top of page

Civil Servant (in the UK)

Oct 11, 2023

Last Updated

Policy and Governmental Roles

Please note that there are many potential impactful roles within the UK government. This particular cheat sheet takes the role of “Director – Science, Research & Innovations” as an example.


Civil servants operate with varying statuses, either as career bureaucrats or regular employees, and are situated within different organizations of the UK government, such as ministries, ministerial cabinets, or public agencies. Civil servants in the UK are generally categorized into three main types: (1) operational delivery, (2) cross-departmental specialisms, and (3) departmental specialisms. Cross-departmental specialisms encompass roles essential across all government departments, including government-specific positions like policy experts which may be particularly impactful for influencing AI policy. Note that this job does not necessarily require UK citizenship.

Example tasks

  • Ensure that the R&D allocated budget is being invested effectively to deliver on government objectives.

  • Collaborate with DSIT and government partners.

  • Lead on innovation systems policy, implementing the UK’s Innovation Strategy.

  • Engage regularly with businesses to review progress of innovation.

  • Sponsor UK Research and Innovation, the largest R&D delivery organization, to ensure it is delivering on its objectives, and the new Advanced Research and Invention Agency.

  • Oversee an analytical team that works closely with policy teams.

  • Provide strategic direction and leadership to an important number of staff.

Why we think this job is impactful

The UK is currently considered as one of the most influential countries pertaining to AI, as explained in the introductory section of this document. Civil servants are often an essential link of the policy-making process in the UK. They often act as middlepeople between interest groups and politicians, who sometimes focus on their own goals without thinking about different viewpoints or policy options. Their role involves offering analytical assistance to the government, aiding in the process of making well-informed decisions to address societal issues, and they provide recommendations or opinions about future courses of government action.

How Successif can help

We have developed a way to assess potential candidate’s fitness for this role and collected sample interview questions that can be asked for this job. We also offer training in policy analysis and negotiation and can help you navigate the UK Civil Service Competency Framework. If you are passionate about mitigating the risks of transformative AI systems and believe you would be a good fit for this role, apply for our career services.

bottom of page