Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills building, Victoria Street, London

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills headquarters, London.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is the department for economic growth. The department invests in skills and education to promote trade, boost innovation and help people to start and grow a business. BIS also protects consumers and reduces the impact of regulation.

We are responsible for:

  • Working with further and higher education providers to give students the skills they need to compete in a global employment market
  • Supporting innovation and developing the UK's science and research industry, which is important to help economic growth
  • Making sure consumer law is fair for both consumers and businesses, and that consumers know their rights and are able to use them effectively
  • Supporting British businesses to increase productivity and compete anywhere in the world
  • Better regulation - by cutting the amount of regulation and making it easy to understand we can help businesses cut time, save money and be more efficient.
  • Supporting BIS policy areas and partner organisations develop resilient bases for their decisions

Operational Research at BIS

There are currently 21 OR analysts in BIS. The analysts are distributed amongst several groups within the department: Enterprise and Skills, Economics and Markets and Knowledge and Innovation. This distribution is reflected in the variety of projects undertaken. These include:

  • Modelling of higher education student finance expenditure to inform budget management and policy decisions.
  • Development of a new simulation model for forecasting student loan repayments, to estimate the Resource Accounting and Budgeting charge for student loans.
  • Exploring the feasibility of extending Further Education (FE) loans to other groups of learners.
  • Matching Further Education, DWP and HMRC data to observe the impact of learning on employment outcomes.
  • Analysis of the occupations of people by different qualification subjects to identify skills shortages and possible careers outcomes.
  • Producing models to forecast the income from the Department's portfolio of launch investments contracts.
  • Workforce modelling to inform human resources policies
  • Modelling the costs and savings from the department's shared services programme.
  • Resource allocation and activity prioritisation.
  • Appraising bids with multi criteria analysis
  • Systems thinking to map the supply of engineers to the economy, the processing of Employment Tribunal claims and innovation dynamics
  • System dynamics modelling of the patent assessment process to assist with the management of the process and to explore the impact of potential changes to it.
  • Forecasting budget volatility and how these risks may impact on departmental spend at an aggregated level.

Methods in recent use include mind mapping, forecasting, multi-criteria decision analysis, simulation, systems modelling, survey analysis, process mapping and time series analysis, as well as general statistical analysis and evaluation.

Customers also say that they particularly value our help with addressing complex issues, using systems thinking and problem structuring methods

What to Expect

The majority of OR analysts are based in central London although the department also has analysts working in Sheffield. We work alongside economists, statisticians, social researchers as well as policy specialists.

The BIS OR team will actively support your professional and career development, shaping a programme of training to fit your individual aspirations, as well as the needs of the job.