Data Science Senior Adviser – Ref : 5001

at Natural England
Published March 21, 2023
Location London, United Kingdom
Category Data Science  
Job Type Full-time  



East Midlands (England), East of England, London (region), North East England, North West England, South East England, South West England, West Midlands (England), Yorkshire and the Humber

About the job

Job summary

This position is based Nationally

Job description

Do you have a passion for nature and the environment? Do you want to make a real difference and secure significant environmental gains in the present and the future? Do you enjoy working in a team? Can you see yourself advising communities and customers to maximise gains for the Natural Environment?

If this appeals to you, a career at Natural England offers rewarding opportunities to secure environmental improvements and play your part in creating a better future for people and nature.

The priority work Natural England is delivering includes:

  • Establishing a Nature Recovery Network to help wildlife thrive.
  • Monitoring environmental changes to identify and help reduce the effects of climate change.
  • Working with farmers and landowners to develop greener food production methods.
  • Advising on plans for new developments to maximise gains for nature, and
  • Providing ways for people to better connect with nature, including green social prescribing.

We are the Government’s Adviser for the natural environment, playing a vital role in delivering the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, an ambitious vision which brings new opportunities to protect and enhance and to achieve real outcomes for the environment.

Find out more about the work of Natural England at

About the Team

The Chief Scientist Directorate (CSD) provides scientific and evidence leadership services and support to help Natural England operate as an evidence-led organisation. The Data Science Services (DSS) Team, within the Analysis Team of CSD, provides access to evidence through the provision and management of data and digital systems, and through provision of analytical services.

Job description

Role Description

The role will support the development and delivery of projects across Data Science Services, including technical leadership, development of analytical processes (spatial and non-spatial) and managing work requests through the Integrated Business Planning system or otherwise. The post holder will:

  • Carry out complex spatial and non-spatial data analyses as required from a variety of Natural England, Defra group and other projects.
  • Provide guidance to Lead Advisers and Advisers in delivering complex spatial and non-spatial data analyses as required from a variety of Natural England, Defra group and other projects.
  • Resolve problems that involve detailed investigation and analysis and the exercise of judgment in making recommendations or determining appropriate action.
  • Apply project management principles and tools to ensure delivery of high-quality outcomes to internal and external customers.
  • Aid the development and research of new and emerging analytical processes, software, and online data visualisation tools.
  • Liaise with Natural England’s Programmes and customers and stakeholders to scope analysis requirements and design provision accordingly.
  • Drive improvement and innovation, providing technical expertise and advice, and building capability in others.
  • Provide functional and technical leadership and capability building of Data Science Services colleagues; working to develop their skills and experience.
  • Secure partnerships and cost recovery opportunities by proactively engaging, developing networks and promoting collaboration across the Defra group, academia and business.


Wherever possible Natural England accommodates requests for both full-time and part-time hours and other flexible working patterns to help employees achieve a good work/life balance and maintain their health and wellbeing.

Natural England provides excellent opportunities for career progression, training and development tailored to your role. From induction to ongoing learning and development, everyone in Natural England is supported to develop their skills and capabilities. Everyone has 10 days to devote to personal learning and development, as well as an additional 3 days to volunteer.

You will have access to Civil Service Pension and benefits arrangements and generous leave allowances (33 day per year pro rata), as well as flexible working, to help you achieve a work-life balance that works for you and us.

You will have access to a range of benefits including discounts on shopping vouchers, cycle to work scheme, and childcare vouchers. You can also join the Civil Service Sport club which offer discounts on a range of sports and leisure opportunities as well as social events.

Natural England is a fantastic place to work, where difference is celebrated.

We’re committed to fairness and equality for all, so you feel valued for who you are and what you do. Our shared values help us work together to benefit the communities we serve. Our thriving employee-led diversity networks support our inclusive culture and contribute to our Diversity Action Plan.


Natural England is adopting hybrid working – which means our staff work from a flexible range of locations, encompassing home, offices (ours and our partners) and relevant sites. All new staff will be formally linked to one of our 25 offices across England and the expectation is that all new staff will be able to access their local office to be part of the community of staff in their geographical area. Full time staff are expected to attend their associated office for a minimum of one day a week.

Staff members are required to carry out all their duties working in this way and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time. Travel expenses will be paid if work related travel is required but does not apply to travel between home and your associated office.

National team roles can be linked with any Natural England office while Area Team roles will be linked with an office in the relevant geographic area.

View a map of our office locations here:

How To Apply

We welcome and encourage applications from all communities. Natural England is accredited to the Disability Confident Scheme, which denotes organisations which have a positive attitude towards disabled people. Disabled applicants who meet the minimum requirements for the role at the shortlisting stage are guaranteed an invitation to interview.

If you require a reasonable adjustment at interview, or there is anything else you would like the panel to take into consideration, you should notify us of this at application stage where possible, or well in advance of your interview.

This vacancy uses competency-based assessment. We'll assess you against the competencies below during the selection process:

  • Technical skills and knowledge
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Work delivery

When completing the application form you should present relevant examples using the STAR format. Give us an example of how you have demonstrated the competency (which can be work related or from another area of your life) and tell us about the Situation, the specific Task you had to undertake, the specific Actions you took, and the Result (both immediate and in a wider context) of your doing so.

Please note that STAR format is not required when answering the Technical Skills & Knowledge competency.

Please select just 4 of the listed Technical Skills and Knowledge points to demonstrate your competency.

Examples should be given in no more than 250 words for each competency.



Competence 1

Professional competency



Technical specialist knowledge



• Data science techniques – including data extraction and preparation, exploratory data analysis, machine learning & deep learning, data visualisation, quality auditing and bioinformatics.
• In-depth knowledge of mathematics, statistics, and algorithms.
• Experience in coding using Python / R/ Tensorflow / Keras.
• Substantial experience of working with a range of large scale spatial and non-spatial data types in both structured and unstructured formats.
• Strong background in science and evidence, combining a range of biological, geographical and social data.
• Experience with MS excel / spreadsheets/ pivot tables/dashboards.
• Experience in the use of GIS software including ArcPro, ArcGIS, ArcGIS Online and QGIS.

• Experience in a relevant field (e.g. environmental science, ecology, geology, historic environment, climate change)
• Working knowledge of Bioinformatics.


Competence 2

Professional competency



Personal Effectiveness



  • Be ambitious, identify and adopt ways to make improvements in your team and Organisation and inspire others to act (Practitioner)
    • Share expertise and knowledge with people and networks so that you can develop together (Practitioner)
    • Apply new technology to improve the way we deliver our work (Practitioner)


Competence 3

Professional competency



Work Delivery



  • Manage and deliver your work to meet agreed targets and deadlines (Expert)
    • Handle data responsibly, understand your role in good governance, and comply with delegations, policies and procedures (Practitioner)

Person specification

Please refer to Job Description


  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%

Things you need to know

Selection process details

Please refer to Job Description

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

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) (opens in a new window)
  • 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 (opens in a new window)

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) 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 (opens in a new window).

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

The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment (opens in new window).
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 :alex Deedman
  • Email

Recruitment team :

  • Email :defra-recruitment-