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Job summary

Main area
Health Protection
G7 National
Fixed term: 9 months (Contract will end on 31/3/22)
Full time - 37.5 hours per week
Job ref
Public Health England
Employer type
Public (Non NHS)
Porton Down or PHE office / Home
Porton Down
£48,859 - £58,769 per annum
Salary period
21/05/2021 23:59

Employer heading

Public Health England logo

COVID-19 Vacancy Principal Mathematical Modeller

G7 National

Public Health England (PHE) is an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care providing; strategic leadership, research, advice and support for Government, local authorities and the NHS in protecting and improving the nation’s health

This is a Non Reserved post under the Civil Service Nationality Rules and is therefore open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals and certain non EEA members. For more information please refer to the supporting documents detailing the Civil Service Nationality Rules.

  • For posts on PHE Civil Service terms and conditions, on appointment the salary is normally the minimum point (see salary range above). This will be dependent on the successful candidate’s current salary and terms and/or equivalent experience. The Civil Service pay structure and progression is different from NHS Agenda for Change, most local authority pay grades and other systems that have annual pay increments. Please see attached an information sheet explaining starting salaries and benefits when joining PHE.
  • For clinically ringfenced AfC or Medical/Dental posts, you must obtain the correct professional registration to be appointed. The pay will follow the AfC or Medical & Dental terms & conditions. You may be asked to provide evidence on previous service whilst we are conducting pre-employment checks to determine starting salaries.

Any moves across the Civil Service may have implications on your ability to carry on claiming childcare vouchers.

Temporary Appointments: If you are external to the Civil Service, you will take up the post on a Fixed Term appointment, if you are an existing Civil Servant, based outside of PHE, you will take up the post as a loan and if you are an existing PHE member of staff, you will take up the post as either a level transfer or a temporary promotion as per PHE’s Pay and Grading policy. If you are an existing Civil Servant, (in PHE or elsewhere) you must have prior agreement from your Line Manager before applying for this post.

Given the nature of the work of PHE, as a Category 1 department, you may be required in an emergency, if deemed a necessity, to redeploy to another role at short notice. You may also be required to work at any other location, within reasonable travelling distance of your permanent home address, in line with the provisions set out in your contract of employment.

We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. To find out more about how we champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, visit: PHE website    

On 18 August 2020, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced plans to establish a new agency (then referred to as the National Institute for Health Protection) to lead on health protection in England and to consult on the best future options for strengthening health improvement and other public health functions in the wider system. On 24 March 2021, the Secretary of State announced the new agency would be called the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), and on 29 March 2021 he announced the creation of the Office for Health Promotion (within the Department of Health & Social Care). Public Health England and many of its employees will be in scope for transition to new organisations in Autumn 2021. Any new or current employees working for Public Health England during this time, will receive appropriate communications and consultation prior to any formal transfer taking place.  Employees who are required to transfer to successor bodies would usually remain on their existing contractual terms and conditions ( with any proposed changes being subject to consultation) and this applies both to current employees and those recruited during the transition.  The recruitment, growth & development of our workforce is vital for the continuing success of PHE, and the future UK Health Security Agency and Office for Health Promotion.

To be eligible for employment in the UK Civil Service applicants must meet the Civil Service Nationality Rules (CSNRs) which operate independently and additionally to the Immigration Rules. Applicants must also meet necessary security and vetting requirements, along with any other relevant pre-employment checks.

As from 1 January 2021 broadly the following groups may be eligible to work in non-reserved posts within the Civil Service:

  •        UK nationals
  •        Nationals of Commonwealth countries
  •        Nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  •        EEA nationals with (or eligible for) status under the EUSS
  •        Relevant EEA or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  •        Relevant EEA or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  •        Certain family members of the relevant EU & Turkish nationals

Recruitment teams may wish to include this in job adverts. We would suggest that CS job adverts also include a link to the CSNRs guidance on


Job overview

We are looking to recruit enthusiastic and competent mathematical modellers to join our modelling team within the highly multidisciplinary PHE COVID-19 Modelling Team. This group exists to co-ordinate the modelling and analytical tasks required for the PHE public health response to COVID-19, including the provision of timely, quantitative advice both within PHE and to wider UK government via the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M).

As a successful applicant for these roles you will be help strengthen and enhance the Modelling Team's work through academic collaboration, scientific publication and the construction and refinement of models and software. You are likely to be involved in a wide range of different mathematical, statistical and computational techniques, including epidemic modelling and data analysis.

We recruit people from a wide range of backgrounds and career histories and prize enthusiasm and adaptability. 

Main duties of the job

  • Provide a lead role in the assessment, development and application of appropriate mathematical and statistical modelling methods to address a range of public health challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Review and investigate the epidemiological modelling and infectious disease research literature to help inform pandemic response
  • Produce specialist technical reports and peer-reviewed publications
  • Work closely with other members of the Modelling Team in the integration and dissemination of the above tools and data to provide a core government and emergency response capability



Working for our organisation

This multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder modelling team forms part of Public Health England’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Team consists of core PHE staff, academic colleagues and colleagues from across a wide range of other government departments
  • Provides epidemiological infectious disease modelling analyses and advice across a range of modelling and statistical disciplines to inform policymakers and other stakeholders, including around the effectiveness of interventions, optimal testing and vaccination strategies for transmission mitigation in a variety of settings, e.g. schools, prisons and care homes.

Detailed job description and main responsibilities

Your background:

  • A first degree in a highly numerate subject (or significant equivalent experience)
  • Post-graduate or equivalent substantial industrial experience in the use and application of mathematical and/or statistical modelling
  • Significant experience and proven track record in one or more of the following techniques: Bayesian statistics, stochastic simulation techniques, mathematical model development, parameter estimation, predictive modelling, probability distribution theory, uncertainty propagation
  • R, Python experience, or similar
  • Ability to present and communicate complex information in a clear way to a variety of audiences
  • Good interpersonal skills, team player and experience of collaborative working

We welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including groups currently underrepresented in our workforce and pride ourselves as being an employer of choice. 


Person specification

Knowledge and experience

Essential criteria
  • Significant postgraduate practical experience in applied mathematical modelling, preferably several year’s post doctoral experience
  • Experience directly related to one or more of the following fields: microbiological risk analysis, epidemiology, mathematical modelling of infectious disease
  • Proven track record in applied mathematical/statistical methodologies (e.g. publications/reports)
Desirable criteria
  • Particular experience in several of the following highly desirable: Spatio-temporal models, Monte Carlo and stochastic simulation techniques, predictive modelling, spatial statistics, ecological or environmental modelling, state transition models, demographic modelling, numerical methods and simulation, sensitivity and scenario analysis, analysis of non-linear dynamical systems

Skills and capabilities

Essential criteria
  • Good computer literacy (WP, spreadsheets, WWW, email)
  • Proficiency in the application of maths and software solutions to the interpretation of data
  • Excellent formal report writing
  • Good liaison with maths modelling and infectious disease specialists
  • Setting up and maintaining collaborations with well-established maths modelling groups
  • Specialist programming and software skills (Java, C, C++, Fortran, etc.)
  • Knowledge of infectious disease processes
  • Understanding of epidemiology
  • Mathematical modelling of biological systems
  • Excellent communication skills written, verbal, phone.
  • Team Player inside and outside of own Team
Desirable criteria
  • Highly desirable - Leading research/service delivery teams
  • Risk Analysis and Assessment
  • Risk Communication
  • Organising Meetings/Workshops
  • GIS (preferably ESRI)
  • Drafting funding applications

Equality and diversity

Essential criteria
  • An understanding of and commitment to equality of opportunity and good working relationships, both in terms of day-to-day working practices, but also in relation to management systems


Essential criteria
  • First Degree in Mathematics/Statistics or related discipline involving high mathematical/statistical content
  • Higher degree or substantially equivalent experience in the application of mathematical computational modelling or statistics (preferably PhD).
Happy to Talk Flexible WorkingPurple SpaceApprenticeships logoNo smoking policyMindful employer.  Being positive about mental health.Improving working livesAge positiveDisability confident employerThe Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei) is the UK's leading employer network covering all aspects of equality and inclusion issues in the workplace.

Documents to download

Apply online now

Further details / informal visits contact

Emma Bennett
Job title
Technical Lead
Email address
Additional information


Apply online now