Research Associate in the Department of English

London (Central), London (Greater) (GB)
£38,304 per annum
14 Apr 2021
End of advertisement period
13 Jul 2021
Contract Type
Full Time

Applications are invited to fill a temporary (36 months) full-time research position in the field of qualitative ageing studies. This is a key post in a cross-disciplinary research programme funded by a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship on the Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth. The position is available from 1 October 2021.

The Sciences of Ageing and the Culture of Youth focuses on cultural pessimism about ageing as shaping perceptions of the worth and value of human beings and as directing decisions about care, research and funding priorities. The project is hosted in the Department of English (Centre for the Humanities and Health) at King’s College London, but evolves at the cross-disciplinary nexus of literary study, medical sciences and empirical research. Like the PI, Dr. Martina Zimmermann, with a dual background in neuropharmacology and health humanities, the PDRA working on this project will be keen to cross disciplines and faculties.

You will co-create and progress research objectives in the field of ageing health sciences. You will explore experiences and meanings of ageing and the role of cognitive decline in shaping these experiences, and interrogate concepts like positive ageing and health in ageing, using qualitative research methods. In capturing the lived experiences of service users and low service users you will engage with project partners in the third sector, especially local community organisations in the centre of London as well as outside London. You are also invested in exploring the boundary between the humanities and social sciences, seeking out opportunities and strategies for enhancing the conversation between these fields, including looking beyond discipline-specific methodological frameworks.

Under the guidance, where required, of the PI, you take responsibility for the organisation and delivery of your work activities, including obtaining ethics approval, data collection and analysis, refinement of methods and analytical approaches. You will write up research findings and outcomes, and contribute to the wider organisation of the project. You will work synergistically with other members in the team in their engagement with local community groups and their users.

The department is committed to building an equitable and diverse academic environment. We therefore welcome applicants from underrepresented communities.

Candidates interested in applying for this post are encouraged to contact the PI ( for informal enquiries prior to the application deadline.

This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 36 months.

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent

Key responsibilities

  • Undertake qualitative research (interviews, with scope for the development of multifaceted and/or creative methods), including responsibilities, under the guidance, where required, of the PI, for drawing up an application to the ethics review committee, sampling and recruitment strategies, development of methodological and analytical approaches, data collection, management and protection;
  • Ensure that the research project is carried out in line with King’s Guidelines on Good Practice in Academic Research and following the application you help prepare to the College’s Social Sciences, Humanities and Law Research Ethics Subcommittee;
  • Engage with external stakeholders (third sector) to explore meanings and experiences of ageing (qualitative interviews and potentially focus groups);
  • Write up research findings for publication, including contextualising them in an interdisciplinary review of the literature; 
  • Attend and present research findings and papers at international academic meetings and external academic conferences;
  • Work with the wider project team and contribute to the organisation of participatory public engagement activities and dissemination activities via the project website, blog and other social media channels.

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 

1. A PhD in social sciences, in areas that relate to ageing, dementia or the life course;

2. A successful track record in publishing your research findings in internationally peer-reviewed journals;

3.  Established independence and high level of experience and practice in using qualitative approaches in social research (including interview techniques, participatory methodologies, focus groups, and methodologies for data analysis including coding);

4  Experience in research project management; 

5. Excellent communication (written and verbal) and presentation skills, including with external stakeholders, directly and via web and social media;

6. The ability to work independently as well as in a team;

7. A desire to work cross faculty, within an interdisciplinary team of researchers and in an environment removed from your home discipline, e.g. evidence of publishing beyond the core requirements and expectations of your field.

Desirable criteria 

1. Experience of research in social gerontology;

2. Experience of conducting research on sensitive topics; experience with mental capacity legislation and its implications for cognition research; and awareness of ethical and legal requirements regarding data protection, management and confidentiality, and high level of experience in drawing up applications to research ethics committees;

3. Evidence of community engagement and a commitment to community development, including experience of collaborative research, working with older service users and those who don’t reach out to support services;

4. Awareness of policy developments and an interest to engage with policy makers;

5. Experience with public engagement activities, such as workshop- and theatre-based techniques and of communications activities targeted at non-academic publics. 

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.