Post-doctoral Research Associate in Peace and Conflict Studies

Durham, United Kingdom
£34,304 - £36,382 per annum
14 Sep 2021
End of advertisement period
28 Sep 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

School Government & Int'national Affairs

Grade 7: - £34,304 - £36,382 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 27 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date : 28-Sep-2021, 6:59:00 AM 

A globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other.

We believe that inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham enables Durham people to do outstanding things in the world. 

As part of Durham University, you’ll be working with exceptional minds, all with the desire to ask, and answer the big questions. Access to leading edge facilities and an active contributor to the global research and university community means you’ll be part of an international and diverse network of partners spanning the world’s best research institutions, organisations and businesses. And all this within the evocative and historic surroundings of the city, county and community that is Durham. 

We find it easy to be proud of the extraordinary people we have at Durham. We offer the inspiration, they achieve the outstanding. We invite you to join them. 

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.  

When appointing to this role the University must ensure that it meets any applicable immigration requirements, including salary thresholds that are applicable to some visas.

Durham University’s Athena Swan institutional award recognises and celebrates good practice in recruiting and supporting the development of women. We have also signed up to the Race Equality Charter, a national framework for improving the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education.  

The Department

SGIA is a growing department over the next five years by which point we anticipate having 50 core academic staff, up from 29 in 2017-18. Building on current successes (QS top 100), SGIA aims to be amongst the World’s top 40 and the UK’s top 10 units in the field by the completion of our expansion. SGIA plans to be amongst the most diverse and inclusive departments in the UK, too. Our academic community ethos stresses equality and we will provide an environment that supports all its members effectively. The department holds an Athena Swan award at the bronze level and is developing a range of initiatives to enhance equality and diversity in our research, teaching and management practices.

The successful candidate will join a vibrant research culture which provides a stimulating and supportive environment for developing and refining research projects and outputs, networking with colleagues within and beyond Durham, and providing pump-priming financial support for research. All staff have access to excellent individual research support and Durham University’s wealth of research resources, as appropriate for a University that aims to be firmly within the world’s elite.  

SGIA attracts some of the most highly qualified undergraduates in the UK to its exciting undergraduate degree programmes, which are scheduled to expand significantly over the coming eight years. The postgraduate student community is large, at over 200 taught and research students, and highly international. 

Our vibrancy is linked to the two journals we host (Global Policy and East Asia: an International Quarterly), and our additional research Centres and Institutes in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Global Policy, Global Security, Political Thought, Institutions and Political Behaviour, and Contemporary Chinese Studies. 

The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Peace and Conflict Studies with a particular emphasis on the micro-dynamics of inter-community relations in Lebanon and Northern Ireland. The position is made possible by an ESRC-funded project “Getting on with it: understanding the Micro-Dynamics of Post-Accord Intergroup Social Relations”. Specifically, the post-holder would play a major role in the conduct of primary research in Lebanon and Northern Ireland, as well as associated publication, dissemination and project organisation. The project will employ another Postdoctoral Research Associate based at Bristol who will conduct research in Colombia and Northern Ireland.

The project, that the successful candidate would play a part in, is led by Dr Roddy Brett (at Bristol) and Prof Roger Mac Ginty (at Durham). Employing co-produced research, the project seeks to track and analyse the mechanisms and narratives that individuals, groups and communities employ to address and cope with the legacy of political violence and manoeuvre through everyday post-accord life. By investigating the strategies and tactics former enemies and their constituencies use to navigate everyday post-accord life in collaboration with those affected by conflict, the research will bring original insight into how people sustain or challenge the peace/conflict/violence nexus. The post-holder will be expected to conduct in-country life history interviews, semi-structured interviews, walking ethnographies, focus groups, community mapping, and photographic documentation in order to document the narratives, representations and perceptions shaping intergroup relations. The post-holder should have English, French and Arabic proficiency.

All research expenses are covered, and the successful candidate will be funded to attend and present at conferences as well as engage in knowledge exchange activities. The project leads will develop a bespoke programme of professional development for the project PDRAs.


  • To organise, and engage in, high-quality individual and collaborative research in Lebanon and Northern Ireland, as well as desk research, in service of the project aims and under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder. (this will involve substantial in-country research time.)
  • To contribute to and publish the research and writing of high-quality research outputs for academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To liaise with project partner organisations in Northern Ireland and Lebanon, and organise in-country workshops and seminars.
  • To plan and manage own research activity and research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to planning as part of the research project.
  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions.
  • 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 engage in wider citizenship regarding the ESRC grant, in the process of enhancing career development (e.g. contributing to conference organisation, public outreach, giving an early career researcher perspective to grant activities).
  • 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 continuing professional development by participation by attending relevant training and development courses.  

This post is fixed term for 27 months as the funding is linked to an ESRC project.  

The post-holder is employed to work on a research/a research project. 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 outputs.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by October 2021.

The Requirements



  • A good first degree in Politics or International Relations or a related subject. A PhD (or be close to submission) in Politics or International Relations with a focus on peace and conflict


  • 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 national and/or international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience of conducting fieldwork in conflict-affected contexts


  • 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, in particular to ensure excellent working relationships with collaborators.
  • Proficiency in English, Arabic and French



  • Publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences or workshops, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Knowledge of relevant academic literature, such as on key theories in Peace and Conflict Studies and relevant country contexts Working with Nvivo or a similar qualitative software programme.


  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research.
  • An understanding of conflict sensitive and ethically-aware approaches to field research.  

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.