Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology - Co-Chair

Body: Council for Science and Technology
Appointing Department: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sector: Science & Technology
Location: London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: No
Time Requirements: The Co-Chair is expected to commit between two and three days per month to the work of the CST. The Co-Chair is expected to attend quarterly meetings with some work outside these meetings.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift

    w/c 14/12/20. Please note this is subject to change.

  • Final Interview Date

    w/c 25/01/21. Please note this is subject to change.

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Organisation:  

The Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology (CST) is the Government’s top-level advisory body on science and technology issues. It reports directly to the Prime Minister on matters of science and technology that cut across the responsibilities of government departments. It is co-chaired by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and an independent appointee.  

The SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) pandemic has highlighted the importance of science and technology in facing a challenge of such epic proportions, and in building a robust, sustainable, and equitable recovery plan for the UK, post Covid.  

The Government is seeking to appoint a new Independent Co-Chair for the Council for Science and Technology.   

The Government will appoint an Independent Co-Chair who will share responsibility for chairing the Council with the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA).   

The Independent Co-Chair will carry a key responsibility for promoting CST’s profile both within and outside Government and being the outward spokesperson and advocate for CST. Other primary responsibilities will include:   

  • charting the course of the CST work programme;   
  • working and liaising with Government, the GCSA, Ministers and officials;  
  • agreeing agendas for meetings with the GCSA, and;   
  • guiding the Secretariat to move forward CST’s business at and between meetings.   


Another important responsibility of the Independent Co-Chair is to act as the outward spokesperson of CST, raising its profile within and outside Government in order to maximise the impact of its advice.   

The role will be supported by the CST Secretariat based in the Government Office for Science.   

The role of the Independent Co-Chair is to coordinate the work of the CST members and the secretariat to develop robust advice to the Prime Minister, which will be jointly signed by the Independent Co-Chair and the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, on:   

  • the opportunities and risks that science, technology and disruptive innovation present; using horizon scanning to highlight issues about:  
  • research and science capability;  
  • innovation and the economy;  
  • health and quality of life within the UK;  
  • sustainable development and resilience;  
  • how science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) can be developed and sustained in the UK; this can be through education and skills, and the promotion of international co-operation;  
  • what the government’s high-level priorities for science and technology should be. 


The Independent Co-Chair will be expected to actively lead work that provides useful advice to the PM. This may involve: 

  • Project scoping: forming subgroups to define project scopes, involvement in discussions with officials, stakeholders and at CST meetings and putting forward new ideas; 
  • Stakeholder engagement: advising on relevant expertise, attending meetings with stakeholders across government, academia and industry, participating in conference calls and using existing networks to inform advice;  
  • Working with other members and the secretariat to develop a final output to the Prime Minister and other senior figures in government: providing input and advice, reviewing and commenting on drafts and approving final versions; 
  • Consulting regularly with Government on its work programme; and, 
  • On the occasion that advice is required urgently the CST Independent Co-Chair may act on the behalf of the CST.  


Person Specification

The Government will be seeking applications senior figures with a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) background. Individuals must have a track record of outstanding achievement as a researcher or innovator in a science and technology field. Individual disciplines are, however, less important than the ability to provide a well-grounded ‘big picture’ perspective on a wide variety of STEM policy issues.   

Essential skills and experience:    

  • As a top researcher or innovator in your field you will have significant leadership experience and be able to build constructive working relationships with senior figures from government, industry and academia. You may come from a top position in academia, commerce or industry or public service, usually at the level of chief executive, vice chancellor, or equivalent senior leadership role and have the personal stature and credibility to lead and represent a body which advises the Prime Minister;  
  • Ability to handle complex and sensitive issues across a range of science, technology and engineering related topics and be able to bring together a range of perspectives and lead development of evidence-based solutions;  
  • Excellent chairing skills, able to demonstrate the independence necessary for the role, whilst valuing a wide range of inputs and experience; and,   
  • Outstanding communication skills including the ability and willingness to act as the outward spokesperson for CST, to engage with relevant organisations that could inform CST’s work and to be actively involved in the promotion of CST’s profile.    


Desirable skills and experience:    

  • Ability to take a strategic perspective with an understanding of, and the ability to take, a ‘big picture’ view of relevant issues;   
  • The ability to translate between viewpoints and ways of working from an internal Government and external non-Government perspective; and,    
  • Personal and political sensitivity in the consideration and handling of issues with colleagues, Government and external parties. 


Additional Information

The closing date for applications is 22nd November at 23:00.

Late CVs and supporting statements received after 23:00 on the closing date will not be accepted.

Please tailor your application to meet specifically the criteria listed.

If you are shortlisted for the role, due diligence will be carried out and your referees are likely to be contacted.

You will be asked to prepare some identification documents if you are invited to an interview – further information will be provided at that stage.

Interviews are likely to be held remotely through Microsoft Teams.

How to Apply

To apply for this post please:


If you have any queries about the application process, please contact Nadia Toma at



This post is NOT regulated by The Commissioner for Public Appointments.

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