NHS Test and Trace - Early Career Researcher - Dat...

Location: London

*** Mention DataYoshi when applying ***

Reference number



£36,819 - £45,998
National: £36,819 - £42,480 / Outer London: £38,732 - £44,239 / Inner London: £40,646 - £45,998


Senior Executive Officer

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment

The contract end date is 31st March 2022

Business area

DHSC - Test and Trace

Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time

Number of posts



Currently, this role will be home-based with travel to DHSC office in London OR other NHS Test & Trace/ UK Health Security Agency sites/offices if required. Please note, the department may change the place of work to any place within reasonable travelling distance of your home address if there is a business need to do so. This should be considered when applying for this role. You must be a habitual resident in the UK to apply for this role and your home address, from which you would undertake this role if successful, must be in the UK. Further information on Location & Appointment/Contract type can be found under the ‘Selection Process’ details section.

About the job


The Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) is an integral part of NHS Test and Trace, acting as its central analysis and insight function. It brings together data, epidemiological, surveillance and policy capabilities to provide timely insights for decision-makers.

Since June 2020 the JBC has been critical in the UK government’s COVID-19 response. Its responsibilities include advising the UK’s four CMOs on the COVID-19 Alert Level, providing regular situational awareness to ministers, leading public health assessments to inform UK border policy, and coordinating and delivering response policy with local authorities and cross-government partners. It does this working closely with Public Health England, the Devolved Administrations and leading academics.

On 1st October this role will transfer to The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
The UKHSA will be responsible for planning, preventing and responding to external health threats, and providing intellectual, scientific and operational leadership at national and local level, as well as on the global stage, ensuring the nation can respond quickly and at greater scale to deal with pandemics and future threats. Individuals in scope to be transferred, would usually remain on their existing contractual terms and conditions (with any proposed changes being subject to consultation). This applies both to current employees and those recruited between now and 1st October 2021. The recruitment, growth & development of our workforce is vital for the continuing success of NHS Test and Trace, and the future UK Health Security Agency.

You will be working with a highly motivated and passionate group of people, who have come together from across the country, to work on the biggest health and economic challenge that our nation has ever faced. You will be working alongside them in an exciting and fast paced environment with an unparalleled opportunity to make your mark on government policy and the future of UK health protection.

We have all been affected by COVID-19. This is your opportunity to help and make a difference, working at the heart of the battle to defeat COVID-19.

Job description

The Early Career Researcher (ECR) programme aims to improve organisational capability by bringing in specialist and expert skills to the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and serves to attract a pipeline of future talent and strengthen organisational links with academia. These time limited ECR placements provide benefits for both the organisation and individual, through increased organisational capability and by providing an exciting and varied career opportunity. As well as work experience, the placement also provides a pastoral and development programme, together with opportunities for technical skills development for ECRs.
The roles are available in the Health Analysis Directorate which is a multi-disciplinary analytical directorate of more than 100 individuals, working at the forefront of the response to COVID-19.
The work of the directorate spans a range of analytical objectives and themes across descriptive epidemiology, genomics, cluster analysis, vaccines, behavioural science, infectious disease and biostatistical modelling, and product development/delivery.
The Health Analysis Directorate’s key responsibilities include providing epidemiological and public health advice for local, regional and national decision-makers; producing advice for the Chief Medical Officers (CMO) on the COVID-19 Alert Level; and leading public health assessments to inform UK border policy.
The directorate collaborate closely with Public Health England and wider NHS Test and Trace across the breadth of our work.
The Health Analysis Directorate includes five distinct teams that work together: Domestic, International, Advanced Analytics, Transmission Analytics and Public Health Science. The four available roles are in the Advanced Analytics, National Alerting and Thematic Assessment teams. Depending on your skill set, preference and our needs, you could be posted to any of these teams.
The post holder will take a lead role in infectious disease modelling, public health scientific analyses and writing reports on specific projects, regular and ad hoc commissions and publications.


The JBC are looking to recruit four PhD students or post-doctoral researchers for short-term placements until 31st March 2022.

We are looking for candidates who can
  • Work within a team of analysts with a range of analysis, assessment and product development responsibilities, often working to tight timelines
  • Assist in the development of specific advice on COVID-19 for the wider community
  • Deliver analytical skills and be adept at finding, analysing and manipulating large scale data sets
  • Communicate and clearly present key insights from a variety of qualitative and quantitative sources
  • Successfully manage their time and prioritise effectively, working under their own initiative and responding to unexpected demands whilst maintaining a professional, calm and efficient manner
It is desirable to have candidates who can
  • Assist communicable disease control, health protection and public health colleagues across the UK during major health protection incidents
  • Support investigation of incidents and outbreaks of communicable disease providing support across the JBC and PHE network - supporting and contributing the work of teams

The posts offer superb development opportunities and the chance to gain exposure across a broad range of policy areas and with senior officials at the heart of decision making in government.

Knowledge and experience

  • A PhD student or postdoctoral researcher who can work across different disciplines and who specialises in quantitative analyses, modelling, infectious diseases or epidemiology
  • Experience of modelling, analysing, interpreting and evaluating large epidemiological datasets
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with proven presentation and scientific report writing skills.
  • Experience of one or more statistical/database/mapping tools including R, GIS, network analysis, SQL, Python, Jupyter notebook or others
  • Experience of working with complex and large datasets and information feeds to draw relevant conclusions
  • Experience of working at pace to meet deadlines across multiple projects, being flexible and adaptable to change


  • Principles of modelling and knowledge of infectious disease modelling
  • Knowledge of health and social care environment, and roles and responsibilities within it including information flows in the NHS and allied services.
  • Understanding of information governance including data protection and confidentiality requirements.
  • Knowledge and experience of predictive modelling and regression analyses and interpretation of results.
  • Demonstrable experience of public health, health protection or epidemiology
  • Knowledge and experience of common statistical tests and interpretation of results.

Essential qualifications

A 2:1 degree in Statistics, Social Research, Biological Sciences, Mathematics or similar.

If still studying your PHD, please confirm you have permission for this placement

Enrolled on a PhD or awarded a Doctorate degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Data science, Research methods, Genomics, Public health policy, Epidemiology, Infectious diseases, Social and Behavioural Sciences or similar).


2:1 degree in relevant discipline.


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

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Working Together

Technical skills

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

  • 5 minute presentation


  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension

*** Mention DataYoshi when applying ***

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