering training and resources that build skills amongst specialist and non-specialist staff.

About You

We are searching for a skilled behavioural scientist who has strong internal and external stakeholder engagement experience and the ability to work well with people of all grades within the organisation, to complete key projects. You will have excellent communication skills in varying circumstances, with the ability to tailor this to your audience such as explaining complex technical information to a non- technical audience.

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

  • Thorough knowledge of a wide range of behavioural science theories and their application to improve policy, operational delivery or communications. This could have been gained through academic or professional qualifications or substantial demonstrable experience in a behavioural science role.
  • Proven ability to use behavioural science to diagnose problems and to design, trial and evaluate behavioural solutions
  • Track record in delivering quick turn-around, high quality behavioural science advice and insights in fast-paced environment that optimizes policy or delivery decisions and communications.
  • Experience of designing and managing 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.


A degree (undergraduate of 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.