Data Scientist (Grade 7)

  • UK Health Security Agency
  • London SE1, UK
  • 08/01/2022
Full time Data Science Data Analytics Data Management Biostatistics

Job Description

COVID-19 has reinforced the impact that threats to health can have on society and the economy and driven health security as a critical component of our national security architecture. The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is a system leader for health security taking action internationally to strengthen global health security, providing trusted advice to government and the public and reducing inequalities in the way different communities experience and are impacted by infectious disease, environmental hazards, and other threats to health .UKHSA’s remit, as an agency with a global-to-local reach, is to protect the health of the nation from infectious diseases and other external threats to health. As the nation’s expert national health security agency UKHSA will:
Prevent: anticipate threats to health and help build the nation’s readiness, defences and health security
Detect: use cutting edge environmental and biological surveillance to proactively detect and monitor infectious diseases and threats to health
Analyse: use world-class science and data analytics to assess and continually monitor threats to health, identifying how best to control and mitigate the risks
Respond: take rapid, collaborative and effective actions nationally and locally to mitigate threats to health when they materialise
Lead: lead strong and sustainable global, national, regional and local partnerships designed to save lives, protect the nation from public health threats, and reduce inequalities
As a data scientist in UKHSA you will work with other experts (epidemiologists, economists and public health experts) to use data to help solve health problems. You will work within a cross functional team of epidemiologists, economists and other data specialists to tackle complex health problems. You will need to apply data science techniques to solve complex problems, develop and validate solutions and communicate your results with senior stakeholders in a convincing manner

As a data scientist within the UKHSA you will be expected to support work on projects that :

  • Provide analysis and assessment to Covid-19 outbreaks;
  • Set the COVID-19 Alert level;
  • Perform hypothesis testing and analysis to understand the effectiveness of the Test and Trace system and other types of intervention;
  • Create live dashboards to present data and analysis, including performance monitoring for Test and Trace or indicating changes in infection rates across the UK;
  • Work with partners to calculate the R number
  • Develop mathematical and epidemiological models which simulate the spread of infectious diseases
  • Forecast and assess the effectiveness of policy interventions in reducing the spread of infectious diseases

At the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) our mission is to provide health security for the nation by protecting from infectious disease and external hazards.
The UKHSA mission is challenging, innovative and in the spotlight. We work to ensure our people have the diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds we need to thrive, and that staff members feel valued and enabled to play their part in delivering our work.
Creating our working culture is an ongoing process which we are developing by listening and learning together, hearing and acting upon diverse voices and opinions. The work will continue through the first months and years of the organisation to develop a common sense of identity and effective ways of working.

  • Programming and build (data science) You will use programming and applied statistics to solve analytical problems. Your work is reproducible and understandable by others by using software tools such as version control and you implement best practice such as peer review, code tests and modular code
  • Data engineering and manipulation You will work with data engineers, data analysts and health experts to define, consume and test data products including making transformations or joins in data to answer analytical questions. You understand and can make use of different data engineering tools for reproducible data processing.
  • Domain expertiseYou will apply data science techniques to analyse, present and communicate health problems in conjunction with other specialists. You are open to learning more about the health domain from other experts. You can develop the most appropriate medium to visualise data to communicate complex patterns clearly.
  • Data science innovationYou will identify new and innovative approaches to answer difficult health problems. You demonstrate strong intellectual curiosity with an interdisciplinary approach
  • Developing data science capabilityYou continuously develop data science knowledge, using multiple sources. You share data science practices, promoting professional development and use of best practice across all capabilities identified for data scientists. You will help upskill your peers and other experts in relevant technologies and tools so that we can deal with health challenges
  • Understanding analysis across the product life cycle (data science) You understand the lifecycle of analytical products and can provide guidance on how this should be achieved. You know how to work in collaboration with end users and experts in other roles. You understand the value of analysis, how to contribute with impact and what data sources, analytical techniques and tools can be used at each point throughout the product life cycle

Essential Skills / Experience / Knowledge

  • Experience leading and delivering data science analyses and projects
  • Ability to mentor data scientists in best practice
  • Experience with Python and/or R for Data Science including the core scientific Python stack (pandas, NumPy matplotlib etc) and/or R stack (ggplot2, tidyverse etc) for data science and visualisation
  • Ability to work at pace to deadlines across multiple projects
  • Ability to effectively communicate the results of analysis to senior stakeholders and decision makers

Desirable Skills / Experience / Knowledge:

  • Experience working in Agile teams and use of software management tools such as JIRA or Azure DevOps
  • Experience with cloud-based platforms (we use AWS and Azure)
  • Experience with SQL Databases and ability to write efficient queries
  • Experience with computational statistics tools and / or Machine Learning frameworks such as PyTorch and TensorFlow
  • Exposure to graph analytics tools (we use NetworkX and GraphX)
  • Exposure to Dashboarding tools (ideally PowerBI or Qlik)
  • Experience automating build of MS PowerPoint slide decks


Candidates will need at least one of the below:

  • A first or second class honours degree in a numerate discipline, computer science or IT equivalent which demonstrates core statistical skills;
  • A higher degree, e.g. an MSc or PhD, in Data Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics (this is not a definitive list);
  • Have worked in a statistical/data science field and are able to demonstrate continuous professional development in statistics/data science at the same level as a foundation degree/HND (Level 5)