CBR Research Software Engineer

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.

For further information about Dstl please check out our LinkedIn page.

Things you need to know

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

Sifting will take place week commencing the 3rd April 2023 with interviews to be arranged from the 17th April 2023

We want you to have your best chance of success in our recruitment process, so If at any stage of the application process you would like help or assistance please contact the Dstl Recruitment Team dstlrecruitment@dstl.gov.uk and we will do all we can to support you.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.

Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check (opens in a new window).

See our vetting charter (opens in a new window).

People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK nationals only.

This job is not open to candidates who hold a dual nationality.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s recruitment principles (opens in a new window).

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

The Civil Service also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.

Apply and further information

This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.

Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact:

Name: dstl recruitment team

Email: dstlrecruitment@dstl.gov.uk

Recruitment team:

Email: dstlrecruitment@dstl.gov.uk

Further information

Should you wish to raise a formal complaint about the Dstl recruitment process you should email dstlrecruitment@dstl.gov.uk stating the nature of the issue. We will respond within 5 working days.


DSTL profile imageThe Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is the science and technology arm of the Ministry of Defence. As part of the UK Government we do sensitive and specialist work that cannot be done anywhere else. We’re dedicated to keeping the UK safe and secure by using world-leading science and technology. Our work has one aim – protecting lives. Our experts make innovative scientific advancements, sometimes with international impact.

Why work for us
At Dstl, we bring together the best people with the best ideas and apply science and technology in unexpected ways. Our position in defence brings strong links to the armed forces, giving us access and insight to our military personnel and their operational challenges. The solutions we deliver cover everything from long-term research and analysis, through to rapid development in support of current operations with the potential to save lives. Working with other government departments, universities and businesses, we develop battle-winning technologies that support UK military operations – now and into the future.

At Dstl, you’ll find a workforce of respected scientists and professionals who specialize in many different disciplines. We value and champion collaboration, impact and innovation, and we work with some of the most talented professionals and academics in the world. To achieve our goals, we promote and support the use of flexible working patterns to enable staff to enjoy a healthy work/life balance.

We’re always looking for the best technical and scientific minds who are looking for a career with a difference. You’ll need a relevant qualification, a flair for solving problems and a passion for new technologies. Above all, you must want to make a difference now and in the future.

Training and development
We offer an extensive range of technical and professional training that’s relevant for your career and your future ambitions, delivered both in-house and externally. We’ll support you with Chartership and accreditation, and fund up to two professional memberships for you each year.

What we are looking for
Launch your career at Dstl as a:

  • Graduate: if you join Dstl as a graduate you will put theory into practise, applying what you’ve learnt to the real-world problems that we’re solving right now. You will be contributing to important projects and supported by mentors and leading scientists.
  • Student: we have 12- or three-month internships available to experience what a career in science means.
  • Apprentice: we offer apprenticeships, up to degree level, giving you the chance to earn while you learn.

We have a variety of roles advertised on our website all year round as well as graduate and apprenticeship opportunities.

UK; Porton Down (Salisbury, Wiltshire), Portsdown West (Fareham, Hampshire)

Number of employees

Positions recently recruited for
Graduate engineer, graduate scientist, graduate statistician, graduate operational researcher and analyst, graduate project manager, analysts, scientist, engineer, cyber, software

Desired degree disciplines/class
A STEM degree

UK national and eligibility to work in the UK (for security clearance purposes)

How to apply
Apply online at www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk and search for Dstl

Closing date
All year round. Graduate and apprenticeships recruitment every autumn/winter

Tel +44 (0)1980 950000
E-mail dstlrecruitment@dstl.gov.uk

Find Us
+44 (0)1980 618484
Room G01 Building
5 Porton Down
United Kingdom

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