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Operational Researchers

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
Dstl Portsdown West, Fareham, Hampshire, PO17 6AD
£25,052 - £54,683
Closing date
18 Sep 2022

Job Details


Dstl Portsdown West, Fareham, Hampshire, PO17 6AD

About the job Summary

At Dstl we test, analyse and understand new ways of operating and new capabilities for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in an increasingly challenging future. We are Operational Researchers who use both qualitative and quantitative analytical approaches to inform policy and procurement decisions, supporting strategic and operational decision makers across government.

Our work has impact on defence thinking both now, and far into the future.

Do you have knowledge and experience of applying Operational Research (OR) skills and techniques (such as Data Analysis, Interviews and Workshops, Systems Thinking, Programming, Modelling and Simulation) and the ability to choose and apply the best techniques for the task at hand? We are looking for people to help the MOD make decisions based on good quality, objective evidence which you will provide through leading Operational Research tasks. By applying innovative, critical thinking and analytical skills you will help to identify, quantify and overcome current and future problems facing Defence. 

We need people with a degree or vocational experience in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) discipline and experience in leading small teams. An appropriate postgraduate qualification would be desirable, as would membership/accreditation of a relevant professional body, or knowledge of Defence.

Dstl recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion as people from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas. We are committed to building an inclusive working environment in which each employee fulfils their potential and maximises their contribution. 

We particularly welcome female and ethnic minority applicants and those from the LGBTQI community, as they are under-represented within Dstl at these levels.

Job description

In this role you be working on high-impact, interesting and exciting, customer-facing work strands and build strong networks with our partners.

This work will provide opportunities to work with a range of MOD and cross government partners, wider industry and academia, providing successful applicants routes and opportunities for career progression. You will use your existing skills, but will also enhance your skillset as we are passionate in building your understanding of different techniques through varied training opportunities and hands-on experience. We also champion joining relevant professional membership opportunities, particularly those focussed in OR.

We conduct OR and provide advice to the MOD in a range of areas:

  • Logistics and Medical Support
  • Communications and Command & Control
  • Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance,
  • Cyber
  • Directed Energy Weapons

Whilst you will join a team focussed on one of these areas, you will have the opportunity to work across all of them, broadening your knowledge of Defence. Ideally you will have knowledge of one of these areas. However, if you don’t please don’t let that stop you applying, we can introduce you to these areas.

All roles will be based at Dstl Portsdown West. However, a role at Dstl Porton Down may be considered.

Dstl strongly encourages blended and flexible working. This means working at a mix of our sites and from home. We will empower you to undertake your duties at the most appropriate location for the task, but you must also be aware that for some of our roles (due to classification) the majority of your time will be expected to be on site. You may also be required to travel to other Dstl and MOD sites as required.

Level 4, 5 and 6 roles will require the individual to support a variety of studies across a range of supported programmes. Typically, the role will be split across two or more studies at any one time.

At level 4, you will:

  • Undertake independent pieces of work with minimal guidance or as part of a small team, anticipating and solving non-routine problems in order to contribute to customer deliverables.
  • Build strong networks within Dstl and more widely and be able to effectively communicate your work with stakeholders, including customers.

At level 5, you will:

  • Lead work strands, including crafting and scoping requirements, developing technical approaches, and delivering through others
  • Work collaboratively with Industry and Academia by partnering with them to improve technical quality and ensure outputs meet customer needs

At Level 6, you will:

  • Autonomously guide and direct the work of others in order to ensure delivery and exploitation of high impact science, technology and analysis
  • Provide rigorous review of approach and outputs to ensure the appropriate robustness of research delivered to customers
  • Influence senior partners to ensure cross-government decision-making is underpinned by evidence


We are looking for someone who has:

  • A motivation to apply innovative, critical thinking and problem solving to overcome current and future problems facing Defence
  • The ability to apply a wide range of both hard and soft analytical techniques to a breadth of problems
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to understand requirements and explain findings
  • Experience of building relationships and developing strong networks
  • Self-motivation and ability to work under own initiative, leading tasks and work effectively as part of a team on a number of studies
  •  The ability to work collaboratively (across functional areas, with customers and suppliers)



  • Experience of conducting Operational Research through Qualitative and/or Quantitative Analysis techniques
  • Consultancy and Facilitation
  • Leadership (for L5 and 6 roles)


  • Data Science
  • Systems Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Data Visualisation
  • Soft Systems Modelling and Simulation
  • Modelling
  • Statistics
  • Programming (e.g. R / Python / SQL)

Important Information:
Our work in defence, security and intelligence requires our employees to be UK Nationals  who are able to gain a high level of security clearance to undertake the projects we are involved in to protect us from security threats. For this reason, only UK Nationals will be able to apply for this role. If you are an international or dual-national candidate, and you think you have the skills we need, please consider applying to any of our government, security or defence partners. 

This role will require full UK security clearance and you should have resided in the UK for the past 5 years.  For some roles Developed Vetting will also be required, in this case you should have resided in the UK for the past 10 years.

Work location:
Dstl is strongly encouraging blended and flexible working either at one of our sites or from home or both. We want to empower you to undertake your duties at the most appropriate location for the task, however you will be allocated a Dstl site as a base. You may be required to travel to other Dstl and MoD sites as required.  


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Working Together
  • Changing and Improving
  • Leadership
  • Seeing the Big Picture


We'll provide a great range of benefits including;

Fully flexible working, including alternative working patterns, annualised hours, compressed hours and job share, to name a few.
Flexible Working hours, a 12 month reference period and the ability to bank hours. Up to 37 hours can be taken in any calendar month.
Excellent learning and development to ensure everyone fulfils their potential.
Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks full pay followed by 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid, and paternity leave of 2 weeks full pay.
Chartership and accreditation support.
Generous annual leave, with the ability to buy and sell up to 5 days holiday per year.
A competitive salary. Onsite gyms and restaurants.Staff discounts for high street and online shopping, restaurants and days out.

Our Diversity Networks

Dstl recognises the importance of diversity and inclusion as people from diverse backgrounds bring fresh ideas. We are committed to building an inclusive working environment in which each employee fulfils their potential and maximises their contribution. We have a number of support networks to ensure all employees feel supported at work.

These include the following;

- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Network

- Race, Faith and Culture Network

- Parents and Carer Support Network

- Alternative Working Network

- Gender Equality Network

- New Starters Network

- Enabled Network, for people with visible and non-visible disabilities.


About us

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is the science inside UK defence and security. A proven national asset, Dstl is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) providing world class expertise and delivering cutting-edge science and technology for the benefit of the nation and allies.

Who we are

Dstl is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to science and technology in the defence and security field.

Dstl supplies specialist services to MOD and wider government, working collaboratively with external partners in industry and academia worldwide, providing expert research, specialist advice and invaluable operational support.

We are innovative, collaborative and impactful.

Our responsibilities

Our responsibilities include:

  • supplying sensitive and specialist science and technology services for MOD and wider government
  • providing and facilitating expert advice, analysis and assurance on defence procurement
  • leading on the MOD’s science and technology programme
  • understanding risks and opportunities through horizon-scanning
  • acting as a trusted interface between MOD, wider government, the private sector and academia to provide science and technology support to military operations by the UK and her allies
  • championing and developing science and technology skills across MOD

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