Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Anthropology

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322 pro rata
22 Apr 2020
End of advertisement period
29 Apr 2020
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Sociology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Anthropology

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322 pro rata
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: Until 30 April 2021
Contracted Hours per Week: 17.5
Closing Date: 29-Apr-2020, 6:59:00 AM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

Durham Anthropology is one of the best in the UK with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. We are 24th in the QS World Rankings, tenth in the Complete University Guide, and one of the UK’s top five anthropology departments for graduate prospects.

The Department of Anthropology has a vibrant research culture with many visitors, seminars, global conferences and workshops, and is set to grow significantly over the next ten years. We were the top-ranked integrated Anthropology department in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, being fifth in the UK for overall GPA (Times Higher Education), first equal for world leading and internationally excellent Impact and Research Environment, and second equal for world leading publications.

We aim to provide a supportive and friendly environment with a strong sense of community. Currently there are more than 30 permanent members of academic staff, conducting world class excellent research in Evolutionary Anthropology, Social Anthropology and the Anthropology of Health. The department is well represented in University research Institutes and Centres, and has a close relationship with the Durham Energy Institute.

The Infancy & Sleep Centre is a research centre of the Department of Anthropology, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health and the Wolfson Institute for Health & Well-being. It is the home for a group of researchers examining various aspects of infant and child sleep and parenting behaviour. The original lab was opened in 2000 at Queen's Campus, and the research programmes it houses have been in operation since 1995. As our research team has grown our research focus has broadened to cover infant and child sleep ecology, sleep development, sleep safety, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), parental sleep, night-time infant care, feeding practices, thermal care and infant thermoregulation during sleep, twin infant sleep behaviour and physiology, postnatal ward environments and maternal-infant sleep, cross cultural infant care practices, and the evaluation of interventions affecting parental and infant sleep. We collaborate with academics from a wide range of disciplines around the world, and with a variety of research users. We created and run the Baby Sleep Info Source in order to make academic infant sleep research findings available to parents and health professionals. The Sleep Lab was renamed DISC, and relocated to Durham in 2018.

The Role

This Postdoctoral Research Associateship in Anthropology has a particular emphasis on conducting, facilitating and overseeing research and impact in parent-infant sleep.

The post-holder will serve as the Manager of the Infancy and Sleep Centre where they will oversee the work of postgraduate and undergraduate students, and work collaboratively with project PDRAs and visiting researchers, supporting and advancing the overall aims of the Infancy and Sleep Centre. They will be the key point of contact for Centre and research operations. The Centre Director will be the key point of contact for strategic direction of the Centre.

The successful applicant will be expected to 

  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature regarding infant sleep, sudden infant death, infant feeding, parenting and related topics to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences and to maintain and update the Baby Sleep Information Source website.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Centre Director.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To contribute to the conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Centre Director.
  • To work with the Centre Director and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio including submission of funding applications.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Centre Director and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects (e.g. ethical and insurance approvals, data protection procedures and training, data storage, on call contact point for overnight studies, ordering project supplies, setting up and troubleshooting videosomnography equipment and Noldus software, physiological monitoring equipment and Acknowledge software, actigraphs and actiware software).
  • To deliver training in appropriate research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate, to provide supervision as needed.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To provide main point of contact for the Centre with suppliers, CIS, Estates & Buildings, and other services to oversee the upkeep of research facilities, technology and resources within the Infancy & Sleep Centre.
  • To take responsibility for monitoring and updating risk assessments and safety procedures as advised by Departmental Safety Officer. 
  • To serve as key point of contact with internal and external agencies, local authorities, industries and visitors where appropriate.

This post is fixed term for one year only to cover a colleague who will be returning to their substantive role on 1/5/21.

The post-holder is employed to work on research and impact which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the Centre, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Helen Ball (h.l.ball@durham.ac.uk). All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out below;

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include an interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment.

The Requirements

Essential Criteria:

  • A good first degree in a relevant subject.
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Anthropology or a related subject.
  • Experience in conducting infant sleep related research.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in clinical and anthropological journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at national conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience in both quanititative and qualitative methods including overnight sleep monitoring includinguse of videosomnography, actigraphy and other methods of sleep monitoring
  • Skills
  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Ability to present complex academic work to a public audience
  • Expertise with JISC Online Surveys, NVivo, Wordpress, Durham CMS, Noldus Observer, Acknowledge and video editing software

Desirable Criteria:

  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  • Experience of overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects/practicals.
  • Experience in use of actigraphs and actiware software.
  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.