NHS Test and Trace seeks data scientist to ‘work at heart of Covid-19 battle’

Bringing the best data science knowledge and skills in-house could be key to the future effectiveness of NHS Test and Trace

Credit: Fæ/CC BY-SA 4.0

The NHS Test and Trace programme is seeking a data scientist to help lead the use of data and shape policies affecting the nation’s ongoing battle against Covid-19.

Working at the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which provides the central analysis and insight function of NHS Test and Trace, the data scientist will integrate and separate data feeds to produce, transform and test new scalable data products.

The data scientist, who will earn up to £62,286, is likely to create live dashboards to present data and analysis, including performance monitoring for NHS Test and Trace, or indicating changes in infection rates across the UK.

“You will be working with a highly motivated and passionate group of people, who have come together from across the country, to work on the biggest health and economic challenge that our nation has ever faced. You will be working alongside them in an exciting and fast paced environment with an unparalleled opportunity to make your mark on government policy and the future of UK health protection,” the job advert says,

“This is your opportunity to help and make a difference, working at the heart of the battle to defeat Covid-19,” it adds.

Local authorities, directors of public health and Public Health England will be among those using the data products to identify the likelihood of an infection flare-up.

Earlier this year, parliament’s influential public accounts committee criticised NHS Test and Trade for failing to demonstrate the speed of the process from “cough to contact”. It said that, as a result, the public could not judge whether the programme was effective or not.

A report by the committee recognises that NHS Test and Trace had to be set up and staffed at incredible speed, but warns that it must “wean itself off its persistent reliance on consultants and temporary staff”.

As a permanent in-house appointment, the new data scientist should bring a range of skills and expertise to NHS Test and Trace. These include experience of leading and delivering data science analyses and projects, publishing data sets for visualisation and analysis, along with supporting the design of data models and data flow.

They are expected to have an understanding of software best practice, including the use of version control using platforms such as Github. In addition, they need a technical background in Microsoft SQL databases, Microsoft reporting tools and data extraction methods.

“This is an opportunity to help and make a difference, working at the heart of the battle to defeat Covid-19, the biggest health and economic challenge that our nation has ever faced,” said a Joint Biosecurity Centre spokesperson.

Applications for the job close on 6 September.

Sam Trendall

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