Research Associate, School of Psychology

Perth, Australia
16 Jan 2020
End of advertisement period
11 Feb 2020
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Psychology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time
  • Join the Physical Activity and Well-Being Research Group at Curtin University
  • Work with well-known Researchers
  • Complete studies on social psychology for manipulating goal difficulty

Job Reference: 297526

12 month, Full-time fixed-term with possible extension for a further 2 years
Estimated start date 1st March 2020 (Subject to change)
$69,800-$88,135 plus 9.5% superannuation

Curtin University is ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide (ARWU 2018 and QS World University Rankings 2019), and is placed 20th in the world for universities less than 50 years old (QS Top 50 Under 50 2019). Curtin is WA’s most preferred university, with highly engaged industry-facing partners. A major global player, with well-integrated campuses in Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius and Dubai.

About us

The School of Psychology is committed to excellence and innovation in teaching and research, offering undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs in the areas of psychology.

Psychology at Curtin received a 5 Star rating for teaching quality, learning resources, student support and skills development in the 2019 Good Universities Guide, and retained its 5 Star rating for learner engagement.

Your new role

Reporting to the Principal Investigator of the Project (Professor Nikos Ntoumanis, John Curtin Distinguished Professor), you will be primarily responsible in;

  • Leading the design, piloting and setting up of studies.
  • Running lab experiments and field studies.
  • Undertaking administrative functions associated with research activities, including human ethics applications and recruiting participants for lab and field studies.
  • Collecting, entering, and managing data.
  • Contributing to drafts of research papers to be submitted to high quality journals.
  • Disseminating research findings through seminars, workshops and conferences.
  • Participating in applications for competitive funding.
  • Supervising honours students and co-supervising a PhD student who will be associated with the project.
  • Fostering and promoting relationships with community and professional stakeholders relevant to the research project.

You will bring to the role

  • Progress towards a doctoral qualification in a relevant discipline.
  • Knowledge of experimental research design in both lab and field settings.
  • Training and/or experience in quantitative research methods.
  • High quality verbal and written communication skills as well as excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Evidence of knowledge of theories of motivation, goals, and self-regulation and how these might apply to the project description.
  • Capacity to work independently and as part of a team.

 Project Description

A great deal of research has examined how goals should be framed to facilitate persistence and performance. Much less is known, though, about persistence in the face of difficult goals or about goal disengagement. You will work on a project which focuses on the motivational antecedents of decisions to persist, disengage, or reengage during goal striving, under conditions of high goal difficulty. The project aims to answer the following question: “Can people become strategic in their goal pursuits by deciding early in their goal striving whether to persist on a difficult goal or give up and strive for a compatible goal?”

This project is funded by an Australian Research Council grant (DP200101555) awarded to Prof. Ntoumanis, Prof. Sedikides (University of Southampton, UK), Assoc Prof. Daniel Gucciardi and Prof. Cecilie-Thogersen-Ntoumani (Curtin University), and Assoc Prof. Ben Jackson (University of Western Australia). In the project you will undertake a number of laboratory and field studies to test the tripartite model of goal strivings, proposed by Ntoumanis and Sedikides (2018);

The laboratory studies will include a number of widely utilised experimental tasks in social psychology for manipulating goal difficulty. The field studies will be undertaken with reference to parenting/career management goals, as well as with financial goals. You will become an active member of the Physical Activity and Well-Being Research Group at Curtin University (visit for more information). The funding from the ARC is for 3 years; pending on satisfactory performance, the successful applicant may be offered a further 2-year contract at the end of the first year.

What we offer you

The Faculty of Health Sciences offers exciting career paths and trajectories including:

  • Conducting innovative work that will make real-world differences
  • Interactions with and learnings from industry, government and academic partners  

For details of Curtin’s employee benefits please visit

Next steps

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to email Prof. Ntoumanis ( to discuss their suitability for the project before they submit an application.

Curtin University requires you to provide a cover letter and resume to include sufficient information and examples to allow us to assess your suitability for the role.  Please also attach a 2-page document outlining your suitability for the role against the selection criteria.

Shortlisted applicants will be asked to upload on private page on Youtube a 5-minute presentation on goal pursuit. Details will be emailed after the shortlisting process.

Valuing Diversity and Inclusion

At Curtin, we are committed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reconciliation, diversity and social justice and aim to create an inclusive environment where our staff and students are valued and inspired. This includes a supportive recruitment process should you require any access assistance. 

Contact details

To apply complete the application form below, or for more information contact:

Nikos Ntoumanis, John Curtin Distinguished Professor, School of Psychology
Telephone: +61 (8) 9266 3297

Please apply via the attached link, we cannot accept resumes sent to the above contact.

Once you have applied, you will receive an email confirming that your application has been received by us.  If you do not receive confirmation via email, please email our team at Please ensure you check your spam folders for this email before contacting the team.

Applications close: 9:00 PM, Tuesday 11 February 2020


Curtin reserves the right at its sole discretion to withdraw from the recruitment process, not to make an appointment, or to appoint by invitation, at any time. We reserve the right to remove the advert earlier than the date on the advert.