Principal Technical Lead – Data Science

This job posting expired and applications are no longer accepted.
Fareham,Salisbury, United Kingdom
Job Type
Hybrid Working Opportunity

Do you have experience in applying knowledge of statistics, text analytics, machine learning, or data engineering to lead, partner, advise and drive forward data focused tasks? 

Are you passionate about applying your expertise to participate in cutting edge analysis and research within the UK Government's Defence and Security domains?  

Are you interested in developing your technical career in an exciting and growing area? 

If the answer to these questions is yes, we want to hear from you!

Dstl’s Exploration Division identifies and accelerates the delivery of transformative technology, systems, concepts and strategy for Defence and Security.  Our Data Science teams enable this through the application of novel approaches to a variety of data-rich and complex Defence and Security problem areas to support strategic and operational level decision makers.  We achieve this by using our own expertise; working in partnership with industry and academia; advising customers and stakeholders on valuing and exploiting data; and helping others to develop their own skills.  Our data scientists very much work as a community.  We work in multidisciplinary teams as the norm, valuing the different skillsets and experience our people bring together.

We are looking for a Data Science Principal Technical Lead to lead teams to design and implement credible analytical tools and Machine Learning approaches

Dstl recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion as people from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas. We are committed to building an inclusive working environment in which each employee fulfils their potential and maximises their contribution.

We particularly welcome female and ethnic minority applicants and those from the LGBTQI community, as they are under-represented within Dstl at these levels.

Job description

In this role you will:

  • Create impact whilst supporting strategic and operational decision-making.
  • Lead teams to design and implement credible analytical tools and Machine Learning approaches using best practice to generate reproducible work.
  • Guide and direct the work of others, through technical leadership, to ensure delivery of high impact science and technology.
  • Review approaches and outputs ensuring that outputs are technically robust, and follows legal and ethical requirements.
  • Present data related outputs in a meaningful way to technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Support customers and project teams to understand where data science can add new value.
  • Work with Industry and Academia by partnering with them to ensure that the tasks we place remain on track, are of high quality and receive the benefit of internal expertise.
  • Maintain an understanding of data science in the external environment by influencing and contributing to industry, academia, other government departments and international research collaboration initiatives.
  • across Government, including potentially briefing senior officials to ensure robust decision making within government.
  • abreast of the latest developments in data science and actively contribute to capability development.

Person specification

We are looking for someone who has some of the following:

  • A strong focus on learning new skills and techniques in order to keep current and continue their own professional development.
  • A passion to drive forward the adoption of novel techniques by others.
  • A strong interest in the application of all aspects of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches.
  • A motivation to apply critical thinking and problem solving in order to have a positive impact on the defence and security of the UK.
  • Experience of bringing new insights through analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.
  • The ability to work collaboratively to deliver results.
  • The ability to proactively form and manage relationships with a broad range of customers.
  • Experience leading others, maintaining output focus and technical quality.

Essential Skills

  • Systems thinking and consultancy skills to manage stakeholders and their requirements.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving applied to a variety of problems.
  • An ability to convey complex issues in a clear and concise way to non-experts, in verbal, visual and written form.
  • Familiarity with Data Science tools and approaches:

Understanding coding languages (Python, R)
Good practises and policies when using/handling data.

Work location
Dstl is strongly encouraging blended and flexible working either at one of our sites or from home or both. We want to empower you to undertake your duties at the most appropriate location for the task, however you will be allocated a Dstl site as a base. You may be required to travel to other Dstl and MoD sites as required.

Important Information

Our work in defence, security and intelligence requires our employees to be UK Nationals who are able to gain a high level of security clearance to undertake the projects we are involved in to protect us from security threats. For this reason, only UK Nationals will be able to apply for this role. If you are an international or dual-national candidate, and you think you have the skills we need, please consider applying to any of our government, security or defence partners.

This role will require full UK security clearance and you should have resided in the UK for the past 5 years. For some roles Developed Vetting will also be required, in this case you should have resided in the UK for the past 10 years.


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

  • Leadership
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others

Technical skills

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

  • Please explain the breadth and depth of your familiarity with Data Science tools and approaches such as o Understanding coding languages (Python, R) o Good practices and policies when using/handling data.
  • Please outline your skills in Systems Thinking and Consultancy approaches and methodologies, to manage stakeholders and their requirements.


Alongside your salary of £44,667, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory contributes £12,060 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.

Dstl’s full range of great benefits can be found in the information pack which includes:

  • Financial: An excellent pension scheme starting from 26% employer contribution (find out more here). In Year Rewarding Achievement bonuses and thank you vouchers. Rental deposit scheme and cycle to work scheme.
  • Flexible workingOptions include alternative working patterns such as; compressed hours (e.g. working a 4 day week/ 9 day fortnight), job shares and annualised hours (agreed number of hours per annum paid monthly i.e. working term-time only).
  • Working hours: Flexibility around your working day (e.g. start time, finish time). Ability to bank hours in a 12 month reference period including the ability to accrue and use 3 days per calendar month.
  • Where you work: Depending on your role, blended working may be available including remote working to suit you and your team. This can be discussed at interview.
  • Annual leave: 25 days pro rata (rising to 30 after 5 years) plus 8 public holidays with the ability to buy/sell 5 additional days per annum.
  • Family: Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks with full pay, an additional 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid
  • Learning and Development: Dstl encourages and supports charterships, accreditations and provides employees access to fully funded apprenticeships up to level 7 (Masters Degree). Dstl will pay for 2 memberships with relevant bodies/institutions. Employees also have access to Civil Service Learning.
  • Facilities: Onsite parking, EV Charging points, restaurants, cafés and gyms.

The information pack can be found attached to the job specification on Civil Service Jobs.

Our Diversity Networks

We have a number of support networks to ensure all employees feel supported at work. These include the following:

  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Network
  • Race, Faith and Culture Network
  • Parents and Carer Support Network
  • Alternative Working Network
  • Gender Equality Network
  • New Starters Network
  • Enabled Network, for people with visible and non-visible disabilities.

Things you need to know

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

The application will ask you for a CV, to complete a statement of suitability and answer questions about your technical skills. The sift will assess your technical skills and experience in relation to the essential criteria listed in the job profile. Please note that all applications are sifted anonymously, so the sifters won't see any personal information.

The interview will consist of a combined Behavioural and Technical interview assessing your skills, experience and behaviours against the essential criteria in the job profile. As part of the assessment you will be asked to give a brief on a question given to you prior to the interview.

Sifting will take place W/C 25/09/2023 & 02/10/2023

Interviews will take place W/C 16/10/2023

We want you to have your best chance of success in our recruitment process, so If at any stage of the application process you would like help or assistance please contact the Dstl Recruitment Team and we will do all we can to support you.

We are proud supporters of Women in Data®.  Connect, engage and belong to the largest free female data community in the UK – visit: to join our community

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