Interim Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation: Chair

Body: Interim Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation
Appointing Department: Department for Culture, Media & Sport
Sectors: Culture, Media & Sport, Science & Technology
Location: Westminster, London
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The appointment will be remunerated at an appropriate rate.
Time Requirements: The time commitment for this position is expected to be 2-3 days a week, for a period of up to 2 years (the precise time limit will be determined by the establishment of the permanent Centre).

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


Vacancy Description

The UK government is looking to appoint a Chair to lead the interim Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. The interim Chair will have a unique opportunity to shape the early phase of the Centre’s work, as well as help to establish the permanent Centre on a firm and credible footing.

Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation

Advances in the uses of data are transforming our lives in positive and powerful ways. From our health, our economic productivity and our everyday social interactions, data-driven technologies are having profound consequences across all aspects of our lives. The associated economic benefits are huge and growing, with estimates suggesting that the uptake of AI technologies could add up to 10 per cent to GDP by 2030.

These developments, which overall are hugely positive, also give rise to new and sometimes unfamiliar ethical and economic challenges. Increasingly sophisticated algorithms can glean powerful insights, which can be deployed in ways that influence or even manipulate the decisions we make, or target the services and resources we receive. Moreover, new economic models are emerging, with data at their core, giving rise to questions around how we best incentivise and facilitate innovative, efficient and fair use of data.

Our task is to harness this technology for the common good: to promote its benefits, support innovation, and mitigate the risks so it works for all. For the UK to lead the world in digital and data-driven technologies, we must ensure we have a governance regime that fully supports both ethical and innovative uses of these technologies. The UK already benefits from a world-class regulatory regime. We must build on this by ensuring we understand and respond to the rapidly evolving ways in which uses of data are impacting our lives.

This is why, at Autumn Budget 2017, the UK government announced the creation of a new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. The Centre will advise on the measures we need to enable and support safe, ethical and ground-breaking innovation in AI and data-driven technologies. It will seek to ensure that our governance, rules and regulations consider public concerns around data driven technologies, and address businesses’ needs for greater clarity and certainty around data use.

It is important that we move quickly to address these objectives. That is why the government has decided to set the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation up immediately in an interim form. The interim Centre will start work on key issues straight away and its findings will be used to inform the final design and work programme of the permanent Centre, which we intend to establish on a statutory footing in due course. A public consultation on the the permanent Centre will be launched soon.

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation will have a bold and ambitious remit. Through its work, it will ensure the government can support responsible and innovative uses of data in the UK, based on credible and independent advice. It will build public confidence, provide certainty for business and, ultimately, help maximise the exceptional potential of AI and data for our society and economy.

Role Description

The Chair’s main areas of responsibility will be to:

  • establish the interim Centre, driving its development and ensuring the appropriate structures are put in place to deliver strong and timely progress on the work programme;
  • direct the board members’ input, harnessing their expertise, skills and experience and building consensus around the Centre’s recommendations;
  • provide strategic leadership to the working groups and wider Centre staff;
  • deliver expert, impartial advice to government;
  • engage with and lead the global debate on harnessing data technologies for the common good;
  • represent the Centre in external engagement, building constructive relationships with top-level stakeholders across government, public bodies including regulators, industry, civil society and academia;
  • represent the Centre in communications with the public and media;
  • propose future priorities for the work programme to the Secretary of State.

Person Specification

  • The ability to lead a pioneering advisory body with a far-reaching and internationally important remit;
  • The ability to deliver strategic and inclusive leadership, and provide a clear mission, at board level and across the wider organisation;
  • The ability to influence and build relationships with a range of stakeholders at the highest levels, nationally and internationally;
  • an excellent public communicator and ambassador, able to explain high-profile and complex issues, technical or ethical, in a compelling and accessible way;
  • an interest in and, ideally, experience of the challenges, opportunities and ethical issues posed by rapidly developing technologies, and the breadth of vision and intellect to understand the central issues.

Additional Information

The successful candidate would ideally start as soon as possible, but the time commitment may need to be phased subject to their other commitments.

All candidates for the position will be required to declare any conflicts of interest and be ready to subscribe the seven Principles of Public Life.

The board meetings and staff of the Centre will be located within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The interim Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation will have the status of an Expert Advisory Committee. Appointments to the interim Centre will therefore not be OCPA-regulated. However, the appointments process will follow the guidelines set out in the Cabinet Office Governance Code for Public Appointments.

How to Apply

To apply for this role please submit the following to

  • A comprehensive CV setting out your career history, with responsibilities and achievements.
  • A covering letter (maximum two sides) explaining your interest, highlighting your suitability and setting out how you meet the person specification;
  • Details of two referees, specifying in what capacity and over what period of time they have known you. Referees will not be contacted without your prior consent;
  • Diversity monitoring form (attached). Your data will be stored separately from your application and will at no time be connected to you or your application;
  • Conflicts of interest form (attached).


The deadline for applications is 28 February 2018.


If you have any further questions about the role please contact us at

Conflicts of Interest Form
Diversity Monitoring Form
EOI Role Specification

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

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