Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Education

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 06 Dec 2022

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

We are one of the very best UK Education departments, with an outstanding reputation for excellence in research. Our research was ranked second overall in the latest Research Excellence Framework and ranked first in the UK for research outputs and impact. This new post is within the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education (DECE) – a collegial research group with nationwide, international and user members.  See Durham University Evidence Centre for Education - Durham University .

The School of Education is a vibrant community of scholars, with members across the range of career levels, many of whom are internationally-acclaimed researchers pursuing innovative and critical research agendas, and future leaders establishing such profiles. The diverse expertise of the members of the academic and research staff in the School of Education is one of the key contributions to our success. We have internationally recognised peaks of research excellence in areas related to Evidence-based Evaluation of Effectiveness of Interventions in Education, Large-scale Assessment of Educational Attainment in National and International contexts, Intercultural Education, Higher Education, and Applied Educational Psychology.

The Role

The post-holder will be employed to work on a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in their own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and the development of research protocols.

The Research Associate role is to work on an ESRC-funded project to study the distribution of ethnic minority teachers in schools and the relevance of this to student outcomes. The work involves structured reviews of existing evidence, linkage and re-analysis of large-scale secondary datasets such as the National Pupil Dataset (NPD), and interviews and observation of case studies. Experience in any of these areas will be useful. 

The overall aim of the proposed study is to help understand, address and ameliorate disparities of ethnic minority representation in the teaching force. To do this, the research team will work together to:

  • Clarify the long-term trend for the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority teachers in England, by regions, subgroups and types of schools, as well as the shifting demography of the pupil population. This will give us a clearer picture of the growth of minority ethnic student population vis-a-vis that of teaching staff
  • Examine the factors that influence the supply and attrition of ethnic minority teachers from international research that is relevant to England
  • Identify the barriers and important factors in supporting or challenging the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority teachers in England
  • Establish the relationship between the ethnic composition of the teaching staff and the attainment of ethnic minority pupils at KS2 and KS4, net of other factors
  • Determine the attainment gap between ethnic minority pupils and their White majority peers, and whether there is a relationship with the ethnic composition of the teaching staff in the schools.
  • Assess how the ethnic composition of school teaching staff is (or is not) linked to the experiences of ethnic minority and other pupils, and their sense of justice.
  • Systematically review and synthesis international research relevant to England to determine promising approaches that can be used to attracting and recruiting ethnic minority teachers.
  • Illustrate various aspects of local, regional, and national contexts that help determine what works, for whom, in what circumstances, and why
  • Work jointly with practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders to bridge boundaries between research, policy, and practice in new ways
  • Make recommendations for policy and practice on best practice, and the most promising programmes to adopt

The Research Associate will provide research support to the principal investigator (Professor Stephen Gorard), and the research team (Professor Beng Huat See, Associate Professor Nadia Siddiqui, Professor Feyisa Demie, and Dr Antonina Tereshchenko). They will assist in the identification and documentation of relevant data sources, and in the conduct of data collection, cleaning and analysis. This will include travel to schools to collect data. They will be required to deal with our user group, help maintain a social media presence, and be involved in dissemination activities. Ideally, they will have experience with SPSS or similar, and electronic database searches, and knowledge of NPD and/or the School Workforce Census.

The Research Associate will be involved in all aspects of the project and will receive appropriate training. They will also have the opportunity to contribute to publications, and to be a co-applicant in further grant-funding applications. The successful applicant will also be expected to:

  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.  
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors, and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  •  To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by the membership of departmental committees, etc., and by attending relevant training and development courses.   

This post is fixed term for three years, or until 30th November 2025 (whichever is the earliest). The funding for the post is available from an ESRC Education Priority grant, which ends on 30th November 2025.

Appropriate training and career development will be provided.

Successful applicants can start as soon as possible and will, ideally, be in post by 1st March 2023.


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