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Research Associate (Fixed Term)

University of Cambridge - MRC Epidemiology Unit

CEDAR and the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge are offering an exciting opportunity to join a vibrant research group at a leading university, to contribute to important public health research on takeaway food outlet 'exclusion zones' around schools. We are seeking to appoint a Research Associate, with a track record of conducting high quality qualitative research, including analysis of documentary evidence, to work on the research project "Evaluation of planning policy to regulate takeaway food outlets for improved health in England", funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Local authorities in England are increasingly worried about the impact of takeaway food outlets on health. Through a national survey of local planning policies, we have identified 40 local authorities who have already applied rules to deny planning permission to new takeaways in 'exclusion zones' around schools. These policies have been adopted over the last decade, but have not been evaluated. In this work package, we seek to understand how food businesses reacted to the intervention, including whether these reactions varied by business type and socioeconomic context, how local authorities responded in turn, and how these stakeholder narratives have changed and shaped one another over time.

This is an exciting and unique opportunity to contribute to an applied research project of direct relevance to government policy and the public's health. Documenting how industry arguments have been successfully overcome by local authorities is important learning for others, and will help to shape and facilitate more widespread intervention uptake.

You will be expected to: contribute to development of a detailed study protocol; collate responses to pre-policy adoption public consultations; lead on conducting a longitudinal thematic analysis of written reactions from chain and independent businesses and the responses of local authorities, which are documented and publicly available; write up results in the form of a peer-reviewed publication as first author; and disseminate results to academic and non-academic stakeholders, including at least one conference presentation.

You will be educated to PhD level and have a proven track-record of independent qualitative research, including thematic analysis of documentary evidence. You will have experience of writing up research outputs for a variety of audiences, including as peer-reviewed publications. Excellent time management, oral and written communication skills, with a track record of problem solving, managing your own workload and meeting deadlines, will be required.

The role is under the supervision of the work package co-leads Professor Martin White (University of Cambridge, who will also line-manage) and Michael Chang (Public Health England). Other collaborators on the project include Dr Jean Adams (University of Cambridge), Prof Steven Cummins (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), Prof Richard Smith (University of Exeter) and the Principal Investigator Dr Thomas Burgoine (University of Cambridge).

Alongside a competitive salary, University staff are eligible for a comprehensive package of benefits and services including discounts on shopping, health care, financial services and public transport; defined benefits pension schemes; and tax-efficient bicycle, car lease and charity-giving schemes.

Please contact Professor Martin White ( with informal enquiries.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 14 months in the first instance.

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

The closing date for applications is Sunday 3rd October 2021. Interviews are to be held online, week commencing 11th October 2021.

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. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

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

Please quote reference SJ28079 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Location: Cambridge
Salary: £33,309 to £40,927
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 9th September 2021
Closes: 3rd October 2021
Job Ref: SJ28079
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