Senior Acoustician

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)

Lowestoft, UK
Posted on Friday, January 5, 2024



Job summary

This is an exciting opportunity for a senior scientist to lead on fisheries acoustic monitoring and Research and Development as part of a range of Government, research council and internationally funded projects including the Blue Belt Programme and Fisheries Stock Monitoring Charter and Research Vessel surveys.

You will contribute to Cefas’ acoustic capability by developing, maintaining, and managing a dynamic acoustic science area that contributes to a growing number of (meso) pelagic fisheries studies, including ecosystem surveys and monitoring impacts of windfarms.

You will be responsible for the design and delivery of monitoring initiatives which collect acoustic data on a range of platforms, from our state-of-the-art Research Vessel Cefas Endeavour, recently upgraded to a broadband system, to uncrewed surface vehicles and fixed platforms.

You will have knowledge, practical and technical understanding of fisheries acoustic data collection, calibration, processing and post-processing, experience of working at sea, on both commercial and research vessels. You will lead on the delivery of projects and develop and promote the application of fisheries acoustic technologies to monitor fish and ecosystems.

You will be expected to work with national and international scientific and management organisations making a real impact to marine environmental management and policy.

Cefas is proud of a diverse and inclusive work environment, committed to fairness and the promotion of equality of opportunity for all. We know that having a range of experiences, backgrounds, ways of working and thinking, makes us a stronger organisation, better at reflecting the communities we serve. We embrace different views and experiences and value the fresh perspective that people from a variety of circumstances bring to the work we do. We welcome applications from candidates who have not previously worked for the Civil Service, mid- and late-career changers with transferable skills, people from all backgrounds and circumstances regardless of disability, gender, age, ethnicity, LGBT+ identity and socio-economic status.

Job description

Your main duties and responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • As a Senior Acoustician, your main role will be to provide the organisational capability to develop and manage fisheries acoustic science projects at Cefas. In collaboration with senior and principal scientists, you will lead on delivery of fisheries acoustic monitoring surveys for pelagic fish stock assessments (e.g., IESNS, PELTIC), and develop and lead on acoustic monitoring on multi-disciplinary surveys and initiatives in support of MPA or ecosystem monitoring (e.g. Blue Belt, BEEMS).
  • You will provide the role of senior science lead on the use of fisheries acoustic monitoring technologies and approaches, leading projects as required. You will actively contribute to generating new business in fisheries acoustics with a variety of customers and applications.
  • As part of the scientific development of fisheries acoustic methods, you will be writing scientific papers, reports, leading presentation of results to a range of national and international science meetings and customers, including managers, non-governmental organisations, and stakeholders.
  • You will be expected to work with national and international scientific and management organisations making a real impact to marine environmental management and policy.
  • As part of the role, you will develop and apply the tools and protocols to generate, store and make easily available high-quality fisheries data collected using fisheries acoustics.
  • You will work flexibly and at pace to provide scientific and technical support and solutions to projects and ICES Working Groups, including as Cefas representative.

In addition, Cefas reserves the right to ask staff to take on additional duties and responsibilities which are commensurate with their grade. Team Leaders and management will have a discussion with staff to explain the changes that are to be made. A new job description will be issued if required.

Person specification

The following are essential criteria required for this role and you must be able to demonstrate your skills and experience in the following areas:

  • Seagoing experience on fisheries acoustic surveys, including in leadership position
  • Calibrate echosounders on vessels and/or other platforms
  • Processing of acoustic signal with echo integration software (e.g. Echoview)
  • Post-processing acoustic- and biological data to calculate biomass information (e.g. StoX)
  • R software or equivalent (e.g. Python)
  • Spatial analysis (e.g. QGIS, ArcGis)
  • Statistics (e.g. time series analysis, machine learning)
  • Author peer-review articles and reports
  • Working on research and commercial fishing vessels

The role involves a range of fieldwork, including working offshore, and they will therefore need an excellent understanding of health and safety on research and commercial vessels as well as a detailed knowledge of fishing operations.

In addition, the successful applicant must be able to demonstrate self-motivation and must be able to work with a high degree of autonomy.


A PhD in fisheries acoustics, fisheries ecology, physics or relevant equivalent


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Delivering at Pace
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Leadership

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Delivering at Pace

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • End-to-end understanding of fisheries acoustic technologies
  • Experience of working on research and commercial fishing vessels
Alongside your salary of £39,150, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science contributes £11,353 towards you being a member of the Civil Service Defined Benefit Pension scheme. Find out what benefits a Civil Service Pension provides.
  • Generous annual leave entitlement - Cefas offers 25 days' annul leave on entry (rising to 30 days over first 5yrs) for full-time new entrants to the Civil Service. Employees receive 8 public holidays a year, plus an additional day to mark the late Queen's birthday
  • Access to learning and development tailored to your role
  • A working environment that supports a range of flexible working options
  • A working culture which encourages inclusion and diversity
  • Eligible to join the Civil Service Pension scheme - more information can be found on the CSP website Home - Civil Service Pension Scheme
  • Staff recognition vouchers
  • In-year award scheme

Office Attendance

Cefas expects everyone to spend at least 60% of their working week attending a workplace or working away from home (averaged over a 4-week period). This includes attending Cefas sites, offsite meetings with customers/partners, training, travelling and fieldwork as well as visiting other Defra Group/Government offices. While up to 40% of people's working week may be spent at home, this is not a requirement and individuals are able to work 100% of their contracted hours on our sites if preferred.

Full details of all relevant policies will be available as part of the induction or laid out in the contract when offer accepted.

Travel and subsistence will not be paid for travel to a base office location.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Experience and Technical skills.

Application Process
As part of the application process you are asked to provide a CV (job history, qualifications, past skills and experience), a 750-word personal statement on how you meet the essential criteria as stated in the person specification section, and a 250-word statement on how you meet the advertised lead behaviour – Delivering at Pace.

Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

  • For guidance on Civil Service Success Profiles, this video tells you what you’ll need to provide throughout the assessment process with supporting guidance on each step. Link – Success Profiles
  • For guidance on how to construct your CV, you are encouraged to visit Civil Service Careers. Link - CV
  • For guidance on how to construct your personal statement, you are encouraged to visit Civil Service Careers. Link – Statement
  • For guidance on how to construct your lead behaviour statement, you are encouraged to visit Civil Service Careers. Link – Behaviours


The sift panel will use the information in your CV and personal statement to assess your experience and how you meet the essential criteria as stated in the person specification section. The sift panel will also assess the lead behaviour statement.

Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead behaviour – Delivering at Pace. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift or, progressed straight to assessment/interview.

Sift dates to be confirmed.

Interview schedule and details will be confirmed on release of the sift results.

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


If successful at application stage, you will be invited to interview where you will be assessed on the Behaviours, your Experience and technical skills. You may also be required to give a presentation or to complete an exercise as part of the interview process. You will receive further information with your invitation.

Please be aware that at this time, interviews may take place either in person or remotely.

If scores are equal following interview, an assessment of the lead behaviour – Delivering at Pace will be used by the panel.

A date has not yet been confirmed for the interviews to take place.


Please be aware that this role will be contractually based at Lowestoft. The successful candidate is required to carry out all their duties from a UK location and cannot do so from an overseas location at any time.

Successful candidates are expected to work from one of the laboratory or office locations listed in this advert in order to connect with their colleagues, as required by their role and business needs.

Reserve List

A reserve list may be held for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made.


New entrants are expected to start on the minimum of the pay band.

Visa Sponsorship Statement

Please take note that Defra does not hold a UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) Skilled Worker License sponsor and are unable to sponsor any individuals for Skilled Worker Sponsorship.

Reasonable Adjustment

If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

  • Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.


If you are experiencing accessibility problems with any attachments on this advert, please contact the email address in the 'Contact point for applicants' section.

Criminal Record Check

If successful and transferring from another Government Department, a criminal record check may be carried out.

Internal Fraud Database Check

Applicants who are successful at interview will be, as part of pre-employment screening subject to a check on the Internal Fraud Database (IFD). This check will provide information about employees who have been dismissed for fraud or dishonesty offences. This check also applies to employees who resign or otherwise leave before being dismissed for fraud or dishonesty had their employment continued. Any applicant’s details held on the IFD will be refused employment.

A candidate is not eligible to apply for a role within the Civil Service if the application is made within a 5-year period following a dismissal for carrying out internal fraud against government.

Childcare Vouchers

Any move to Defra from another employer will mean you can no longer access childcare vouchers. You may however be eligible for other government schemes, including Tax Free Childcare. Determine your eligibility at

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service
Further information on nationality requirements (opens in a new window)

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code (opens in a new window) sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles (opens in a new window).
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 also offers a Redeployment Interview Scheme to civil servants who are at risk of redundancy, and who meet the minimum requirements for the advertised vacancy.
This vacancy is part of the Great Place to Work for Veterans (opens in a new window) initiative.
The Civil Service welcomes applications from people who have recently left prison or have an unspent conviction. Read more about prison leaver recruitment (opens in new window).
Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name : Clare Avieson
  • Email :

Recruitment team

  • Email :

Further information

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact:
Government Recruitment Services via email:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission.

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