DURHAM UNIVERSITY

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Psychology

Location
Durham, United Kingdom
Salary
£33,797 - £40,322 per annum
Posted
18 Feb 2021
End of advertisement period
11 Mar 2021
Ref
21000158
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Hours
Full Time

Department of Psychology

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 12 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 11-Mar-2021, 7:59:00 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

Founded in 1952, the Department of Psychology is consistently ranked as one of the very best in the UK with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and student employability. The department is committed to creating and maintaining a research environment that spans the entire breadth of psychology. Currently the department’s research falls within three groupings: Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Science, and Quantitative Social Psychology. There is a vibrant research culture with a weekly departmental research seminar series.

The department is extremely well-equipped for research, including facilities for fMRI, TMS, tDCS, EEG/ERP, VR, eye movement tracking, and biophysiological recording. The department also has a motion capture lab for analysis of visuomotor action and experiments in immersive VR, a ‘bar’ lab for naturalistic studies in health psychology, and setups for psychophysics including an echo-attenuated chamber. The department benefits from full IT and mechanical research support from departmental technicians between 8:30 and 16:30 Monday to Friday.

We offer a prestigious Psychology undergraduate programme (C800), a new undergraduate programme in Behavioural Science (C803), as well as a suite of masters programmes. Our single honours Psychology programme achieved 91% satisfaction with our students in the 2020 NSS and we are privileged to work with outstanding students who are attracted to Durham from across the globe.

Founded in 1952, the Department of Psychology is consistently ranked as one of the very best in the UK with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and student employability. The department is committed to creating and maintaining a research environment that spans the entire breadth of psychology. Currently the department’s research falls within three groupings: Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Science, and Quantitative Social Psychology. There is a vibrant research culture with a weekly departmental research seminar series.

The department is extremely well-equipped for research, including facilities for fMRI, TMS, tDCS, EEG/ERP, VR, eye movement tracking, and biophysiological recording. The department also has a motion capture lab for analysis of visuomotor action and experiments in immersive VR, a ‘bar’ lab for naturalistic studies in health psychology, and setups for psychophysics including an echo-attenuated chamber. The department benefits from full IT and mechanical research support from departmental technicians between 8:30 and 16:30 Monday to Friday.

We offer a prestigious Psychology undergraduate programme (C800), a new undergraduate programme in Behavioural Science (C803), as well as a suite of masters programmes. Our single honours Psychology programme achieved 91% satisfaction with our students in the 2020 NSS and we are privileged to work with outstanding students who are attracted to Durham from across the globe.

The Role

A 12-month fixed-term full time Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) position is available at the Department of Psychology at Durham University. The successful candidate will join the research project ‘The public’s role in public health – understanding and negotiating public support for policies designed to improve population health’ led by Dr Milica Vasiljevic and funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research. The project aims to examine the best ways in which to inform a local and national debate about how we can increase public support for the most effective and equitable dietary and active travel health-behaviour change policies and interventions.

Overview of the whole project: To date there is limited knowledge on what policies are acceptable to whom and why. Furthermore, there is limited activity to engage the population and to create a public debate about options to protect population health with the aim to build support for more health promoting and protecting policies.

Using a variety of mixed-methods (i.e., qualitative interviews, quantitative pilot studies to inform the creation of Discrete Choice Experiments [DCEs], and Discrete Choice Experiments [DCEs]) the project will examine different policies (e.g., taxes, bans on sales of high fat and high sugar snacks at checkouts etc.) pertaining to food and transport (in particular active travel) to model what features of the different policies the public supports, and importantly how such support may vary between members of different demographic groups. At the end of the project we will consider the learnings that arise from the different work-packages to develop an emerging framework that could in future be used to predict public acceptability / support for various policy options aimed at improving population health.

The project team and the role of this post-doc: The PDRA will work as part of a multidisciplinary team of Psychologists, Health Economists, Sociologists, Epidemiologists, and Public Health Practitioners based across the universities of Durham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, LSHTM, Imperial and UCL.

The candidate will work on the quantitative part of the project, and will contribute to the development of the emerging framework at the end of the project. The successful candidate will have a strong academic track-record, including experience in designing, carrying out, analysing and interpreting high quality quantitative experimental research studies. Experience or knowledge of Discrete Choice Experiments (DCEs) is not essential, but desirable.

Please see the person specification below for a full list of Essential and Desirable requirements.

Expectations: The successful applicant will be expected to co-design, run and analyse novel research protocols and studies, with input and assistance from the PI, co-Is and academic and practitioner collaborators as appropriate. The successful applicant will also be expected to prepare results for publication and present them to academic audiences at conferences, as well as (as appropriate) to non-academic audiences. Standard PDRA responsibilities and specific requirements are listed in more detail below.

Responsibilities:

This post is fixed term for 12 months. This is set by the level of funding provided for this post by the sponsor, the NIHR School for Public Health Research.

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

  • To co-design, run and analyse novel research protocols and studies, with input and assistance from the PI, co-Is, and academic and practitioner collaborators as appropriate.
  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the research team or other stakeholders 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.
  • 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 Principal Investigator and co-Investigators.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives.
  • To conduct research studies under the direction of the Principal Investigator and co-Investigators.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator and other collaborators on the project, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator and co-Investigators 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.
  • 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 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 engage in continuing professional development by membership of departmental committees and group meetings as appropriate and by attending relevant training and development courses.   

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact milica.vasiljevic@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.  We are committed to equality: if for any reason you have taken a career break or periods of leave that may have impacted on your career path, such as maternity, adoption or parental leave, you may wish to disclose this in your application.  The selection committee will recognise that this may have reduced the quantity of your research accordingly. 

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 above.
  • Please include copies of any relevant journal publications you would like to highlight that cannot be found online (e.g. submitted / under revision / accepted).

 Next Steps

The assessment for shortlisted candidates will be an interview, including a short presentation on candidates’ previous research. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment on a date tbc, in March 2021.  Interviews are expected to take place remotely (e.g. using Zoom).

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post in April 2021.

The Requirements

Essential:

Qualifications

  • A very good first degree in a relevant subject e.g. psychology, economics, geography, sociology, public health.
  • A PhD (or close to submission), relevant to the job description.

Experience

  • Experience in designing, carrying out, analysing and interpreting high quality quantitative experimental research studies.
  • Excellent quantitative skills (including experience with SPSS, R, STATA or similar).
  • Ability to write for scientific publication in high quality journals.
  • Ability to communicate scientific findings orally to a variety of audiences.
  • Well organised, responsible, capable of using own initiative and able to work to deadlines.

​​​​​​​Skills

  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

​​​​​​​​​Desirable:

Experience

  • An outstanding academic track-record as evidenced e.g. by high grades, prizes, strong record of publication in peer-reviewed journals and presentation at international conferences, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Demonstrable ability to lead the development of research protocols in collaboration with other academics.
  • Experience of designing and conducting Discrete Choice Experiments (DCEs).

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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