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Research Associate - Responses to Poverty & Disadvantage

Heriot-Watt University - School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society

Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £32,817 to £40,322
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 24th January 2020
Closes: 26th February 2020
Job Ref: IRC25645

Duration: 24 months fixed-term

This new role provides a unique opportunity for an early-career researcher to join an award-winning social research institute, working on an innovative cross-sector partnership with the voluntary and philanthropic sector and the Scottish Government. The successful candidate will be responsible for designing and delivering social research and learning activities across Scotland, contributing to work that will directly influence social policy at a national level.

The Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot Watt University was established with a mission: to use world-class research to help drive change for people affected by extreme disadvantage.

I-SPHERE is among the UK’s top social and housing policy research centres, and in 2019 was recognised through the award of one of 22 prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prizes, which celebrate excellence, innovation and public benefit in work carried out by UK colleges and universities.  In our joint submission with the University of Edinburgh we were ranked first in Scotland and second in the UK on the comprehensive Research Power indicator in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. This indicator reflects size, scope and quality of research.

This role is fully funded by a research partnership with the Hunter Foundation and the Scottish Government. It is focused exclusively on the learning programme for the Social Innovation Partnership, a grantmaking programme that supports innovative approaches to child poverty and disadvantage across Scotland. The post holder will work closely with 12 charities, social enterprises and local authorities who participate in the learning programme, which is led by I-SPHERE and Homeless Network Scotland.

The successful appointee will be expected to undertake the following:

  • Coordinating and carrying out fieldwork, including depth interviews, focus groups and observational work;
  • Conducting analysis of qualitative data from fieldwork and other sources;
  • Building and maintaining relationships with programme stakeholders, particularly project leaders;
  • Writing up findings and contributing to published outputs including reports and journal articles;
  • Organising learning events and programme meetings;
  • Presenting findings to academic, policy and general audiences;

Essential Criteria:

  • An excellent first degree in the social sciences, arts, humanities or other relevant discipline (1st or 2:1);
  • Experience undertaking social research in an academic, policy or service environment;
  • Experience writing for external audiences, preferably including peer-reviewed publications;
  • Experience of designing and facilitating participatory activities in a range of settings;
  • Experience of working as part of a multi-disciplinary team;
  • Understanding of the experiences associated with, and impacts of, poverty and multiple disadvantage;
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to work effectively with people from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences;
  • Confident in making decisions independently, seeking advice and support when necessary;
  • Strong organisational and administrative skills;
  • Excellent written communication skills, with the ability to adapt style to suit academic, expert and general audiences;
  • Ability to efficiently and systematically analyse and interpret data from a range of sources;
  • Excellent IT skills, preferably including experience of NVivo or equivalent software;
  • Willing to undertake regular travel across Scotland and occasional travel across the UK;

Desirable Criteria:

  • Knowledge or interest in innovative approaches to social support and public service delivery;
  • Understanding of the context of social policy implementation in Scotland;
  • A post-graduate degree with a substantial social research component or equivalent professional experience;

Candidates are welcome to make informal enquiries about this position to Sam Thomas (sam.thomas@hw.ac.uk).

For application details and further information please go to: www.hw.ac.uk/apply-jobs

   
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