Research Associate (Evaluation) at The Policy Institute at King's
We are seeking a Research Associate to join the Evidence Development and Incubation Team (EDIT), within the Policy Institute. The Policy Institute addresses complex policy and practice challenges with rigorous research, academic expertise and analysis focused on improving outcomes. EDIT focuses on designing robust, pragmatic evaluations of complex social programmes, combining academic rigour with agility and pragmatism.
This role is an exciting opportunity to work with a high-performing team in a fast-paced research environment, to deliver evaluations with real-world impacts. We are seeking to appoint a Research Associate to work on the evaluation of the Circle U Empowering Research and Innovation Actions (ERIA), a Europe-wide initiative to promote interdisciplinary research via a range of actions including themed activities relating to climate, democracy and global health, and cross-cutting actions including two-day sandboxes, a research prize and a funding scheme.
Although the Research Associate will work independently on the Circle U ERIA evaluation activities, they will sit within EDIT, and be able to draw on the diverse methodological expertise of the team and the wider institute, which includes quantitative and quasi-experimental analysis, Randomised Controlled Trials, online and phone surveying, interviews, focus groups, participatory methods, and cost analysis. We also conduct some capacity-building work, helping organisations develop their own evaluation approach. The Research Associate will also get involved in other evaluations in EDIT, particularly those relating to higher education.
The ideal candidate will have expertise or interest in higher education as a field of research, and be experienced working with researchers across disciplinary and methodological lines. They will also have expertise or interest in understanding both how new initiatives developed by higher education institutions work in practice, and the effectiveness of these initiatives. They will have good mixed methods research skills, and be skilled in integrating insights from diverse strands of research activity. They will be a strong written and verbal communicator with a demonstrated commitment to evidence-based approaches and conducting research with real world impacts.
This role will require travel to various European destinations, in order to meet with colleagues working on ERIA actions, to conduct data collection (e.g. focus groups), and to attend events such as sandboxes and the annual prize ceremony.
This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for 2 years.
This is a full-time post, but part time arrangements (0.6FTE or above) may be considered.
• Deliver the evaluation activities of the Circle U ERIA, including:
- Develop and regularly review the project plan
- Work closely with collaborators at King’s and other Circle U institutions across Europe to ensure evaluation is built into project actions
- Work with ERIA colleagues to develop a programme theory (i.e. Theory of Change, Logic Model) for ERIA, and to agree key outcomes for each ERIA action, and how these should be measured
- Develop and implement an evaluation plan for ERIA actions, informed by the programme theory
- Conduct qualitative and quantitative data collection across ERIA actions, in order to assess the extent to which ERIA has achieved its goals
- Provide regular reporting on the evaluation of ERIA, including a final report
- Ensure evaluation activities and reporting are delivered on time, to the required standard, and consistent with King’s and Circle U requirements
• Contribute to other EDIT evaluations as required. This is likely to focus on evaluations in the field of higher education, such as those commissioned by the Office for Students and the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education, but EDIT’s work spans education, youth employment, youth violence reduction, and homelessness, and team members are expected to work flexibly across evaluations as needed.
• Maintain and develop expertise in evaluation training and capacity building, keeping abreast of new tools or techniques, and training both colleagues and partners as required.
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. PhD in a relevant field (such as higher education policy and practice, or research methods), or equivalent experience
2. Experience conducting mixed-methods research, including developing plans and materials for both qualitative and quantitative/survey data collection, conducting the data collection, analysing data collected, and integrating insights from multiple strands of research using a mixed methods approach
3. Demonstrated skills in one or more of the following areas:
- Working with organisations to understand their programme theory to guide research design
- Working independently to design and deliver research that assesses the impact or effectiveness of an initiative
- Working across institutional, disciplinary and methodological lines
- Experience of conducting “research on research” or research on universities.
4. Excellent writing and communication skills and the ability to communicate effectively with funders, delivery partners and collaborators, both in person and in writing
5. Ability to work on own initiative and develop and implement plans for complex projects with many moving parts
6. Ability to work flexibly on emerging priorities, across multiple projects, to tight deadlines
1. Familiarity with the research methods used by EDIT to assess impact (e.g. RCTs, quasi-experimental designs, Small-N evaluation designs), and ability to explain these methods to a lay audience