Research Assistant in the Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
We are seeking a highly motivated pre-doctoral Research Assistant to join an exciting new four-year Wellcome Trust-funded programme (METROPOLIS) under the overall direction of Dr Daniel Michelson. The programme aims to advance understanding about the effectiveness and mechanisms of problem solving (PS) and behavioural activation (BA) when delivered by peer counsellors as early interventions for young people with depression. Both PS and BA have the potential to be used as brief and effective standalone interventions, yet they have rarely been evaluated outside of multi-component packages. METROPOLIS will investigate these active ingredients in India, which is home to 20% of the world’s youth population, focusing on university students from disadvantaged groups in New Delhi.
The post-holder will be based at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, joining Europe’s largest grouping of youth-focused mental health scientists, clinical academics and researchers at the newly established Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People. Project partners include Sangath NGO, Jindal Global University, Youth for Mental Health, and Brighton and Sussex Medical School. The post will entail regular remote working with the India-based team and periodic international travel to research sites in New Delhi.
The successful candidate will play a vital role in the coordination of the programme, assisting with an array of research activities and providing seamless administrative support. They will be expected to register for a part-time PhD concurrently with their salaried Research Assistant position. The specific focus of the PhD will be decided in agreement with the principal investigator and prospective co-supervisors. It is expected to fit within at least one of four METROPOLIS work packages: (i) participatory adaptation of PS and BA protocols for a target population of university students experiencing subthreshold and case-level depression; (ii) development of measures to assess hypothesised mediators; (iii) a 3-arm, individually randomised controlled trial that compares outcomes and mediation effects for peer-delivered PS, BA and an attention control condition; and (iv) a realist process evaluation that uses qualitative interviews to investigate participants’ perspectives on intervention outcomes and mechanisms.
We are looking for candidates with postgraduate research experience in a relevant field. The post-holder also requires excellent organisational skills, meticulous attention to detail and outstanding communication abilities. These attributes will be critical for collaborating effectively with a diverse international team; coordinating complex time-sensitive tasks across multiple workstreams and institutions; and simultaneously completing independent PhD research. Enthusiasm for youth mental health research and a commitment to a (clinical) academic career track are essential.
Candidates should submit their application along with a CV and cover letter containing a concise description of their research interests, experience and career goals.
Informal enquiries can be directed to Dr Daniel Michelson (email@example.com)
This post will be offered on a part time 60%FTE post until 3rd December 2027.
The successful candidate will be able to register concurrently for a part-time PhD, for which fees will be covered by the programme budget at the discounted rate for KCL staff. Please note: A separate PhD stipend will not be payable in addition to the salaried part-time position.
- To assist the research team in meeting all deadlines and ensuring that the programme progresses according to the agreed timetable
- To assist in the preparation of study protocols, ethics applications and supporting research materials
- To carry out any administrative duties required for coordination of the research programme
- To prepare a PhD research proposal that is embedded within the METROPOLIS programme, and complete the necessary KCL application and registration processes for enrolment in 2024
- To assist with setting up and coordinating a youth advisory group
- To work collaboratively with implementing partners in achieving the required flow of research participants for each work package
- To identify and communicate areas of difficulty, and help to formulate solutions in conjunction with the wider research team
- To transcribe and code qualitative interviews
- To assist with secure transfer of data from India-based research sites to the UK
- To maintain up-to-date file repositories and other systems to support effective collaboration between the principal investigator, co-investigators, research staff and wider collaborators
- To work according to Good Clinical Practice, and attend relevant training to strengthen compliance
- To ensure data confidentiality by working within the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Data Protection Act 2018 and other regulatory bodies, and attend relevant training to strengthen compliance
- To assist in the preparation of interim and final reports for the funder, sponsor, ethics committee, steering committee and other research stakeholders as needed
- To assist in the preparation of peer-reviewed research papers and public engagement materials, including lay summaries
- To assist in the preparation and delivery of research presentations to diverse audiences
- To attend such meetings as necessary for satisfactory completion of the duties of the post, including periodic in-person meetings planned in New Delhi, India
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. Undergraduate (2:1 minimum) degree in psychology or another relevant subject
2. Strong commitment to undertaking a PhD in global youth mental health with the ambition to follow an academic or related career path; all PhD eligibility criteria must be evidenced
3. Research experience (beyond undergraduate project), including a track record of collecting and analysing quantitative and qualitative data; preparing research ethics applications; and writing up findings for publication
4. Excellent research-related computing skills in MS Office, bibliographic software and data analysis packages
5. Excellent team-working skills, with demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with others and independently as needed
6. Excellent organisational skills, with demonstrated ability to meet deadlines while managing multiple competing demands
7. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including demonstrated ability to prepare research outputs with meticulous attention to detail, as well as the ability to summarise academic research clearly in plain English
8. Knowledge of randomised controlled trial methodology and lived experience involvement in mental health research
1. Postgraduate qualification in global mental health, public health, applied psychology or another relevant subject area
2. Experience of mental health research or practice in India or another low- or middle-income country
3. Experience of project management, including budgeting and financial reporting
4. Knowledge of theory and evidence related to problem solving and behavioural activation for youth depression
This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service clearance.