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CBR Research Software Engineer

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
Dstl Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ
£25,052 - £50,644
Closing date
2 Apr 2023

Job Details

Job summary

Within the Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) Division our mission is to support the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Other Government Departments to ensure intelligent decision-making is at the heart of the UK government thinking. We work in partnership with the best suppliers from industry, academia and international allies to deliver creative cost effective S&T solutions that reduce the risk CBR materials pose to the UK.

The software role is a key component in supporting the group and wider division on a dynamic and wide range of projects, contributing to a team of specialists delivering critical scientific, analytical and technical advice. We develop and use novel analytical models and techniques and will undertake ground-breaking research and experimentation at the forefront of defence and security research, which is a dynamic and rapidly evolving environment. Quite simply, we believe this is work you cannot do anywhere else and will directly support the defence and security of the UK.

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.

Job description

We have 4 roles open:                                                                                      

Role 1 Graduate Software Engineer                    
Role 2 Research Software Engineer – L4
Role 3 Senior Research Software Engineer – L5
Role 4 Principal Research Software Engineer – L6

These roles sit within the Statistical Data Science and Software Team in the CB Advice Group. The team supports a wide range of projects including the development of cutting edge modelling research and software development for CBRN decision support tools, development of novel statistical analysis and use of cutting edge data science techniques for chemistry and biology unique to Dstl. The software capability provides support across the division providing and developing best practice, providing advice on tools and techniques and helping to oversee technical work with our industry and academic partners.

You will help to increase awareness of best practice of the use and development of software across the group and wider division. Provide advice, develop and adapt software for use in CBR. Work with external partners to ensure work is developed to meet requirements alongside engaging with academics, industry and other government departments

Further details of role descriptions and requirements can be found in the attached role profile document

Person specification

For all our positions we need people who;

  • are driven, motivated and enthused and dedicated to learning new skills and working within a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Have the ability to take ownership for their own work and plan their work to meet project timeframes.
  • Have the desire to apply their technical understanding to problems that are unfamiliar to them.
  • Have strong communication, interpersonal skills and strong attention to detail.
  • Have the ability to respond to changing demands
  • Have experience of working as part of a team and independently

For the Graduate role we are also looking for these desirable skills and experiences:

  • Knowledge of C++, Python, Rust, or Java.
  • Developing software solutions to solve specific problems.
  • Some knowledge of the UK armed forces and/or Defence and Security

For the Research Software Engineer

We are also looking for these desirable skills and experiences:

  • Experience of developing and debugging software.
  • Knowledge of C++, Python, R, Rust, or Java.
  • Developing software solutions to solve complex and novel problems.
  • Using Linux operating systems.
  • Using source code repositories, in particular using Git.
  • Experience of reviewing and providing feedback on code.
  • Some knowledge of the UK armed forces and/or Defence and Security.
  • Knowledge of HPC and cloud based technologies

All requirements for each position are in the attached role profile document.

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.


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

  • Leadership
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Developing Self and Others

Technical skills

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

  • Please indicate which role you are interested and provide the evidence showing you are suitable for this role
  • Please explain what would you bring to this particular role, focusing on your skills and experience relevant in software development


Dstl’s full range of great benefits can be found in the information pack which includes:

  • Financial: An excellent pension scheme starting from 26% employer contribution (find out more here). In Year Rewarding Achievement bonuses and thank you vouchers. Rental deposit scheme and cycle to work scheme. 

  • Flexible working: Working options include alternative working patterns, compressed hours, job shares and annualised hours

  • Flexible working hours: Ability to bank hours in a 12 month reference period including the ability to accrue and use 3 days per calendar month. 

  • Annual leave: A generous annual leave allowance starting at 25 days pro rata (rising to 30 after 5 years) plus 8 public holidays with the ability to buy/sell 5 additional days per annum.

  • Family: Maternity, adoption or shared parental leave of up to 26 weeks with full pay, an additional 13 weeks statutory pay and a further 13 weeks unpaid

  • Learning and Development: Encouragement and support on charterships, accreditations and access to fully funded apprenticeships up to level 7 (Masters Degree). Paid memberships with 2 relevant bodies/institutions. Employees have access to Civil Service Learning.

  • Facilities: Onsite parking, EV Charging points, restaurants, cafés and gyms.

The information pack can be found attached to the job specification on Civil Service Jobs. 


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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