Infection Prevention and Control Research Specialist

UK Health Security Agency


At the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) our mission is to provide health security for the nation by protecting from infectious disease and external hazards. We are a trusted source of advice to government and to the public, focusing on reducing inequalities in the way different communities experience and are impacted by infectious disease, environmental hazards, and other threats to health.

Our mission is challenging, innovative and in the spotlight. We will work to ensure our people have the diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds we need to thrive, that our employees are representative of the communities we serve and feel valued and enabled to play their part in delivering our work. Creating our working culture is an ongoing process which we are developing by listening and learning together, hearing and acting upon diverse voices and opinions to develop a common sense of identity and effective ways of working.


London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is renowned for its research, postgraduate studies and continuing education in public and global health.

Our mission is to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide; working in partnership to achieve excellence in public and global health research, education and translation of knowledge into policy and practice.

We embrace and value the diversity of our staff and student population and seek to promote equity, diversity and inclusion as essential elements in contribution to improving health worldwide. We believe that when people feel respected and included, they can be more creative, successful, and happier at work. While we have more work to do, we are committed to building an inclusive workplace, a community that everyone feels a part of, which is safe, respectful, supportive and enables all to reach their full potential.

The UK Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHRST)

Launched in 2016, the UK-PHRST is an innovative government-academic partnership funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and co-led by UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), with a consortium of academic and implementing partners in the UK and internationally. It is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of public health professionals and researchers with a novel integrated triple-remit of outbreak response, research and capacity strengthening to prevent and control epidemics of infectious diseases in countries eligible for UK Official Development Assistance (ODA). Both institutes contribute and are responsible for delivery of the UK-PHRST triple mandate across outbreak response, research and capacity strengthening, with LSHTM leading the research programme and UKHSA who lead the outbreak response.

The UK-PHRST has the following objectives:

1. Support partners in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) to prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond rapidly to disease outbreaks, with the aim of stopping a public health threat from becoming a health emergency

2. Identify research questions with partners and deliver rigorous research with partners that improves the evidence base for best practice in disease outbreak prevention, detection, and response in LMICs

3. Support the development of in-country capacity for an improved and rapid national response to prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks

The UK-PHRST is a multidisciplinary team that includes a range of technical skillsets from across public health, core programme/operational management, and senior leadership.

Joining the UK-PHRST is conditional to:

· Satisfactory completion of an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check

· National Vetting System Security Clearance (Security Check). Individuals must either have a pre-existing Security Clearance or be able to obtain and maintain one for the duration of their employment with the UK-PHRST.

· Being declared medically ‘fit for deployment’ prior to placement. All medical appointment records will be confidentially retained in line with UKHSA information governance policies.

· Completing the UK-PHRST mandatory training programme.


The Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Research Specialist, as a key member of the multi-disciplinary team, will provide operational delivery of the IPC research function of the UK-PHRST alongside the UK-PHRST Senior IPC Specialist and IPC Nurse.

The post holder will develop and manage a robust research and capacity strengthening portfolio to inform and improve future outbreak responses in Low and Middle-Income Countries in alignment with UKPHRST strategic goals and implementation plan.

They will be required to develop and conduct rapid operational research in support of outbreak response, in collaboration with other members of the UKPHRST and partners. They will also coordinate planned research and capacity strengthening activities. Successful applicants will demonstrate an ability to work flexibly according to fast changing situations, while ensuring academic rigour.

The post holder will work with collaborators across UKHSA, LSHTM and other academic partners, other government departments and global research institutions to deliver UKPHRST research and provide an evidence base for effective outbreak preparedness and response. The post holder will require an understanding of IPC and generic health protection skills in addition to excellent research skills.

They will be expected to travel to LMICs to conduct research and capacity strengthening on behalf of the UK-PHRST. The post holder should anticipate spending up to 40% their time overseas. They will also spend some time in the UK on teaching, training and operational research.

Positive communication and team building skills will be essential to support team dynamics and to maintain and develop good working relations with multiple partners both in the UK and overseas.

The post holder will be employed by UKHSA with an honorary contract with LSHTM. The successful applicant will be expected to work closely with both institutions and build collaborative multidisciplinary relationships with key stakeholders across their scope of work.

Responsibilities section:


• Develop research projects to complement the IPC evidence base, specifically related to public health surveillance, outbreak and infectious disease control, in alignment with the UKPHRST research plan.

• Conduct research using both qualitative or quantitative approaches to answer research questions in the most effective way.

• Perform rapid review of literature using systematic, mapping or alternative approaches.

• Develop comprehensive proposals independently or in collaboration with partners.

• Conduct all required academic procedures and processes including academic steering committee review, IRB review and finance reports.

• Analyse datasets with appropriate methodology to answer research questions.

• Deliver a range of high-quality written outputs including reports and peer-review manuscripts.

• Present data at scientific conferences, meetings and in other fora.

• Maintain active participation with the LSHTM and other academic partners and networks.


· Develop rapid research proposals in response to urgent questions identified with partners.

· Conduct research in the context of outbreak responses in LMICs.

· Develop and deliver capacity strengthening activities to support outbreak response.

· Support analysis of assessments of IPC capacity during outbreaks utilising predefined tools other evidence-based approaches.

· Support reviews of IPC training needs of healthcare workers and the wider community, based on health needs assessments.

· Contribute to evidence reviews commissioned by UK-PHRST, WHO, other partners and Ministries of Health where relevant.

· Conduct monitoring and evaluation of research programmes or other outputs, using formal tools or other evidence-based methods.

Partnership Working

• Build and nurture key relationships with a wide range of individuals and stakeholders and take responsibility for the maintenance of professional networks relevant to role.

• Employ highly effective communication, negotiation and influencing skills to enable stakeholder relationships with:

– Internal leaders and staff, to gain input to the development of systems, processes and activities;

– External organisations and wider stakeholders to ensure collaboration in the required response.

• Deal with complex and potentially conflicting subject matter problems on a daily basis, in meetings, one-to-one communications and other events, across various parts of the programme.

Capacity Strengthening, Teaching and Training

• Collaborate with the Senior IPC Specialist and Capacity strengthening lead to align activities with strategic direction of the UKPHRST.

• Develop and deliver evidence-based teaching resources and activities on research skills and IPC for colleagues, partners and other audiences as required.

• Contribute to training programmes for in-country staff, UKHSA staff, UK-PHRST reserve cadre and Specialist Trainees in the Faculty of Public Health training scheme as appropriate, and to the training of public health and health care professionals and practitioners across theatres of engagement.

• Ensure appropriate evaluation mechanisms are in place, including feedback, audit and lessons learnt.

Management and Leadership

• Lead, coordinate and develop IPC research areas of work as agreed with the Senior IPC Specialist.

• Ensure day-to-day operational delivery of the UK-PHRST’s IPC research function, planning and managing the human, financial and physical resources required to deliver outputs.

• Direct, design and undertake monitoring and audit as part of a system of governance and quality improvement activity across the IPC programme.

• Support the development of IPC policies and protocols through evidence synthesis, in conjunction with team members.

• Contribute to proactive and responsive media issues.

• Delegate responsibility where appropriate, using a range of leadership approaches and skills.

• Actively manage and support the development of team members, including reservists, through appraisal, coaching and mentoring.

• Contribute actively to the development and implementation of the UK-PHRST strategic framework and three year research plan.

Essential Criteria:

It is important through your application and Statement of Suitability of no more than 1,500 words that you give evidence and examples of proven experience of each of the following criteria:


· Master’s, or PhD in a related subject, or evidence of experience equivalent to PhD level practice

· Knowledge and understanding of health protection/ IPC during outbreaks or other public health emergencies and experience in delivering a range of research projects in this field nationally and internationally

· Strong understanding of strengths and limitations of different research methodologies, including rapid assessments, operational research and proficiency in the use of data analysis software such as STATA and NVivo.

· Highly effective verbal, written and presentation communications skills; capable of constructing and delivering clear ideas and concepts concisely

· Ability to interpret, analyze and disseminate complex and/or sensitive information in a concise yet insightful way, pre-empting and evaluating issues and recommending appropriate course of action(s) to large and influential groups

· Proven ability to work independently, as well as art of a research team, and ability to meet research deadlines.

· Ability to prioritise own work effectively as well as the ability to direct activities of others including managing and motivating a team and providing professional supervision.

· Must be prepared to travel and work effectively in challenging environments including remote areas.

· Demonstrate appreciation and acknowledgment of the range and complexities of diversity; self-awareness in terms of emotional intelligence, biases and personal triggers; cultural competence – cultural sensitivity and awareness


· Project management qualifications e.g. AGILE or equivalent experience of working at this level

· Experience of developing and delivering training programmes on a wide range of topics to different audiences.

· Ability to communicate (speak/read) at a working level in other languages, such as French, Portuguese, and/or Arabic

· Proven ability to build trusted stakeholder relationships networks in a politically sensitive and/or changing environment and ability to handle challenging issues pro-actively with problem solving

Working for the UKHSA

For more information on the UKHSA please visit: UK Health Security Agency – GOV.UK (


  • Learning and development tailored to your role
  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
  • A Civil Service pension with an average employer contribution of 27%
  • Range of health and wellbeing support

Any move to UKHSA from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. This includes moves between government departments. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at Childcare Choices 30 Hours Free Childcare, Tax-Free Childcare and More Help with Costs GOV.UK

Selection process details

Your Statement of Suitability (no more than 1,250 words) should outline your skills, experience, and achievements, providing evidence of your suitability for the role, with reference to the essential criteria (outlined in the person specification section).

You will also be asked to provide information within the ‘Employer/ Activity history’ section of the application form. This is equivalent to the information you would provide on a CV, setting out your career history.


You will be required to complete an application form. This will be assessed in line with the advertised essential criteria – please do provide evidence of how you meet this.

If you are successful at this stage, you will progress to an interview.


This competition will involve an interview by video.

As part of the process, candidates will be invited to interview which will involve an in-depth discussion of your previous experience and professional competence in relation to the criteria set out in the Person Specification.

The competency frameworkwill be used to assess and recruit the most suitable candidate. The following behaviours will be used at the interview:

Civil Service Competency Framework 2012-2017

  • Seeing the big picture
  • Making effective decisions
  • Collaborating and partnering
  • Building capability for all
  • Achieving commercial outcomes
  • Delivering value for money

Expected Timeline: Go Live 16/03

Advert close: 23:55hrs on 30th March 2023 – unfortunately, late applications will not be considered. Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Interviews: w/c 17/04/2023

Please note these dates could be subject to change.

Eligibility Criteria

Open to all external applicants (anyone) from outside the Civil Service (including by definition internal applicants)

Nationality requirements

Appointments to roles within UKHSA will be made in accordance with the Civil Service nationality rules. These can be found at This job is broadly open to the following groups:

· UK nationals

· Nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK

· Nationals of the Republic of Ireland

· Nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)

· Relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service

· Relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service

· Certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission’s Recruitment Principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities. As such, we run a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment.

Security clearance level requirement

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 Basic Personnel Security Standard. People working with government assets must complete Basic Personnel Security Standard checks.

For posts on UKHSA Civil Service terms and conditions, new entrants to the Civil Service are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band. For existing Civil Servants and roles advertised across government, the rules of transfer apply, i.e., level transfers move on current salary or the pay range minimum, transfers on promotion move to new pay range minimum or receive a 10% increase. Either case is determined by whichever is the highest.

Please Note

This role is to be appointed under Civil Service Terms & Conditions. Full details on the T&C’s are found

Are you already a civil servant, or employed by a Civil Service Commission accredited public body? Please state home department on your application form.

Do you meet the nationality requirements for this post?

How to apply

Please use this link to apply:

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