Research Associate, Department of Psychological Medicine

London (Greater) (GB)
£41,517 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
26 Jan 2021
End of advertisement period
26 Feb 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Research Associate, Department of Psychological Medicine

Job ID: 014264

Salary: £41,517 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance 

Posted: 25-Jan-2021

Closing date: 26-Feb-2021

Business unit: IoPPN

Department: Psychological Medicine

Contact details: Dr Roland Zahn,

Denmark Hill Campus   Research    

Job description
The post holder will be part of the Centre for Affective Disorders, and will be running a highly innovative MRC-funded longitudinal study to validate and extend our previous machine-learning model which predicted recurrence in major depressive disorder with over 80% accuracy using fMRI and cognitive probes of self-blaming biases. The post will be supervised and closely supported by Roland Zahn, Reader in the Neurocognitive Bases of Mood Disorders and Consultant Psychiatrist ( and will entail writing up first authored papers for publication in high quality journals. The post holder will also be supported by a part-time research assistant and by a junior and senior statistician. Career development will be supported, and we welcome applications from people from diverse backgrounds. The role will be based at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at Denmark Hill, South London, but the role may include travel across London to support recruitment activities.
A successful candidate will hold a PhD or MD or will be close to completing a PhD or MD in psychology or medicine or a related field and will have fMRI analysis experience and cognitive neuroscience expertise. Experience of diagnostic assessments of patients with psychiatric disorders and basic software coding skills for scripting analyses are desirable. There is also the opportunity to develop additional research questions by designing neurocognitive tests or analysing diffusion weighted images, as well as virtual reality, and mobile monitoring, and linking this with data related to cortisol, oxytocin, and opioid systems.
This is a fixed-term contract, a full-time post for 4 years and 7 months.

Key responsibilities

  • Recruit participants with major depressive disorder and use semi-structured diagnostic interviews
  • Run fMRI & neurocognitive assessments
  • Carry out fMRI analyses

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience 
Essential criteria 

  • fMRI analysis experience
  • Passion for research into the neurocognitive aspects of self-blame in depression
  • Completed or submitted PhD thesis or medical doctorate dissertation (MDRes)
  • Experience with recruiting and assessing research participants in English
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of a team
  • Self-motivated and conscientious
  • Ability to manage time and meet deadlines
  • Excellent data management skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and polite manner
  • Excellent academic track record during undergraduate/postgraduate taught university courses (high merit/distinction level)
  • Excellent critical appraisal skills

Desirable criteria

  • Ability to script analyses using software coding
  • Experience with diagnostic assessments of patients with psychiatric disorders
  • Excellent track record of first-authored original publications of high quality as appropriate for career stage 

Further information

  • As part of your application, please include a pdf of your doctoral dissertation which we require for assessing your writing skills, otherwise we will not be able to consider your application.
  • Interviews will take place via online video conference in early March. Due to funding restrictions this post will commence on 15th of June 2021. There is no flexibility with the start date.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a 30-minute assessment skills observation, where they will receive a copy of a semi-structured mental health interview which they are asked to administer to a mock patient via online video conference.
  • Candidates will be emailed a data-entry task to be completed using excel and to be emailed back within a given timeframe.
  • Candidates will be asked to complete an online critical appraisal task of a paper which will be shared with them.
  • Candidates will be asked to give a presentation about their previous research and how the advertised job fits with their research interests and career objectives.
  • Candidates will also meet current members of Dr Zahn’s lab online to discuss questions about the lab and explore shared interests and the potential for collaborative work.

This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance. 

Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6. 

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