Body: Defence Nuclear Organisation
Appointing Department: Ministry of Defence
Sectors: Defence, Science & Technology
Location: London and various MoD sites in UK
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: This is a remunerated Non-Departmental Public Body position paying £465 per day. Travel and other reasonable expenses will be paid in line with MOD policy. This post is not pensionable.
Time Requirements: Up to 20 days per year


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

An appointment to Chair to the Nuclear Research Advisory Council has been made for a period of 5 ears starting on 19th February 2020 and ending 18th February 2025. The position of Chair attracts a daily fee of £465, in addition to reasonable travel and subsistence expenses. The names of the members of the Nuclear Research Advisory council are not released to the public domain for security reasons.

Date: 19/02/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift

    To be arranged

  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


Vacancy Description

The Ministry of Defence is looking to appoint a Chair to the Nuclear Research Advisory Council (NRAC). You will be independent of the Ministry of Defence operational activities and will be expected to apply intellectual rigour in support of the NRAC programme.

NRAC provides independent, external, evidence-based advice to the MOD Chief Scientific Adviser (Nuclear) (CSA(N)), MOD Director Warhead (and Senior Responsible Owner, (SRO)), DG Nuclear, and other senior MOD officials as necessary.

Terms of Reference 

NRAC advises upon the UK’s ability to design, certify, manufacture and support an effective and reliable nuclear stockpile in the context of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This includes assessments of effectiveness, resilience and efficiency in terms of:

  • The UK warhead programme
  • The technical capabilities and resources required to support warhead-related activities
  • Strategic arrangements and planning
  • Collaboration with industry, academia, government and international allies.

Role of the Chair

The Council consists of a Chair, a number of Members, and a Secretariat. A variety of technical skills and expertise is required across the Council to enable effective coverage of the Council’s Terms of Reference. The Council’s strategic direction and work programme are reviewed annually by the Chair with input from Members.

Members of the NRAC have a collective responsibility for the operation of the Council. They are expected to apply independent intellectual rigour in support of the NRAC work programme. To carry out its work programme, the Council has mandate to hold meetings with MOD, the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), and other associated agencies and bodies to conduct reviews, receive presentations, attend facility tours, and participate in other activities related to the Terms of Reference. NRAC outputs are delivered in the form of written reports and letters, supplemented with meetings and briefings with stakeholders. The Chair is the principal for the Council with the following responsibilities:

  • Recommends the recruitment of new Members such that the Council maintains a balance of skills and expertise necessary to fulfil its terms of reference.
  • Defines NRAC’s strategic direction.
  • Approves all NRAC interactions and activities.
  • Support development of the NRAC work programme by identifying topics for review (understanding the strategic aim, and why those topics are important), what the key questions are and what part of the UK Warhead programme they affect.
  • Contributes to NRAC’s Annual Report and leads the outbrief to CSA(N) and the SRO, approves all other written outputs and briefings.
  • Engage fully in collective consideration of the issues, taking account of the full range of relevant factors, including any guidance issued by the sponsor department or the responsible minister.
  • Ensures that Council Members (and the Council as a whole) comply at all times with the Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies and with the rules relating to the use of public funds and to conflicts of interest.
  • Respond appropriately to complaints, if necessary with reference to the sponsor department.
  • Ensure that the Council does not exceed its powers or functions.

The Council is assisted by MOD officials, including the Defence Nuclear Organisation (DNO) who act as the sponsor department and provide the Secretariat.

NRAC formally reports through the Chair to the MOD Chief Scientific Adviser (Nuclear) (CSA(N), MOD Director Warhead (and Senior Responsible Owner (SRO)), DG Nuclear and other senior MOD officials as necessary, and has formal access via CSA(N) to the Secretary of State (SofS) to whom the Council is accountable.

Communications between the Council, CSA(N) and the SRO will generally be through the Chair, except where the Council has agreed that an individual member should act on its behalf. Nevertheless, any Council member has the right of access to CSA(N) and to the SRO on any matter which he or she believes raises important issues relating to his or her duties as a Council Member. In such cases the agreement of the rest of the Council should normally be sought

Person Specification

Candidates will be required to provide the Ministry of Defence Chief Scientific Adviser Nuclear (CSA(N)) and the appointed Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for the Nuclear Warhead Capability Sustainment Programme with objective, rigorous analysis of the UK’s capability to design and manufacture nuclear warheads in support of the UK’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent (CASD). The successful candidate should bring a board-level track record of leadership, and evidence of strategic decision making in the delivery of large, complex programmes involving government, private industry and international partners.

Essental criteria:

  • Experience of operating as a Chair of a senior Board or Committee, with an understanding of corporate collegial behaviour and the ability to provide constructive challenge and independent judgement.
  • Strong analytical and communication skills with the ability to manage complex, interdisciplinary discussions with government officials and their delivery entities.
  • Direct experience of delivering complex, bespoke, high-risk technical programmes within a highly regulated environment.

Desirable criteria:

  • A good understanding of the UK nuclear deterrent.
  • A good understanding of the importance of international collaboration in delivering a programme in the defence enterprise.

An understanding of the underpinning technical and scientific capabilities needed to deliver the UK warhead programme

Additional Information

The sift and interview panel will consist of:

Panel Chair – DNO Director, Warhead

Panel Member 1 – CSA(N)

Panel Member 2 – DNO Deputy Director Warhead Capability

Independent Panel Member – Member of MoD Senior Selection Board

The Guaranteed Interview Scheme Declaration Form is also attached to this advertisement and applicants may complete and submit this form along with the rest of their application.

How to Apply

In order to apply please attach the following documents:

  1. A CV with your education and professional qualifications and full employment history.
  2. An accompanying Supporting Letter (maximum 2 pages, font 12) – setting out how you meet each of the essential and desirable criteria set out on pages 4. You should provide specific examples that demonstrate how your knowledge and experience matches each of the criteria, and which describe what your role was in achieving a specific result. Please ensure your full name is clearly noted at the top of your letter.
  3. Please complete the Public Appointment Monitoring Form. Monitoring information will not be disclosed to anyone involved in assessing your application. This form includes:
  • Personal information form
  • Diversity monitoring questionnaire;
  • Political activity declaration;
  1. Expression of Interest Form – attached;

All forms should preferably returned as email attachments to before the closing date and quoting reference 25447.

All applications will be acknowledged within 3 working days of receipt. For any further information you can also call 030679 84917 / 85048.

25447_Info_pack_NRAC Chair Recruitment-O
NDPB_Diversity Form
Guaranteed Interview Scheme Declaration
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