Chief Scientist
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Your team is working with a local authority to eliminate the gap in school-readiness between children on free school meals and the national average. Your role is to ensure that our researchers understand the problem; guide our designers in crafting a solution; and design and run large-scale randomised experiments to test impact. You don’t stop at a single experiment but work with national government and implementation scientists to put the findings into practice - changing the lives of children across the country.

About Nesta

We are Nesta. The UK’s innovation agency for social good. We design, test and scale new solutions to society’s biggest problems, changing millions of lives for the better.

We confront challenges that affect millions of people, from chronic childhood inequality to ill-health and the climate crisis.

We believe that innovation is more possible now than ever before. We see opportunities to mobilise citizens and influence behaviour. A wealth of private and public capital that can be used more creatively. Pools of data to mine.

And so we draw on these rich resources by bringing together multidisciplinary teams: data scientists, designers and behavioural scientists, practitioners at the frontline, academics; and people with lived experience.

Together, we design, test and scale new solutions to society’s biggest problems. We partner with frontline organisations, build new businesses and work to change whole systems. Harnessing the rigour of science and the creativity of design, we work relentlessly to put ideas to the test.

Your role

As Chief Scientist, you will set the methodological standards for our organisation. You will oversee six methodologically distinct ‘practice’ teams of experts - in experiments & evaluation; behavioural science; arts & culture; design; data analytics; and collective intelligence. You will bring these methods together, ensuring they cohere, and provide quality assurance on our work. These teams will work directly on Nesta’s missions and in some cases on projects commissioned by external funders.

You will be responsible for ensuring that our ideas are evidence-based and well-designed; our evaluations are credible; and that we do not overreach in the interpretation of results. Nesta wants to achieve impact by building and scaling solutions that work - you will be critical in helping us do so.

Your responsibilities

  • As a member of our leadership team, you will champion and model our culture; inspire our people; make effective decisions; and support your peers to do the same.
  • Lead and manage Nesta’s practice teams to produce excellent work
  • Work with the Chief Programmes Officer and mission directors to make full use of Nesta’s practices to ensure we produce work of the highest quality and impact.
  • Grow Nesta’s methods by developing them and establishing new practice teams.
  • Act as principal Investigator on externally funded research projects
  • Represent Nesta externally at events and conferences

Minimum qualifications

  • Post graduate degree (preferably PhD) in a discipline or topic relevant to our practices (e.g. data science, statistics, economics, psychology).
  • Published, peer-reviewed research in at least one of our ‘practices’ (experiments & evaluation; behavioural science; arts & culture; design; data analytics; and collective intelligence).
  • Eight or more years’ experience in applied research

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience as a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator in empirical research
  • Ability to translate and explain applied research for non-expert audiences
  • Peer-reviewer level standards on the quality of evidence / research design.
  • Well-versed in statistical methods and techniques
  • Experience leading effective multidisciplinary teams that draw on different methods and approaches
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and motivate others
  • Experience in any of the following fields: early years; health; climate change; economic policy
  • Experience in an executive role with authority for strategic decisions affecting organisational impact, profitability, partnerships, and staffing

What we offer

Nesta offers an array of benefits, including health cash plans, dental insurance, the ability to buy and sell annual leave, eyecare vouchers and more.

Location: Our office is based in London, though we offer flexibility to work remotely

Salary: £96,758

Term: Permanent

Hours: Nesta offers a range of flexible working arrangements and we encourage our people to take advantage of them. Many do.

Reports to: CEO

Making an application

To apply for this role, please submit your application before 8:00am on the 15th of March 2021.

At Nesta, we believe that a diverse workforce leads to an organisation that is more innovative, more creative and gets better results.

We want our workforce to represent the diversity of the people and communities we serve. We also want our workplace to be one where different experiences, expertise and perspectives are valued, and where everyone is encouraged to grow and develop.

This means that when we are recruiting, we actively seek to reach a diverse pool of candidates. It also means that we are happy to consider any reasonable adjustments that potential employees may need to in order to be successful.

We recognise the importance of a good balance between work and home life, so we do everything we can to accommodate flexible working, including working from home, compressed or part-time hours, job shares and other arrangements.

Please just let us know in your application or at any stage throughout the process (and beyond) if these are options you’d like to explore.