Mental Health Policy Research Associate

London (Greater) (GB)
Post-doctoral position: scale from £38,826 - £42,087 (depending on experience) per annum, including
05 Jul 2022
End of advertisement period
25 Jul 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term

Job description

We are appointing a Research Associate to work on a national Mental Health Policy Research Unit.  This post provides an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic Research Associate to conduct mental health research that addresses key policy gaps and supports policy makers in developing nationwide mental health service plans.   


We are looking for a highly motivated researcher who is either: (1) post-doctoral researcher (or close to completion of a PhD programme), or (2) experienced mental health researcher with relevant experience as a researcher on mental health research projects.


The successful candidate will join the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Mental Health Policy Research Unit (MHPRU). The MHPRU was established in 2017 and is led by two world-leading universities: University College London and King’s College London. It works to make evidence and expert views available to policymakers in a timely way and to carry out research that is directly useful to inform policy.  Our recent work includes research on the remote delivery of care during the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 on mental health services and research on community mental health care for people who have been assigned a personality disorder diagnosis. 


You will work closely with Prof Alan Simpson, Co-Director of the MHPRU and Professor of Mental Health Nursing, and Dr Kylee Trevillion, Deputy Director of the MHPRU and Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Services Research, joining a multidisciplinary team of applied mental health researchers across King’s College London, UCL, and other UK universities.


The successful post-holder will be mixed-methods researcher in public health, psychology, psychiatry, nursing, or other relevant disciplines. They should have experience of using both qualitative and quantitative research methods in an applied health research context, and experience of conducting systematic reviews. Experience of co-production and/or working collaboratively with service users is highly desirable, as is experience of implementation science methods. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to contribute to research that is directly relevant to mental health policy and service provision, a competitive salary and annual leave entitlement, and access to training courses to support their personal and training development. 


Follow @MentalHealthPRU on Twitter for more information about what we do.


This post will be offered on a fixed term contract until 31.12.2023 

There are options for the post to be full-time, part-time and/or as a job share.


Key responsibilities

  • Collaborating on the design and planning of projects to inform mental health policy in England   
  • Supporting MHPRU Directors and senior members of the team to deliver outputs within the agreed project schedule
  • Collecting, screening, reviewing and synthesising mixed-methods evidence and data relating to mental health services 
  • Collecting, managing and analysing qualitative and quantitative data on mental health research
  • Conducting detailed and sensitive research interviews with mental health service users and staff
  • Collaborating with lived experience researchers on projects, including carrying out participatory and co-produced research activities
  • Working with local and national data systems to extract relevant data  
  • Undertaking activities to ensure adherence to ethical, governance, and data protection requirements.  
  • Attending and contributing to study meetings, including presenting information on research progress
  • Providing advice, support, and guidance to other members of the research team. 
  • Writing up and presenting results of projects for academic and non-academic audiences, e.g., peer reviewed journals, policy briefs, seminars, webinars, conferences, workshops, meetings, etc. 

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. PhD awarded in a relevant discipline, or PhD in a relevant discipline near completion OR relevant experience as a researcher on mental health research projects 
  2. Experience of collecting, managing and analyzing mixed-methods data, including the synthesis and triangulation of this data
  3. Experience of conducting systematic reviews
  4. Experience of conducting detailed and sensitive research interviews with mental health service users and staff
  5. Excellent communication and rapport-building skills with research colleagues and stakeholders (including lived experience researchers, mental health service users and staff)
  6. Demonstrating initiative and autonomy in the management of day-to-day tasks and ongoing workloads, to ensure they are prioritised and completed within agreed timeframes
  7. Anticipating and managing problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines
  8. Contributing to the management of information with full awareness of needs for confidentiality and data protection
  9. Demonstrating clear attention to detail and an organised and accurate approach to recording, storing and managing the data acquired
  10. Skills in using qualitative and quantitative software (e.g. NVivo and SPSS, STATA) 
  11. Proficiency in using systematic reviewing software (e.g. Rayaan, Covidence, EPPI reviewer) 
  12. Ability to write high-quality peer-reviewed publications 
  13. Good understanding of ethical and research governance requirements for mental health services research.  
  14. Demonstrable interest in mental health policy and service provision in a UK context. 

Desirable criteria 

  1. Experience of implementation science methods 
  2. Experience of co-producing research with lived experience researchers 

Further information

For an informal discussion or to find out more about the role please contact Professor Alan Simpson ( Shortlisted candidates should expect to give a brief presentation at a panel interview.  Interviews will take place on 8th August.

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