Number 10 Innovation Fellows

London, Bristol, Manchester
Fixed Term Appointment (Existing Civil Servants may apply on loan)
12 months
Full time (37 hours per week), Flexible working, Condensed hours
Basic Check (BPSS)

28 March 2021

Who we are

GDS exists to help government make brilliant public services that empower people in the UK. We work at the very centre of government to drive digital transformation, focused on users. We build and maintain common platforms, products and tools for others to use and create great public services that are accessible, inclusive and easy to use. We also work with departments to identify patterns, share learning and create change to make a government more efficient.

Our teams are organised around delivering on our priorities, these are:
  • Make it easier for people to find what they are looking for on GOV.UK
  • Build common service platforms to make it simpler and cheaper to build quality digital services
  • Promote agile, user-centred design practices both in the UK and across the world

What you'll do

The Number 10 Innovation Fellowship Programme is a new scheme to improve the delivery of public services by attracting top talent from the digital and technology sector into government. 

Fellows admitted onto the programme will help transform the delivery of public services and build solutions to some of our toughest challenges, by accelerating the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and approaches from industry, academia and civil society.   

Around ten Fellows will join the programme each year. Fellows will be appointed on 12-month fixed term contracts initially, with the possibility of extension for a further 12 months. 

Please read our FAQs on our Fellowship website for more details. 


This programme is modelled on the hugely successful US Presidential Innovation Fellowship scheme, which has attracted leading talent beyond the reach of most federal agencies. 


The Role:

As a Fellow you will be working on one of the projects listed below. 

Each project has been selected based on its importance to the department and the impact the project can have on the delivery of public services.  

Alongside leading on one of these challenging projects, you will be a role model and ambassador for the wider government digital agenda.

Whilst the exact nature of the role will depend on the project, as a Number 10 Fellow you will be required to:

  • use your digital, data and/or technology expertise to lead public service transformation, solving a key government challenge of national importance; 

  • work and collaborate with other Fellows to successfully deliver projects to agreed success criteria, within time and cost constraints; 

  • implement significant change across the department you are based in, introducing new processes and procedures to ensure agile, iterative development and to ensure the successful development of digital services; 

  • support and develop mindsets that enable the execution of experimental, agile and digital delivery methodologies and technologies throughout the department; 

  • provide strategic digital, data and/or technology guidance and share best practice with your teams and wider Senior Leadership Teams; and

  • work to a robust governance and performance culture, setting clear objectives and deliverables, encouraging trust and holding people to account for delivery.

Who you'll be

We are looking for Fellows who have the following skills and experiences. You will be assessed against these requirements as part of the selection process for the scheme. 

  1. Excellent understanding and experience of applying cutting-edge approaches in at least one or more of the following areas: data science, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, data engineering, product management, systems design, user centered design, software/mobile development experience with using remotely sensed data and image processing and geospatial modelling. (We recommend when expressing preference for a project you note the technical requirements and apply accordingly)

  2. Experience of delivering digital transformation projects in an agile environment. You will also have experience developing strategies, visions and roadmaps for high performing digital services, having led digital transformation in an agile way. 

  3. Demonstrable experience of having an innovative, can-do solutions focussed attitude, and work ethic. You will be able to think laterally, push the boundaries of what is possible, be open to experimentation, connect the dots, spot opportunities and recommend solutions.

  4. Excellent leadership skills, with the ability to inspire and motivate people with authenticity, credibility and transparency at all levels.

  5. The credibility to engage, influence and gain the confidence of the most senior business and technology leaders. You should be comfortable delivering inspiring, engaging and meaningful messages to technical and non-technical colleagues.  

  6. Experience of building truly diverse, cross-functional teams and working collaboratively with colleagues at all levels.

The Projects:

Fellows will work in small teams on projects that are technologically challenging, highly impactful and deliverable within a year. 


The 2021 fellowship cohort will be working on important digital innovation projects with five central government departments across England.

Department for Education: Harnessing the potential of digital solutions in education. DfE are looking to recruit a Senior Data Scientist/Data Architect AND a Senior Product Manager or Service/Systems Designer.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office:
Unlocking the power of data to address humanitarian crises. FCDO are looking to recruit a Senior Geospatial Data Scientist AND a Strategic Engagement Manager.

Department of Health and Social Care:
Designing high-impact data solutions in the fight against Covid-19 and beyond. DHSC are looking to recruit experts in Data Science/Architecture AND experts in Product Management and Strategy

Ministry of Defence
: Serious games: using deep reinforcement learning to support planning of military operations. MoD are looking to recruit a Technical Artificial Intelligence Fellow AND an Operationalising Artificial Intelligence Fellow.

Ministry of Justice: Rethinking how to track offenders in the community. MoJ are looking to recruit Digital Product Fellows.

Each project requires a different set of technical skills. Please read the full project descriptions to make sure you state a preference for one that aligns most to your skill set.

We’re hosting a virtual information evening on Monday 15th March at 5pm. Come along to hear more from departments about their projects. Grab your ticket now. 

How to apply


To apply, please submit the information below via our application portal:


First stage:

Answer the questions below either via writing (250 words max each) or in video or audio (2 minutes max each). If you are choosing the video/audio option, please upload either on google drive/youtube or a host provider of your choice but make sure to set the settings to viewable. We recognise everyone communicates better in different ways so please choose your preferred option.  You will get a section on the application form to answer these questions, please add any required video/audio links in these text boxes. 

  • What's motivated you to apply for this fellowship, what do you think you can bring?

  • From point 1 in the person specification, which trend in your expert area interests you at the moment and why?

  • How will you as a leader implement significant change across an organisation you are based in, introducing new processes and procedures to ensure agile, iterative development and to ensure the successful development of digital services?

  • Please give us an example of when you demonstrated leadership skills at senior/c-suite level and inspired and motivated people from a diverse background?


The first stage will be assessed by our panel using the answers to the questions only. We will be assessing you against the criteria detailed in the person specification so please make sure your answers address these.  Failure to answer all the questions will disqualify your application.


Please also submit your CV addressing all the points listed on the person spec and project you are interested in. Failure to submit your CV will lead to your application not being considered. 

Applications close by 28th March at 23.55.




Candidates will be long listed using their responses to the application questions only. Highest scoring candidates will then be shortlisted using their CVs against the person specification in this job description and the unique project/department specification. You will be considered against other people who have expressed an interest in that department/project. Please read the project specifications before putting in your application, as you will be required to state a preference that aligns most to your skill set. 

If we have a high volume of applications, we may also conduct phone interviews as another form of assessment before the formal interview stage. 


Interview Stage

Highest scoring candidates will be shortlisted and asked to attend a panel interview to have a more in-depth discussion of your previous experience and professional competence and will also have a technical assessment.  The interview will also use the following success profiles.

  • Leadership

  • Seeing the big picture

  • Working Together

  • Developing Self and Others

  • Delivering at Pace

  • Communicating and Influencing

If you are shortlisted, you will also be asked to take part in two assessments: A lightning talks exercise and a technical assessment. These assessments are designed to support the panel’s decision-making and highlight areas for the panel to explore further at the interview.


Lightning talks will be held between 12th to 16th April and Interview dates will be held between 19th April and 3rd May. These may change slightly. 




Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check. They will have to meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed depends on the level needed for the project. Please read the projects and state a preference accordingly. 

Please also read our things to know page for more detailed information on security and nationality requirements.

As per the Disability Confident Scheme, Cabinet Office is committed to the employment and career development of disabled people and will guarantee to interview anyone with a disability whose application meets the minimum essential criteria for the post. 

If you have any questions please email:


How you'll be assessed

In the Civil Service, we use our Success Profiles. For each role we advertise we consider what you will need to demonstrate to be successful. This gives us the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job, drives up performance and improves diversity and inclusivity. We will be looking at your experience, career history and achievements that are relevant to the specific job role. We may assess your ability, strength, experience, technical/specialist skills and behaviours.

For this role the following behaviours are the most relevant:

seeing the big picture
working together
developing self and others
delivering at pace
communicating and influencing

Things you need to know

You can find out about the application process and practical details like our office locations on the things you need to know page.

Equal Opportunities 

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity in our organisation. You can find out more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion and read our equal opportunities statement on our Diversity and Inclusion page.

Redeployment Interview Scheme

Civil Service employees (including Senior Civil Servants and Crown Arms Length Bodies) who are at risk of redundancy and who meet the minimum selection criteria in the job specification are guaranteed to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process. Selection will be on merit and at-risk candidates will be able to self-identify during the application stage,

For all guaranteed interview schemes, there may be exceptions made on reasons of time/resource for high-volume recruitment where the vacancy manager may decide to select the candidates who best meet the minimum criteria rather than all of those that meet the minimum criteria.

This opportunity is closed to applications.