Senior Research Associate
Division/School: Academic Faculties
Contract type: Fixed Term Contract
Working pattern: Full time
Closing date for applications: 24-Nov-2019
The University of Bristol Law School is seeking to appoint a highly capable legal researcher, with a significant interest in the impact of the built environment on the public’s health, and with an excellent understanding of critical socio-legal methods. The successful applicant will join a large MRC-funded research consortium whose aim is to reduce the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases linked to the built environment through transformation of the urban planning and development systems across the UK. Of necessity, this requires analysis of the broad legal landscape in which urban development takes place, looking at but also far beyond planning law. In particular, it will require understanding of corporate theory and governance, and public health law.
The 5-year TRU3D project - Tackling the Root Causes Upstream of Unhealthy Urban Development - began in October 2019 and is co-led by Public Health Professors Matt Hickman and Gabriel Scally, with urban development specialist and Programme Director Daniel Black. The project involves collaboration across a wide range of disciplines in addition to public health: urban studies, law, engineering, economics, management, real estate and lay public engagement across five universities (Bristol, Bath, UWE, Manchester and Reading). The post-holder will need to employ both doctrinal legal and regulatory analysis, and critical and interdisciplinary legal analysis. The latter will be informed by original empirical research focused on stakeholders with material influence over the quality of the urban environment, particularly those in the public and private sectors in control of land, finance, delivery, planning permission and core policy/legislation involved in the Bristol and Greater Manchester case study areas.
A particular focus will be on the current dominance of private sector-led urban development and the role of law not in planning per se, but in areas of law that underpin dominant urban development practice: e.g. commercial, corporate, environmental, land. Specific focus areas may include: corporate governance and organisational interests, values and behaviours; public-private partnership models; compulsory purchasing of disused assets and recognition of ‘public bads’; competition and the scaling up of alternative investment and delivery mechanisms (e.g. community-led and custom-build housing, institutional investment, mortgage lending, insurance provision); the promotion of stakeholder interest over shareholder interest. Findings from these studies on prevention are therefore likely to be more broadly applicable to a wider range of challenge areas, including health in all policies, healthcare, and other aspects of public health.
The post-holder will be supervised by the Legal Research Lead within the project, and will work closely with the research leads on related project activities, including at the University of Bath’s Management School in relation to corporate characterisation. Specific research activities will include: a mapping of the legal and regulatory environment; literature reviewing; the conduct of semi-structured interviews/focus groups and thematic analysis using NVIVO or similar; management of specific work sub-packages; and disseminating findings at conferences and in journal articles.
This is a Fixed Term Contract position, available for 30 months. It is anticipated that interviews will be held in mid-December 2019.