Research Assistant

Updated: 5 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Research Assistant (
Job Number:
 22000836)
Department of Psychology
Grade 6: - £27,116 - £30,497 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 24 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 12-Jul-2022, 6:59:00 PM 

The Department

Founded in 1952, the Department of Psychology is consistently ranked as one of the very best in the UK with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and currently the department’s research falls within four groupings: Developmental Science; Learning, Memory and Cognition, Perception, Action and Awareness; Quantitative Social Psychology. The department is extremely well-equipped for research, including facilities for fMRI, TMS, tDCS, EEG/ERP, VR, eye movement tracking, and biophysiological recording. The department also has a motion capture lab for analysis of visuomotor action and experiments in immersive virtual reality, as well as setups for psychophysics including an echo-attenuated chamber. The department benefits from full IT and mechanical research support from departmental technicians.

 

The Role

 

A 24-month fixed-term full time Research Assistant (RA) position is available at the Department of Psychology at Durham University. The successful candidate will join the research project NewSense led by Prof Marko Nardini and funded by the European Research Council. The project is studying people’s abilities to learn to use new sensory signals to augment their perceptual and motor skills. For example, people will be trained to use new auditory or vibro-tactile cues to judge where objects are in space or what material they are made from. The work has applications to improving perception in people with sensory deficits, as well as to expanding the limits of perceptual experience and abilities in healthy people.

The project uses a combination of behavioural testing, neuroimaging, and comparison of behavioural and neuroimaging data with the predictions of different mathematical models. The role of the RA is to work as part of a larger team, assisting with collecting behavioural and neuroimaging data, mainly with healthy adults. This will include scheduling and coordinating participants, including those in long and complex follow-up studies. The RA will also help to refine experimental designs during piloting, and assist with some of the initial analysing and summarising of data.

The post will provide excellent research experience and training, including opportunities to gain experience in preparing data for publication and presenting results at conferences. While these are not requirements of the post, they are available for a post-holder who is looking to gain this experience. The role does not require programming or mathematical modelling, but the post-holder can also gain some experience in these fields if they wish.

For more information about the research, see:

  • Prof Nardini’s web page at https://markonardini.webspace.durham.ac.uk/
  • Summary of the ERC project at https://tinyurl.com/NewSenseAbs
  • Related recent journal article at https://tinyurl.com/Negen2018
  •  

 

Responsibilities :

  • To collect and analyse data, write up results of research work in a preliminary form, present information on research progress and outcomes to the research team in a clear and accurate manner.
  • To undertake basic research, applying existing methodology and helping to develop new methodology according to overall context and objectives.
  • To recruit and schedule participants, including for long-term training and follow-up
  • To work responsibly with healthy adults, as well as vulnerable populations: children from age 6 years and vulnerable adults, for example those undergoing temporary sensory deprivation (continuous blindfolding) as part of study protocols
  • To understand and convey information which needs careful explanation to the team or group of people through presentations, discussions and meetings which contribute to the production of research reports and publications.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To assist in contributing to support student projects on the use of research methods and equipment. 
  •  To write up results of research work, present information on research progress and outcomes to bodies supervising research in a clear and accurate manner.
  • To analyse or undertake basic research by deciding how best to apply existing methodology according to overall context and objectives.
  • 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 attending relevant training and development courses.   

This post is fixed term for 24 months as part of a 5-year research programme funded by the ERC. The post-holder is employed to work on research/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 his/her 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 development of research protocols.

 

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by September 2022, but there is some flexibility around this date.

 

How to Apply

 

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Marko Nardini, marko.nardini@durham.ac.uk.   All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/ . As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

 

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

 

What to Submit

 

All applicants are asked to submit:

 

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.

Next Steps

 

The assessment for the post will include an interview and a short written assessment of skills at writing for diverse audiences and at interpreting and summarising data. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment in June/July 2022.


 


Person Specification 

The Requirements

 

Essential:

  • A good first degree or Masters in a scientific discipline related to Experimental Psychology
  • Experience in collecting, analysing, interpreting, and summarising quantitative data on human perception or cognition
  • Demonstrable ability to write clearly and concisely, in everyday practical communications (e.g. with participants) and in scientific ones (e.g. summarising data).
  • Technical competence and ability to learn to use new equipment and software
  • Ability to plan and to manage time effectively and flexibly, to the degree that the applicant could coordinate a complex follow-up schedule independently to meet the project’s targets and deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to develop strong working relationships with participants in long-term training and follow-up protocols, participants from vulnerable populations, and parents/teachers/schools and children for developmental studies.
  •  Demonstrable ability to produce concise and well-written reports for a range of stakeholders.
  •  Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.

Desirable:

  •  A PhD (or be close to submission) in Experimental Psychology or a related subject
  •  Experience of conducting high quality academic research.
  •  Experience of preparing academic papers.
  • Ability to assist in the provision of support to student projects.
  • Experience in managing the logistics of a large-scale research project
  • Experience in research involving psychophysics, multisensory perception, visual deprivation, follow-up protocols, model-based analyses, virtual reality, fMRI, vulnerable populations, or in healthcare settings.


DBS Requirement: Please note that the succesful applicant will require DBS disclosure.
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