Postdoctoral Research Associate, Fuse

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322 per annum
05 May 2021
End of advertisement period
02 Jun 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Sport & Exercise Science

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: Until 31 March 2022
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 02-Jun-2021, 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

The Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences was officially launched in August 2018. Building on our established reputation for outstanding Sport and Exercise pedagogy, the department’s world-class scholarship brings together psychologists, physiologists, nutritionists, sociologists and political scientists. The multi- and inter-disciplinary nature of the team coalesces around two research themes: ‘Sporting Lives, subcultures and performance’, and ‘Sport and Physical Activity for Societal Change’. Currently undergoing an ambitious period of academic recruitment, the department is expanding expertise and global visibility across these two areas of research excellence.

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate (Fuse) with research interests in the broad field of public health, systems and inequalities. The successful candidate will contribute to research which is funded by the National Institute of Health Research and is part of the School for Public Health Research (SPHR) and Fuse. Specifically, their contribution will focus on a research project that falls within the Children and Young People’s research programme of the SPHR, specifically work package 5 (WP5). The aim of WP5 is to understand the impacts of integrated care on the health and well-being of children and young people (CYP) within Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) and Integrated Care Systems (ICS) areas in England, acknowledging the different contexts in which each system sits

The successful candidate will also engage with citizenship activities associated with SPHR and Fuse. They will work with Prof Carolyn Summerbell in Durham, and co-investigators at Newcastle University, UCL and Imperial.  The project started in September 2021 and is due to complete on 31st March 2022. Due to the impact of Covid-19 on the project, and (separately) staff promotions and changes, we are now in a position to appoint two postdoctoral researchers to help complete the project.

Background to research project: The development of health systems for CYP across public health, the NHS, education and social care in the 42 STP/ICS footprints as part of the NHS Long Term Plan has the potential to dramatically improve health and well-being for CYP in England. However there is great variation in the extent to which STP/ICSs have focused on CYP, and in their plans for the future. We aim to work with STP/ICS CYP leaders and children and young people to map out who is doing what and where, what the key components are for understanding how effective integrated systems for CYP work, and whether they improve health outcomes.

We will:

  • Conduct an evidence synthesis of published and grey literature, and consult with stakeholders through a Delphi prioritisation survey to develop a taxonomy of integration of CYP health services that is useful to local and national systems;
  • Conduct surveys with all 42 STP/ICS areas and utilise information from available STP/ICS plans to understand the development of local CYP health systems and networks, including Population Health Management, at STP/ICS level;
  • Conduct interviews with a subset of STP/ICS CYP leaders for a more in-depth understanding of CYP health system development, and to identify examples of good practice;
  • Analyse how routinely collected data on health outcomes for children and young people have changed over time;
  • Work with stakeholders to produce suitable ways of sharing knowledge with those working within CYP health systems, and with CYP and their families, along with guidance for policy makers and local authorities.

This work will particularly focus on the health outcomes for CYP for whom socioeconomic disadvantage could impact their health, and priority outcomes such as mental health, early years (including school readiness) and childhood obesity. This work also offers the opportunity to examine the impact of COVID-19 response on children’s systems in England.

Our findings will provide evidence to help improve local CYP systems, including the integration of public health services within a systems perspective, and to guide policy makers and local authorities to make decisions that will improve outcomes for CYP.

Responsibilities :

  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature 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.
  • 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 or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, 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 or Grant-holder 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 deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • 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 participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.   
  • To support the organisation and implementation of the survey with all 42 STP/ICS areas.
  • To support the organisation and implementation of the Delphie prioritisation survey with stakeholders
  • To conduct and analyse interviews with a subset of STP/ICS CYP leaders
  • To assess how routinely collected data on health outcomes for children and young people have changed over time
  • To work with stakeholders to produce suitable ways of sharing knowledge with those working within CYP health systems, and with CYP and their families, along with guidance for policy makers and local authorities.
  • To support the data extraction and analysis for the systematic review (due to complete summer 2021).

This post is for a fixed term with an end date of 31st March 2022 - the funding is available for this fixed period only.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project 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 project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in the post in May 2021. 

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Carolyn Summerbell (carolyn.summerbell@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.

At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.  We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our workforce including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

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;

The Realising Your Potential Approach clarifies the behaviours expected to be demonstrated by all staff across Professional Services in the University regardless of their role. Along with the core responsibilities, role responsibilities and the person specification, the Realising Your Potential Approach behavioural indicators are used to inform the recruitment and selection process. Further information on the Realising Your Potential Approach is available here.

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include a short presentation on what the applicants' experience and skills will bring to this project. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment.

The Requirements



  • A good first degree in a relevant discipline.
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in a relevant discipline and with a focus on public health or inequalities


  • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience in qualitative research methods
  • Experience of public engagement and/or knowledge exchange with professional and public bodies and stakeholder groups outside academia


  • 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.
  • Excellent organisational skills



  • 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 quantitative and mixed research methods
  • Experience of managing large datasets and systems


  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research. 
  • Demonstrable ability to create a pathway to impact for a research project, and the use of a Blog, Infographic and Case Study

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.