Defence Science Expert Committee - Chair

Body: Defence Science and Technology
Appointing Department: Ministry of Defence
Sectors: Defence, Education, Energy, Science & Technology, Transport
Location: There is no fixed location for the appointment, however quarterly meetings are held in London and there is likely to be a requirement to visit locations throughout the country.
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The Chair of DSEC is remunerated as follows: • DSEC members £465.00 per day/half day £232.50 plus Travel and Subsistence Allowances.
Time Requirements: 20-25 days. The Committee meets on a quarterly basis in London with additional commitments from members dependent on the schedule of activities that they support.

This is not a ministerial appointment.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Ministry of Defence is looking to appoint 1 Chair. You will be independent of the Ministry of Defence operational activities and have the ability to apply intellectual rigour in support of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA).

Membership of Defence Science Expert Committee (DSEC) is an important and exciting opportunity to contribute to UK-led Defence Science and Technology. DSEC is the MOD key source of independent advice on non-nuclear science, technology, engineering, analysis and mathematics issues. It is an Expert Committee reporting to the MOD CSA and supporting the derivation and delivery of the Department’s Science and Technology Strategy.

DSEC comprises an Independent Chair supported by up to 10 Independent Members drawn from senior academic and industrial communities.  All are specialists in a branch of science, engineering, technology, humanities or medicine of relevance to defence and security and have proven ability in working on Boards or Committees. Senior MOD officials, including CSA, keep the Committee abreast of developments in MOD and facilitate contacts within MOD.

The primary role of DSEC independent members is to provide independent, objective, timely advice and challenges, based on their own knowledge and experience. They are appointed in a personal capacity, not as representatives of their employer or any other organisation. They are all security cleared before being appointed allowing them access to sensitive material

Person Specification

We seek a DSEC Independent Chair who can bring their science and technology experience to bear on defence policy, strategy and uptake of Science & Technology (S&T) outcomes. In addition, the Chair will challenge and provide insight into the S&T commissioned by CSA’s team and delivered via The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the broader defence industry. We invite applications from across the academic and industrial communities.

The Chair will demonstrate a good understanding of how science, technology and innovation across the supply-chain can meet the needs of Defence and the Armed Forces and will provide strong evidence of a number of core skills within a specific area.

In addition, the Chair is the critical link between the Committee and MOD.  The Chair is expected to manage the Independent Members, represent and promote DSEC on the department’s S&T governing body (the Defence Technology and Innovation Board) and at events, and review the approach and findings of DSEC working groups.

PLEASE NOTE: To ensure suitable independence from the MOD, former MOD employees (including its Agencies and the Armed Forces) will not normally be considered for appointment to Committee until at least one year after their MOD employment has ceased.

Essential Criteria:

The Chair

  • will be an academic or professional with an active research portfolio, have a proven intellectual capacity at the highest level and be willing and able to challenge the status quo and advise senior staff at all organisational levels;
  • must be a Fellow of a scientific/technical professional body; and
  • will demonstrate evidence of
  • delivering fundamental research and new thinking in science, technology, medicine or humanities;
  • innovation in thinking, and the application of research to wider contexts and programmes;
  • impact of applying technology and new ideas to business or social outcomes; and
  • achieving successful outcomes within a multidisciplinary Board or Committee environment.

The Chair will demonstrate

  • strong, collegiate interpersonal skills, including the ability to work collaboratively with committee members and senior stakeholders and to actively and constructively contribute to discussions;
  • authority, knowledge, and breadth in their area(s) of expertise, and the ability to apply this to complex and multi-faceted issues of defence relevance;
  • logical and objective thinking to critically analyse, synthesise and evaluate evidence and information from diverse sources, identify key issues and make effective, impartial and balanced decisions; and
  • the ability to challenge established thinking, provide insight and think in a different way about problems related to the future of defence.


Desirable Criteria:

Fellowship of one or more of the following:

  • Academy of Medical Sciences;
  • British Academy;
  • Royal Academy of Engineering; and/or
  • Royal Society.

Additional Information

Occasional travel required.

How to Apply

If you have any queries on the post, require more information, or would like to discuss the role, please contact:

Please contact the DBS Civilian HR department on:  to request an application form.

MOD applies Equal Opportunities principles to its public appointments and particularly welcomes applications from women and ethnic minority groups

20201020 DSEC Chair application form

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

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