• Many people with psychosis continue to have paranoid beliefs, despite the best treatments available. STOP (Successful Treatment of Paranoia) is a new digital health technology (a smartphone app) designed to encourage people with distressing paranoia to develop alternative ways of interpreting their paranoid thoughts. This post is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the development and evaluation of STOP, working as part of a large Medical Research Council award, building on the promising results of earlier work (Savulich et al., 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2020.101575) .
• The development of the mobile app is nearing completion, and we are about to start a 3-year clinical trial to evaluate the app’s efficacy in reducing symptoms of paranoia. This Research Assistant position is designed to support that trial and would suit someone with academic interests in cognitive biases, bias modification techniques or paranoia/psychosis. The post will be attractive to those who are passionate about translating basic research findings into useful applications that have the potential to provide downstream benefits for patients in the real world. The post-holder will have a good first degree in psychology, or a closely related discipline, and may already have some experience of working with patients. Proven ability to successfully recruit patients into academic research studies would be a distinct advantage. Although an MSc and/or knowledge of digital technologies would also be a bonus, we are primarily looking for an enthusiastic, hard-working person who has plenty of common sense and is able to take the initiative to get things done. The main activities of the post holder will be to recruit patients into the trial, administer outcome assessments and monitor and encourage patient adherence. Researchers’ ability to foster a strong professional relationship with patients taking part in the trial will be key to ensuring the trial’s success.
The post holder will work under the supervision of a senior clinical researcher as well as directly with Professor Jenny Yiend and the project manager. They will need to liaise with other members of the academic team who include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, statisticians, the local clinical trials unit, information technology experts and the McPin Foundation who coordinate our service user group. Attending and presenting at team meetings will be an expected part of the role.
While the post is located at the main IOPPN site at Denmark Hill, if circumstances require it, the role can be carried out entirely remotely, for example conducting patients interviews over the phone or online. The successful candidate should be in a position to work both on site and from home, as required.
We are looking for someone to start as soon as possible after interview.
For an informal discussion about the role or your suitability please contact the study’s Principal Investigator Professor Jenny Yiend, email@example.com (07977978655).
This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 36 months
This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent
a) Using local NHS Trust research registers and similar schemes to screen patient records for likely eligibility against trial criteria and identifying those to approach
b) Approaching patients and clinicians about possible participation; using study publicity to advertise the trial widely, including presenting to clinical team meetings
c) Screening interested patients, including self-referrals, to check for eligibility
Running the trial
a) Consenting and randomising patients into the trial using the digital researcher platform linked to the mobile app
b) Setting patients up with the STOP app either on their own phone or using a study phone
c) Guiding patients through in-app assessments and administering some clinical assessments
d) Responding to patient queries and problems, including managing the study’s generic email address inbox
e) Establishing a professional working relationship with every trial participant through fortnightly 10 min phone calls following a semi structured brief.
Administration, Data Handling and Reporting
a) Keeping track of, and in some cases manually entering, trial-related data
b) Administering participant payments throughout the trial
c) Being aware of the study’s annual milestones and adhering to them.
d) Preparing written reports on study progress (e.g. on recruitment, retention and follow up) and presenting these to the team on a regular basis, as requested.
e) Being aware of and adhering to the agreed protocol, including ethical procedures, good research practices and standard operating procedures for researchers.
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
1. Suitable first-degree qualification (e.g. BSc) in Psychology or a closely related discipline
2. Experience (voluntary or paid) of working with clinical or clinically vulnerable groups
3. Knowledge or experience of administering informed consent procedures
4. Competent at communicating with clinical staff
5. Good attention to detail and high standards of accuracy
6. Excellent organisational skills
7. Post-graduate academic qualification (e.g. MSc) in Psychology or a closely related discipline
8. Proven ability to proactively recruit patients into research studies
9. Experience of working with patients suffering from paranoia
10. Experience in digital technologies
11. Knowledge or experience of clinical trials methodology
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.
This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.
Cognitive bias; paranoia; schizophrenia