Wanted: Chief Scientific Advisor for MI5

The British Security Service, MI5, is looking for a Chief Scientific Advisor. When I saw this on the BBC News Web site, I first wondered why they didn’t have anyone in this role already. Could Q from the Bond films be so fictional that he didn’t have a real-world counterpart? Reading further, though, they’re not really looking for a Q (I hope they already have one). Instead,they want someone who can provide advice on real-world issues where science and security meet, such as chemical or biological weapons. (I’m still wondering why they don’t have someone doing that already.)

The Security Service, more commonly known as MI5, is the UK’s security intelligence agency. It is responsible for protecting the country against covertly organised threats to national security. In addition, it provides security advice to a range of other organisations, helping them to reduce their vulnerability to threats.
We are looking for a Chief Scientific Adviser to lead and co-ordinate the scientific work of the Security Service so that the Service continues to be supported by excellent science and technology advice. Candidates for this unique and challenging role will need to have:
• World-class scientific expertise and credibility in relevant scientific and technology disciplines.
• Excellent strategic skills.
• Outstanding influencing and communication skills.
• Experience of building an effective network and of creating a high quality team.
• A successful track record of managing critical projects and processes in a complex environment.
The role will require a 2-3 day a week commitment.
To be eligible to apply, you must meet our residency criteria. You must be a born or naturalised British Citizen and one of your parents must be a British Citizen or have substantial ties to the UK. Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for 9 out of the last 10 years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. You will nonetheless be considered if you have, for example, served overseas with HM Forces or in some other official capacity as a representative of Her Majesty's Government, studied abroad, or lived overseas with your parents.
Due to vetting requirements you will need to be 18 years old, or above, to apply. Your application may take around 6 months to process.
Discretion is important to the Service, so please only discuss this application with your partner and/or immediate family.
For further information and how to apply go to http://appointments.egonzehnder.com or request an application pack by telephone at 020 7943 4876.
Applications must arrive no later than close of business on 24 April 2009.
To find out more about the Security Service please visit the website at www.mi5.gov.uk
The Security Service is committed to reflecting both equal opportunities and the society we protect.

Get the latest Science stories in your inbox.