government social research service


Government Social Research Service

Identify, analyse and interpret the social trends and research that help influence major decisions

APPLICATIONS CLOSED: Register your interest by emailing


3 to 5 years






Research underpins all policy made by government on areas such as health, crime, work, pensions, education and transport – in fact everything that affects us as part of the population of the UK.

You'll be working at the heart of government to make sure ministers and policy makers have the data to understand social issues, and to help evaluate the policy responses to them.


  • you need to be eligible to work in the UK
  • you need, or expect to have, a 2:1 or higher in any social science degree subject with a substantial social research methods component, or a relevant post-graduate degree
  • social science degrees include subjects like criminology, human geography, social anthropology, social work, sociology, demographics

What to expect

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You’ll contribute to the reporting of social trends, the development of government policy and evaluation of how policies make a difference to public services. Your work might involve developing surveys, analysing data, producing statistics, reviewing existing research evidence and working with other analysts in government to provide timely, relevant and robust briefings for policy colleagues and ministers. 

What do they say

From the blog

The Fascinating World of Research

Read our blog here

What’s in it for you

Learning and development

You'll follow a development programme designed to increase your skills and widen your experience. In your first few years you can expect to move jobs every 18 months to 2 years, and you may take a secondment to another government department.

The GSR fast stream provides a platform for talented and motivated social researchers to reach the highest levels of responsibility in the Civil service. Promotion is based on merit. The first promotion is to Senior Research Officer and you should be ready for this after 2 years or so. Exact timing depends on skills and experience and the availability of Senior Research roles, so it could take more or less than 2 years. After a couple of years as a Senior Research Officer you should have developed the skills and experience needed for promotion to Principal Research Officer. Ideally, you will be keen to take on a post in the Senior Civil Service after gaining a range of experience at this level.

Up to £55k

If you successfully complete the scheme and are promoted, you could earn around £45k to £55k.



You’ll have a unique chance to work on issues that really matter, and to gain experience internally and externally. It’s the best foundation for promotion and long-term progression. 

Promotion and successful completion of the scheme will see you earn around £45k to £55k, while other benefits include the Civil Service pension scheme, professional qualifications, flexible working, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, childcare assistance and more. 

Application process


Online tests

The online tests consist of 2 questionnaires, an e-tray exercise and a video interview. We recommend you do some practice questions: Situational judgement questions.

You'll only move on to the next test, if you've successfully passed the previous one.


Assessment centre

If you pass the online tests, you'll be invited to attend a half-day assessment at one of our assessment centres in either London or Newcastle.

We'll ask you to take part in a series of exercises. This includes a leadership exercise, a group exercise and an analysis exercise.


Final selection

If you are successful at the assessment centre, you’ll be invited to take part in a final selection process.

The specialist assessments will assess your broad capabilities and motivation to be part of the profession you’ve chosen. You’ll be sent detailed guidance before the assessment to explain what is involved.

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Next Event

We host events at universities throughout the country so you can find out the information you need to apply for a place on the Fast Stream. We want to reach the most talented and diverse group of students nationwide.