Principal Adviser - Data Science

Natural England

40,405

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Summary

This position is based Nationally

Job description


Evidence Services provide scientific and evidence leadership, so that Natural England operates as an evidence-based organisation.

The team:

  • leads the delivery of Natural England’s Evidence Programme (£2m pa) of prioritised terrestrial and marine monitoring projects, monitoring reform activities (e.g. piloting new techniques like eDNA) and evaluation/evidence reviews
  • leads the delivery of Natural England/Defra’s agri-environment monitoring and evaluation programme (£2.8m pa)
  • provides expert analytical, data management and interpretation services to Natural England and its customers which include spatial analysis and mapping, earth observation, statistical analysis and modelling
  • ensures adequate and appropriate access to evidence through online systems (e.g. MAGIC) and scientific publications (GOV.UK)
  • leads on the Evidence Strategy and the Evidence Standard underpinning the delivery and use of evidence in Natural England

Evidence Services produces evidence and analysis which enables others to deliver positive outcomes for the environment. Projects are identified through the Integrated Business Planning process with this year’s priorities including species distribution modelling for great crested newt district licensing and local bat conservation plans, Monitoring of Engagement in the Natural Environment (MENE), Long Term Monitoring Network, Uplands Long-term Management Plans and Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) piloting and design.

Examples of current data science projects and pilots include: computer vision for plant species identification, classifying earth observation imagery, developing analytical techniques to support change detection and condition monitoring, using machine learning approaches to inform risk based decisions and enabling integration of social, economic and environmental data.

The role will involve connecting with the Defra Data Transformation Programme on projects, such as Proof of Concepts around computer vision, and the Data Lab / Data Analytics Platform and Data Science Centre of Excellence.

The postholder will be expected to swiftly develop knowledge of Natural England programme management procedures, Evidence Standard and quality assurance procedures, and an excellent understanding of the range of evidence used in Natural England/Defra and the business context within which it is used - understanding both national and area level delivery and the value of evidence in decision making.

Job description


Providing oversight and strong, inspirational leadership for the development and application of analytical and modelling skills in Natural England, the Principal Adviser will:

  • Work closely with senior advisers and team leaders to functionally manage a statistics and modelling service which supports Natural England and Defra group strategic priorities.
  • Identify where data science approaches can be applied to transforming both evidence and operational aspects of Natural England’s work.
  • Drive innovation and effective application of emerging technology and data, horizon scanning for potential new environmental applications of data science.
  • Secure partnerships and cost recovery opportunities by proactively engaging, developing networks and promoting collaboration across Defra, other parts of government, academia and business.
  • Develop strong relationships with the Defra Data Transformation Programme and the Data Science Centre of Excellence.
  • Manage relationships, ensuring join up in Evidence Services and contributing to the development and delivery of a Geography/Evidence Engagement Strategy.
  • Promote professionalism and contribute to the field e.g. through articles and presentations.
  • Build capability and capacity within Natural England to perform data analysis and modelling, and establish support networks.
  • Assess value and cost effectiveness of approaches, and develop and contribute to business cases to secure resources.
  • Locate and mobilise relevant data sets to support Natural England delivery needs, promote accessibility of our evidence, and ensure good management of data.
  • Be flexible and also work with the other managers and Principals in the Chief Scientist Directorate on the development and delivery of the Team’s priorities and support the Evidence Services senior leadership team. In particular, this role will connect with the Principal Adviser - Earth Observation.
  • Be Natural England’s Lead Official for statistics ensuring Natural England’s statistics meet the Statistics Code of Practice requirements and covering lead responsibilities and standards as set out by the Government Statistical Service (GSS).

Closing date: 24 Jun 2019


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