Research Assistant - Health and Safety

Birmingham, West Midlands (GB)
£32,556 to £35,388 per annum
19 Jan 2023
End of advertisement period
22 Feb 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

School of Engineering and the Built Environment

Location: City Centre Campus (Millennium Point)
Salary: £32,556 to £35,388 per annum
Fixed Term
Posted On: Wednesday 18 January 2023
Closing Date: Wednesday 22 February 2023
Interview Date: To be confirmed
Reference: 082022-450-R

The Department of the Built Environment, Birmingham City University (BCU) and National Highways (a UK government company), are working in partnership on a series of research projects that seek to reduce accidents on highways engineering projects. As part of this on-going work, the partnership is now looking to engage a post-doctoral research assistant for a two-year period to investigate buried service strikes. This role represents a significant investment in the existing research team and so we welcome vibrant and experienced researchers to apply for the position.

The successful candidate will be leading research that will specifically examine case study (and other) data on utility strikes from Safety I & II perspectives with a view to developing a learning organisation within National Highways and the partnership.  

Through effective and efficient management of the project, the successful candidate will:

  • Lead in the management of data accrual by establishing strong linkages with existing industry partners (and developing new industry partnerships);
  • Lead in the analysis of data and assist in the development of a learning organisational culture with National Highways.
  • Lead on the dissemination of key emergent research findings via conference proceedings, journal publications and industry best practice guidance.  
  • Oversee daily project management and periodic reporting of progress to colleagues within the partnership.
  • Alongside the relevant university and National Highways teams, ensure all Health, Safety, Wellbeing and Environmental policies are in place and effective; and
  • Work to generate new lines of research enquiry via applications to external funding bodies.    

National Highways and Birmingham City University (BCU) share a common commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. The opportunity to apply for this position is an open competition; applications are invited from candidates from all backgrounds, and each fully completed application will be assessed solely on merit during the initial review, to ensure equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination.

We welcome applications from candidates who can provide evidence of the following essential and desirable attributes and requirements:


Personal attributes

  • Interest or involvement in workforce safety, operational safety, or road safety.
  • Good self-management and planning skills that make optimum use of time.
  • Accountability for own work, learning from mistakes and the work of others.
  • Ability to maintain focus on defined goals and persevere, even in the event of failure.
  • Enthusiasm for applied scientific research, with considerable self-motivation.
  • Attention to detail, taking time, pride and care to deliver scientifically credible research.
  • Trustworthy with the ability to engage individuals and industry, and to build trust in others through open and honest dialogue.
  • Respect for others, especially those with conflicting or contradictory views or opinions.
  • Willingness to listen to alternative arguments and understand opposing hypotheses.
  • Ability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary and geographically distributed team; and
  • Good communication skills, enabling ideas to be shared via oral, graphical and written channels.

Core academic requirements

  • Sufficient academic acumen to support preparation of written materials such as periodic research publications in academic journals, reports to National Highways and working papers.
  • Willingness to travel within the UK in support of collaborative discussions with National Highways staff and supply chain and to visit construction sites as required by the research.
  • Understanding of qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques and their application to multi-disciplinary research; and
  • An appreciation and understanding of statistical and modelling software that can be used to analyse large sets of both quantitative and qualitative data.

Specific academic requirements

  • Proven qualification or competence in at least one of the core areas of research and working knowledge of the remaining core area(s) of research. The core areas of research are utility services; safety I & II, safety behavioural change; operational health, safety and wellbeing.


Personal attributes

  • Possession of a driving licence for Category B vehicles (cars) is beneficial, as many construction sites are not easily accessible via public transport.

Academic requirements

  • Knowledge of health and safety legislation, regulations, approved codes of practice and other guidance applicable to highway construction and utility services.
  • Knowledge of the highway construction environment, including approaches adopted to utility excavation and reinstatement works.
  • Knowledge of behavioural or cultural change applied to achieve health, safety and wellbeing improvement in operational high-risk environments.
  • Knowledge of operational environments and the challenges associated with working within them to deliver highway schemes.
  • Knowledge of relative safety theories (specifically, Safety I & II), current approaches to achieving safety improvement and contemporary safety management practices.
  • Awareness of technology solutions, devices and working practices intended to improve safety for those working with or around utility services; and
  • Experience of working within or with the construction and civil engineering industry.

Further details:
Job Description

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The University is committed to internationalism and diversity and welcomes applications from all countries, faiths and backgrounds.

It is each individual successful applicants responsibility to ensure that they have permission to work in the UK. Some applicants may require sponsorship from the University and a visa from UKVI to take up the role if successful. More information on this can be found here:

Some roles are not capable of sponsorship because they do not meet the UKVI criteria relating to skill and salary level. If you are unsure as to whether you would require sponsorship if successful, or whether the role is capable of sponsorship, please contact us:

Please note on occasions where we receive a large number of applications, we may close the advert ahead of the publicised closing date. If this does happen, we will contact all candidates via email who have started but not yet completed their application, giving 48 hours’ notice.  We would therefore advise that you submit your completed application as soon as possible.

At Birmingham City University we are proud to be an equal opportunities employer.  All staff are expected to understand and enact the University’s commitment to ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion in our employment practice and in all that we do . This commitment is enshrined in our Core Values and is detailed in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Employment Policy. The University values and celebrates the diversity of our staff and students; we welcome people from the many  different backgrounds and life experiences that reflect the students and the citizens we serve.  We are committed to equality of opportunity for all staff and actively encourage unique contributions, in particular from under-represented groups in respect of age, disability, sex, gender or gender identity, ethnicity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status

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