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Academic Cyber Systems Safety, Security and Autonomous Algorithm Specialists

Dstl Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 0JQ or Dstl Portsdown West, Fareham, Hampshire, PO17 6AD
£32,626 - £65,117
Closing date
30 Nov 2022

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Job Details

Job summary

Why ‘Academic’ in the Title?

Fancy a change from University Academic Life but still want to be challenged by applied scientific problems…? Dstl has positions for you in our growing cyber and AI capability.  We are offering the choice of permanent or fixed term appointments or for those wanting a short term break from academia, a 2 year secondment (subject to University approval). All either Full or Part Time.

Who are we?

Dstl is the science and technology arm of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). As part of UK Government we do sensitive and specialist work that cannot be done anywhere else!

The Cyber Security & Safety Group hosts a plethora of capabilities each delivering aspects of cyber security and safety with a particular focus on; the science of assurance; cyber resilience and the safety, security and protection of software-intensive mission systems.

The Group consists of highly professional specialists, many with national and World-Class reputations. We range from early career graduates, mid-career specialists, ex-academia and ex-military personnel through to Fellows of Dstl and Chartered Institutes.

We have a number of Charted Institute Professionals and a high percentage of PhD and Masters level academic qualifications. Some of the Group have qualified whilst with us, as we highly value and actively support continuous professional development.

We also highly value and maintain our excellent and prolific Publication capability, both in the Public and Classified domains.

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

What could you do?

The UK must maintain an operational advantage to keep our citizens safe and maintain our prosperity. To support this Dstl conducts targeted research and provides specialist advice. If you join us you could be involved in:

  • Applying the latest thinking in verification and validation of artificial intelligence and autonomous functions for defence and security purposes.
  • Assessing and advising on cyber systems in the Air, Sea and Land domains, ensuring that they are safe, secure and protected.
  • Supporting the delivery of the UK Cyber Strategy by researching the Cyber defence of hardware and software, and by developing tools and solutions.
  • Technically Partnering with Industry and Academia to ensure the very best quality of work is supplied to MOD Delivery Teams.

We're flexible, are you?

We need new minds to provide new insights into cyber. We take a very flexible approach to current skills and experience: detailed knowledge of cyber-related topics is not required; all you need is a logical mind and familiarity with a STEM discipline.

You may be a post-doctoral researcher, a career returner or looking for a mid-career switch. We offer flexible working patterns, including full-time, part-time, job share or (subject to agreement with your current employer) secondment.

We're also flexible on location, being able to support working from home for a large portion of your time.

Solving tomorrow's problems, today.

As the science inside UK defence and security, Dstl is charged with making sure our Armed Forces, and or nation, are not defeated by technology shock. Within the cyber domain, this requires a broad range of people working in multi-disciplinary teams. Our experience shows that new insights from people with non-traditional cyber backgrounds are particularly valuable. To keep ahead, we need continual research, including (subject to classification) publication in peer-reviewed venues.

Can you be right every time?

The challenge with cyber defence is you have to be right all of the time: attackers only have to get lucky once. So, we need a collection of inquisitive minds, drawn from a wide range of disciplines, to provide the all-aspect protection that's needed.

Person specification

Who do we want to recruit?

We want Academic Researchers or Lecturers with a flair for problem solving and a passion for new technologies who are looking for a career with a difference, with research, design, development or engineering experience in the Cyber Safety, Security or AI domains.

This role would suit someone who wishes to get up in the morning knowing they are making a real difference to the safety and security of our Country, not just to some Company’s bottom line.

What Qualifications should you have?

Candidates for this post will ideally have a degree or advanced professional qualification in Computer Science, Information Science, Information Systems, Information Technology, Systems Engineering, Mathematics or a related field.

We are also happy to hear from applicants with non-traditional academic backgrounds such as Philosophy, History etc. or work profiles but with recent & relevant experience or aptitude that you can apply to what we do.

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.



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

Sifting will take place week commencing 5th December with interviews to start week commencing 9th January due to Christmas Leave. Successful applicants will be invited to attend either an online or face to face interview.

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 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 pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is security check.

See our vetting charter.

People working with government assets must complete basic personnel security standard checks.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK nationals only.


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