Research Associate

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Cardiff, WALES


Research Associate 

Cardiff University School of Psychology is seeking to appoint an enthusiastic Research Associate to join a multisite team investigating the shaping of mental health and the mechanisms leading to (un)successful transitions for care-experienced young people. This post is to support a longitudinal study of cognitive, social, and service-level predictors of the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced young people, funded by the MRC. The Associate will join a multi-disciplinary team, spanning University College London, and the Universities of Cardiff, Sussex, Oxford and Bristol. This post is primarily Cardiff-based, but the role will involve some travel and overnight stays for meetings and assessments. The Associate will be expected to work closely with the study investigators and research team to finalise protocols and lead study delivery. Among other responsibilities, key tasks will include regularly liaising with local authorities, recruitment of participants (care-experienced young people, caregivers, social care staff), conducting assessments (primarily quantitative but some qualitative), quantitative analyses, and production of academic and non-academic output, including conferences and programme-wide knowledge exchange events.
For informal enquiries please contact Professor Katherine Shelton via:

Period of appointment: Full time from February/March 2022 until September 2025.  The post is expected to start by 1st March 2022.

Salary - £34,304 - £40,927 per annum (Grade 6)
It is not expected that we will appoint above starting salary of £34,304 per annum , point 30.

Date advert posted: Thursday, 18 November 2021

Closing Date: Monday, 3 January 2022

This post has previously been advertised to employees of Cardiff University only.  We now invite external applications.

Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received.

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world.  In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share arrangements.

“Cardiff University is a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions we will evaluate applicants on the quality of their research, not publication metrics or the identity of the journal in which the research is published. More information is available at:”

Job Description

Main Function

  • The postholder will support a longitudinal study of cognitive, social, and service-level predictors of the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced young people
  • You will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the project, including working closely with the wider research team and local authorities. Participant recruitment, assessments, data management, data analysis and preparation of manuscripts for peer review will be key tasks. 
  • You will work particularly closely with researchers at University College London.
Main Duties and Responsibilities
  • The postholder will be expected to work closely with the study investigators and research team to finalise protocols and support day to day study delivery.
  • The postholder will be responsible for liaising with participating local authorities.
  • The postholder will also be responsible for the recruitment of participants (care-experienced young people, caregivers and social-care staff), and conducting assessments (primarily quantitative, but also some qualitative).
  • The postholder will also work alongside our young person advisory panels, supported by our project partners, to ensure protocols are acceptable to care-experienced young people and that their voices are central to all we do.
  • Together with other members of the team, the postholder will be responsible for documenting and archiving study data for public data sharing at the end of the study.
  • Be part of the research team providing day- to-day research data management.
  • Contribute to the research output of the project, by writing scientific articles and presenting these at national and international conferences.
  • In addition, the post holder will be expected:
  • To engage effectively with public sector organisations, professional institutions, other academic institutions etc., regionally and nationally to raise awareness of the School’s profile, to cultivate strategically valuable alliances, and to pursue opportunities for collaboration across a range of activities. These activities are expected to contribute to the School and the enhancement of its regional and national profile.
  • To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance.
  • To participate in School administration and activities to promote the School and its work to the wider University and the outside world
  • Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education
1. A PhD in Psychology or similar/related field.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience
2. Experience researching within children’s social care and professionals, or in similarly complex organisations.
3. Strong theoretical background in mental health research.
4. Experience of collecting mental health and wellbeing data from potentially vulnerable young people.
5. Good understanding of GDPR and data protection guidelines.
6. Ability to write high quality scientific papers.
7. Proficiency in multivariate data analysis.
8. Knowledge and understanding of competitive research funding to be able to develop applications to funding bodies.

Other attributes
9. Highly organised and proactive, with ability to manage multiple competing demands of a complex study and keen attention to detail.
10. Commitment to Cardiff University’s policy of equal opportunity and the ability to work harmoniously with colleagues and students of all cultures and backgrounds.

Desirable Criteria

1. Experience in use of handling missing data and statistical tests for mediation and moderation
2. Familiarity with data sharing and data security policies
3. Skills in qualitative interviewing

Additional Information

Additional Information
Care-experienced young people, including those who remain in care and those who are adopted, have far higher rates of mental health difficulties compared to their peers. Many of these young people have experienced abuse and/or neglect, and some continue to experience ongoing instability in the care system, including changes in placements/caregivers. Despite decades of evidence of the scale of challenges experienced by this group across their life, there remains very limited evidence for understanding the key mechanisms that link early complex trauma to their mental health and wellbeing. Such evidence is essential to informing mental health and wellbeing focused intervention and prevention targets, to ensure we are providing these young people with high quality evidence-informed support. We know that with the right support, care-experienced young people can thrive, and this project seeks to understand how we can be providing more effective support to this group.

Funded by the MRC in a major investment in adolescent mental health research , we are conducting a large scale 4-year programme investigating risk and resilience in care-experienced young people. The successful candidate will join a collaborative multi-disciplinary team, spanning UCL and Universities of Sussex, Oxford, Cardiff and Bristol. The programme is also supported by non-academic partners – Adoption UK and Coram Voices, alongside three care-experienced advisory panels.

The project is being led by Dr Rachel Hiller (UCL) and Dr Lisa Holmes (Oxford). Professor Katherine Shelton (Cardiff University) will line manage the successful candidate for this post and the Cardiff-based programme of work.
The postdoctoral research associate will work on a large quantitative longitudinal study of psychological, social, and service-level processes associated with mental health and wellbeing as care-experienced young people move into senior school and early adulthood. The post holder may also input into a qualitative piece of work that is happening alongside the quantitative study. The role will include working closely with local authorities to support recruitment, as well as conducting assessments and interviews, data management, data analysis and write up, and non-academic knowledge exchange activities. The project includes professional development and training opportunities. The associate will work closely with the PIs and other postdoctoral research associates and research assistants on this programme. The candidate will be primarily based at Cardiff, although the role is likely to involve travel and some overnight stays for local authority meetings and assessments (pending covid-19 restrictions and considerations).

Evidencing Criteria - It is School of Psychology’s policy to use the person specification as a key tool for short-listing. Candidates should evidence that they meet ALL of the essential criteria as well as, where relevant, the desirable. As part of the application process you will be asked to provide this evidence via a supporting statement. Please ensure when submitting this document/attaching it to your application profile you name it with the vacancy reference number.
If candidates do not provide written evidence of meeting all the essential criteria then their application will not be progressed.

Job Category

Academic - Research

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