Research Associate - Social Scientist

University of Cambridge - Department of Public Health and Primary Care, The Primary Care Unit

We seek a talented and ambitious social scientist with an interest in primary care research to join our multi-disciplinary team working on a large-scale research programme on screening for Atrial Fibrillation. Based at The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS Institute), University of Cambridge, and working closely with colleagues in the Cardiovascular Group in the Primary Care Unit, the successful candidate will undertake a varied programme of qualitative research to explore consent to Atrial Fibrillation (AF) screening; potential harms of screening; patient and staff experience of screening; the delivery of AF screening in primary care; and shared decision-making concerning treatment for screen-detected AF.

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a condition where the heart has an irregular beat. AF greatly increases risk of stroke, although available anticoagulant treatments reduce this risk. Screening for AF enables people who are unaware that they have AF to be identified and treated. However, following a review, the UK National Screening Committee concluded there was insufficient information to be sure whether screening would do more good than harm. They highlighted an absence of evidence that people with screen-detected AF would benefit, and called for more work in this field. The successful candidate will join a major new research programme which aims to find out how screening for AF may best be carried out in primary care; what the impacts are on patients and practice staff; whether it prevents stroke and other problems like heart attacks; and whether it represents good value for money for the NHS. The qualitative research elements of this programme require the application of a wide variety of data collection strategies, including ethnographic observation, documentary analysis, face-to-face and telephone interviews; video-elicitation interviews; and focus groups.

The candidate is expected to have relevant post-graduate training, ideally in social science approaches or health services research (eg PhD in Sociology, Social Anthropology, Health Services Research, Health Sciences or Public Health or have relevant equivalent experience). The post is ideally suited to someone with prior experience of undertaking complex multi-method qualitative research studies, preferably in a primary care environment. The post holder should have a systematic and rigorous approach to work with excellent organisational, communication and interpersonal skills, and an in depth understanding of the conduct of rigorous qualitative research, including the use of theory in qualitative analysis.

This role requires a standard Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check.

The funds for this post are available for 3 years from commencement in post.

THIS Institute (The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute), University of Cambridge, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Clifford Allbutt Building, Cambridge CB2 0AH (approx 2 miles south of city centre)

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Jenni Burt at

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit:

Interview Date: 18 April 2018

Please ensure that you upload a covering letter and CV in the Upload section of the online application.  The covering letter should outline how you match the criteria for the post and why you are applying for this role.

Please include details of your referees, including e-mail address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager.

Please quote reference SN15049 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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South East England