Deputy Director, Central Research Division

Contract Type
Birmingham, Leeds, London
£71,000 - For existing Civil Servants the usual pay rules should apply.
Expiry Date
This role makes a key contribution to the Department’s strategic priority to Improve Transport for the User. The post holder will lead & influence workstreams across the transport agenda, with the aim of improving the day-to-day lives of UK citizens.

Job Description

They will provide professional leadership to the 52 social researchers within the Department, maintaining their professional excellence and ability to be impactful and innovative.

Covid has demonstrated the critical role social research and behavioural science can play in decision-making, and how they can be deployed in an agile way to inform operational decisions.  Likewise the establishment of the Evaluation Task Force and the push from Ministers and HM Treasury has highlighted the crucial role of evaluation in both policy delivery and government accountability.

Job description

The post holder will be responsible for providing vision and leadership to the behavioural science, social research and evaluation teams, ensuring their impact and influence across DfT.  Demand for the work of these teams has never been greater, and part of the work will be to both encourage this interest and demand, while at the same time prioritising and maximising the impact of a scarce resource. 

The successful candidate should also proactively engage across government, to strengthen collaboration and coordination in key areas.  

The successful candidate will be a strong social scientist, with an understanding of and an ability to add value across all three areas of professional expertise: behavioural science, social research and evaluation.  They will be able to both lead medium-term research programmes and flex to respond to emerging priorities and urgent demands.  They will be skilled in managing the wellbeing, engagement and delivery of professional teams. They will create a culture where honest, transparent, trusting and supportive behaviours are expected and within which differences of thought and outlook are valued.

Note we are currently reviewing the structure of this division, reflecting the Department’s User Focus strategic priority. This may result in some reporting line changes within this division and the wider directorate, which would be discussed with the successful candidate.


The successful candidate will be part of the Analysis Directorate Senior Leadership Team, working directly to the Chief Analyst.  The post holder will lead three G6-led teams, an overall division of around 18 FTE and a budget of around £700K per year.

Responsibilities include:
• Leading a talented group of three G6-led teams who are all experts in their field.  Overseeing their delivery of high-quality research, analysis, advice and capability-building.   

• Providing visible and insightful leadership and ensuring the division has the necessary capability to develop and deliver impactful work programmes that support DfT’s Strategic Priorities.
• Helping set the strategic direction for the wider Analysis Directorate, and supporting its delivery through the Central Research Division. 

• Identifying opportunities for collaboration, engagement and multi-disciplinary working across DfT, working with other analytical teams as well as working closely with policy, science, strategy and delivery teams to maximise the impact of the division’s work.  This will require building effective relationships with senior leaders across DfT and an ability to demonstrate how robust research and analysis can support effective decision making.

• Championing and joining-up social research, evaluation and behavioural science both within and outside of DfT, enhancing our ability to bring in and use external work and expertise, and influencing across government and the wider academic and agency sector to better focus external work to our priorities. 

• Directly supporting the delivery of DfT’s Strategic Priorities through working with, supporting and helping steer the PMO and SROs leading this work.

• Leading the Department for Transport social research profession, assuring that outputs are high quality. Instilling professional integrity and high professional standards in line with the GSR code. Promoting a learning culture for all staff, encouraging breadth and depth in research skills including innovative methodologies and techniques and good understanding of other analytical disciplines.   

Person Specification

The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate their capabilities and experience in the following areas:

Leadership. Strong track-record in building and leading diverse teams and getting the best from your people by creating the culture and environment that motivates and is inclusive for the whole workforce.

Seeing the Big Picture. Identifies and shapes how research and analysis programmes fit within and supports the priorities of the organisation.

Making Effective Decisions. Takes effective decisions in regard to the content and prioritisation of workstreams so that the right work is done and has impact.

Communicating and Influencing. Role models and demonstrates excellent interpersonal and communication skills and instils a culture of effective cross-professional collaboration.

Government Social Research Technical Skills. Keeps abreast of critical methodological developments within social research and related government analytical professions and identifies their value. Champions excellence in social research practices and application.