Research Assistant/Associate (AIMS-2-Trials)

London (Greater) (GB)
Grade 5: £34,502 - 36,348/Grade 6: £40,386 - £41,474 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
18 Jan 2023
End of advertisement period
01 Feb 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

This role will provide maternity leave cover to ensure seamless, ongoing data collection on a well-established project whose aim is to test the acceptability and feasibility of using digital measures in autistic adolescents and adults, in comparison with neurotypical populations. The post-holder will work closely with other researchers, both at King’s and other UK/European sites, and will be exposed to leading international researchers.  This project will provide extensive experience and  an important stepping-stone for a researcher interested in further projects at King’s and within autism research more generally. 


The post-holder will be expected to recruit participants into the study and oversee remote and in-person data collection of both passive and active (questionnaire) data.


The post-holder will be expected to show initiative, problem-solving, a sensitivity to patient needs and preferences in capturing accurate, and representative data in a manner that is acceptable to the client group. The post-holder will ­­work actively with both the research associate responsible for data analytics and also the other researchers who take direct responsibility for data acquisition, in order to understand any difficulties and limitations they are experiencing and should help to provide potential solutions. The post-holder should expect to have some direct interactions with research participants to better understand their feedback on the data acquisition modalities and instruments being used, and to consider pro-actively alternatives that may mitigate and problems they are experiencing.


The post-holder will work within the AIMS-2-TRIALS, IMI-funded programme on the development and implementation of objective and experiential measures related to autism symptoms and outcomes.

Whilst based within the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the post-holder will be expected to work flexibly with others across the IoPPN, including in  Precision Health Informatics ( group, part of the   Centre for Translational Informatics (CTI) and other researchers working on AIMS-2-TRIALS (including the Departments of   Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences and Psychology )as well as other European centres and organizations involved in AIMS-2-TRIALS, including Hoffman LaRoche.  They will take a key role in developing, training and rolling out objective measures across several European sites, ensuring data acquisition from all participating sites meets agreed quality standards as well as

assisting with evaluating platform technologies and devices


This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 6 months 

This is full time equivalent


Key responsibilities

This post plays a key role in the development and delivery of a specific task in the prestigious EU IMI-funded large programme of autism research, AIMS-2-TRIALS. AIMS-2-TRIALS has the overall aim of evaluating interventions for autistic people, to reduce core and co-occurring symptoms that impair quality of life. This task in this work package will develop, test and implement both established and novel objective measures of core and co-occurring symptoms, in order to provide more accurate evaluation of treatment response as well as more sensitive indices of a possible treatment signal, thus ultimately allowing interventions to be evaluated more rapidly (‘fast-fail’). These objective measures will include data acquired in face-to-face assessments as well as via remote monitoring. 


Key Objectives:

●     Work collaboratively and proactively with colleagues (Research Associate focussing on data analytics, researchers collecting data from the LEAP cohort), local PIs for the AIMS-2-TRIALS LEAP cohort in London, Cambridge and Nijmegen and SME partners), and key partners (including for this work package to evaluate potential existing objective measures and their appropriateness, feasibility and acceptability for this study

●     Work with researchers at collaborating centres in data acquisition and monitor data quality, taking a proactive approach to identifying and solving problems, alongside the research associate responsible for data analytics

●     With LEAP researchers, work with research participants to understand any aspects of objective/remote data collection that they perceive as unacceptable or infeasible and problem-solve to find solutions

●     Assist in the planning of analyses for passive and active time series data streams coming from participants

●     Collaborate with the platform development team to assist with the data collection, processing and validation

●     Collaborate with the data analytics research associate in selecting features, building and optimizing classifiers using machine learning techniques

●     Assist in evaluation and benchmarking of reference set of wearable devices, phone sensors and apps to measure core data classes (e.g. Sleep architecture, Physical Activity, Speech, Cognition, Social Connectivity, Memory)

●     Work more generally across both AIMS-2-TRIALS and with colleagues in the Centre for Translational Informatics to deliver this work package


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

Communication & Networking:

●     Work effectively and proactively with the LEAP PIs and researchers at the collaborating sites

●     Communicate effectively with a multidisciplinary team of data scientists, bioinformaticians, biostatisticians, clinicians, scientists and support staff within the Maudsley BRC and as well as other related organizations and develop good working relationships

●     Communicate complex information both orally and in writing.


Decision Making, Planning and Problem Solving:

●     Participation in the strategic planning of the project

●     The post holder will be responsible for day-to-day decisions in carrying out this project and will be expected to consult line manager when making major decisions.


Analysis & Research:

●     Contribute to the development of research strategies

●     Work closely with data analytics research associate and senior investigators to identify the most promising objective measures for core and co-existing symptoms in autism

●     Publish in high impact journals

●     Contribute to grant writing


Teamwork, Teaching & Learning Support:

●     The post holder will be expected to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams as described above, to participate in team meetings, and to keep records of all meetings as required

●     The post holder will be expected to have a strong desire to learn new technologies and skills and will be supported in doing so.

●     The post-holder should have a strong interest in and previous experience working with people with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, and a desire to work with other researchers to find solutions to obstacles that may limit data acquisition and quality


Essential criteria  

1.       BSc degree in Psychology or related social science 

2.       Knowledge of existing outcome measures used in mental health and/or neurodevelopmental disorders 

3.       Experience of working with people with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism 

4.       Experience of collecting health -related data and/or working with patient groups 

5.       Excellent interpersonal & communication (written & verbal) skills 

6.       Proactive and solutions-oriented personality 

7.       The ability to operate in a multidisciplinary environment and cooperate with team members 

8.       Experience with data analysis 


Desirable criteria

1.       PhD degree in Psychology or related social science 

2.       Excellent understanding of visualisation tools 


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. 

Further information

Applications are welcome from pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers.  The  successful candidate will be offered the role at the grade relevant to their experience/qualifications.

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