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Research Post (Three Months)

National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) - Methods Study Group

Background

Rebuilding Macroeconomics is a research Network, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), with the long-term aim of transforming macroeconomics back into a policy relevant social science. We encourage and support ambitious and innovative research into understanding the macroeconomy. We particularly welcome inter-disciplinary approaches and alternative methodologies to our most pressing macroeconomic challenges. The project is hosted by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). Further information can be found on our website, www.rebuildingmacroeconomics.ac.uk.

Purpose of the Methods Study Group

A reassessment of the methods used in undertaking research to understand the macroeconomy is a necessary and vital element of our network. By adopting diverse methods to undertake research and to construct and test new theories we expect that the discipline will benefit by incorporating ideas that have proved successful in other branches of the social and natural sciences. We envisage that the adoption of new technologies, such as machine learning and neural networks, allied to a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches to gathering data may open-up new methods to support analysis. The methods used to acquire knowledge can be, and should be, a topic for enquiry if we wish to further our understanding of the macroeconomy.

The ‘Methods Study Group’ will examine the feasibility of importing alternative research methods from other branches of the natural and social sciences that might enhance and support our understanding of the macroeconomy. It will collect perspectives from leading international academics and policy makers on which alternative methods might usefully be applied to the project of Rebuilding Macroeconomics. The Group will match specific macroeconomic questions with specific alternative methods with regard to the feasibility and utility in each case of introducing a reformed methodology. The members of the Methods Study Group will include the Rebuilding Macroeconomics management team, leaders of our research hubs, and selected scholars and policy makers from economics and related disciplines.

Research Opportunity

We wish to engage someone with or finishing a postgraduate degree who has a strong interest in how methods are used and analysed and theories are constructed. The researcher would work under the supervision of Professor David Tuckett (University College London), with a local reporting line to Dr Angus Armstrong at NIESR. The researcher selected would be responsible for collecting first-hand information from world-leading academics across multiple disciplines to piece together ideas on methods that might be helpful in furthering our understanding of the macroeconomy.

We envisage that this will involve three stages:

  • Carry out an initial survey by interviews with distinguished practitioners on their views on methods in relation to the future of macroeconomics. Members of the Methods Study Group will assist this task by facilitating access to a network of senior academics in economics and other disciplines, key policy makers and statistical agencies. The findings will be supported by an open call for evidence.
  • Collate and present the survey findings to the Methods Study Group for discussion. Further evidence collecting may be required.
  • Draft a survey article which summarises the findings and recommendations of the Methods Study Group. This will form part of the ‘roadmap’ submitted by Rebuilding Macroeconomics to the ESRC at the end of the project. The roadmap is intended to recommend future research priorities for macroeconomics. We are looking to the quality of this article to be sufficient for publication in a high impact journal.

Ideal candidate

We wish to engage someone with, or finishing, a postgraduate degree. Ideally, the person will be someone with a strong sense of enquiry and the ability to summarise and evaluate arguments in a clear and efficient manner. Knowledge of and a passion for methods and the many issues involved, both in macroeconomics and science more generally would be an advantage. The post holder would be confident in engaging with senior stakeholders to: evaluate and bring together different (possibly competing) views on methods across a variety of subjects; write large reports; have experience of interviewing; have a good understanding and an affinity with the objectives of Rebuilding Macroeconomics.

Modalities

We envisage that this work would take up to three months on a Full Time Equivalent basis. This is negotiable for the right candidate, depending on their circumstances. We would offer the candidate the opportunity to be based at NIESR in Westminster, although this is not required. Payment for the role would be between £25,000 and £35,000 per annum pro-rata for this period, depending on the experience and qualifications of the appointee.

Interested applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, and a brief outline of their research interests in relation to the Methods Study Group (maximum 500 words). Experience of completing any piece of extended writing, such as a dissertation, would count as advantageous, and we request that such an example, or a suitable sample, should be submitted as part of the application process, if possible.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview at NIESR in London. Please send your CV, cover letter, the outline of your research interests in the Methods study group, and a piece of extended writing to Ruth Hallesy at hr@niesr.ac.uk, with the subject line ‘[Your name] RM Methods Group Research Assistant application’ by midnight on 24 April 2019. We anticipate that interviews will be held in mid-May, and that the term of the three-month role will begin in mid-September.

Location: London
Salary: £25,000 to £35,000 per annum pro-rata
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 19th March 2019
Closes: 24th April 2019
   
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