Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Egham, United Kingdom
£38,467 to £45,289 per annum - including London Allowance
26 Apr 2023
End of advertisement period
31 May 2023
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Psychology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Psychology

Location: Egham
Salary: £38,467 to £45,289 per annum - including London Allowance Post Type: Full Time
Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Tuesday Wednesday 31 May 2023
Reference: 0423-191

Full-Time, Fixed Term for 36 months 

Applications are invited for the post of Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Department of Psychology.

We are looking for a highly motivated individual to join a research project on Social Norms led by the Principal Investigator (PI), Professor David Levine.

Social norms are crucial for groups to succeed: from political parties, to labour unions, to special interest groups, even to criminal gangs. Each of these groups faces a free-rider problem: it is in the interest of each individual in the group to let the others do the work of advancing the common interest. Norms are equally pivotal in persuading individuals not to engage in anti-social behaviour, from littering, to thievery, and worse, where again a divide appears between individual goals and larger interests

The project will involve economists, psychologists, and computer scientists at Royal Holloway in order to understand how social norms develop and sustain themselves.  The psychological component of the project will explain and illustrate how people learn norms and make inferences about normative behaviours in social environments.

The results will address both large questions that have defined the modern era – how can individuals be convinced to obey social rules that are not normally in their self-interest to follow? – and smaller puzzles of how institutions can better function.  

This is a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The successful candidate will spend part of their time working directly on the project but will also have the opportunity to pursue their other research interests. 

The successful candidate will work closely with the PI, Professor David Levine (Economics), and the research team including: Professor Ryan McKay (Psychology), Dr Gabriele Bellucci (Psychology), Professor Michael Mandler (Economics), Professor Francesco Feri (Economics) and Professor Kostas Stathis (Computer Science). They are expected to engage as a full member of the research team. Specific tasks will involve designing and running experiments, applying computational models (for behavioural predictions and data analysis), and contributing to writing up the results.

The project has both theoretical and empirical focusses along with subject experiments. 

The successful candidate will possess as many as possible of the following:

  1. PhD (or near completion of) in relevant subject area (e.g., psychology, cognitive neuroscience, political science, economics, computer science, mathematics / statistics, or related);
  2. Experience of designing and running psychology studies with human subjects (online and/or in-lab);
  3. Experience in using key statistical and/or stimulus presentation software, e.g., Python, R, Javascript;
  4. Strong statistical skills;
  5. Experience/expertise with computational modelling of behaviour;
  6. Demonstrated enthusiasm for open science research practices;
  7. Experience with constructing research funding proposals;
  8. Ability to keep accurate records, strong communication skills, experience with interacting with research users and with researchers from related disciplines, and ability to work independently under regular supervision as well as within a team setting;
  9. Most of all, the successful candidate will have a great enthusiasm to conduct research on this topic. 

In return we offer a highly competitive rewards and benefits package including:

  • Generous annual leave entitlement 
  • Training and Development opportunities
  • Pension Scheme with generous employer contribution 
  • Various schemes including Cycle to Work, Season Ticket Loans and help with the cost of Eyesight testing. 
  • Free parking 

The post is based in Egham, Surrey, where the College is situated in a beautiful, leafy campus near to Windsor Great Park and within commuting distance from London. Meetings with the team will take place at Royal Holloway. It is expected that the successful candidate will work at least part of the time on campus. There might be the possibility to use facilities in Central London based on project requirements.

For queries on the application process the Human Resources Department can be contacted by email at:

Please quote the reference: 0423-191

Closing Date:   23:59, 31 May 2023

Interview Date: To Be Confirmed

Further details:  Job Description & Person Specification    

This position is not eligible for hybrid working.

Royal Holloway is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and encourages applications from all people regardless of age, disability, gender, marital status, parental status, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or trans status or history. More information on our structures and initiatives around EDI, including information on staff diversity networks, can be found on our Equality and Diversity Intranet page.

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