Research Associate

Updated: 5 months ago
Location: Cardiff, WALES


Research Associate

Cardiff University School of Social Sciences is seeking to appoint a Research Associate for a new research initiative. The Active Building Centre (see ) - this is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund that is coordinated by Swansea University.

This is a major national (UK) initiative to transform the energy and construction industry through new solar-powered building design and use, and also involves other major University (UK-wide), commercial, and local council partners. The successful candidate will conduct social science research located within the fields of socio-technical energy transitions (including digitisation and the smart revolution), environmental risk/sustainability studies and psychosocial inquiry, contributing to a major qualitative longitudinal social sciences study of occupants of active homes in schemes in the South Wales region during the lifetime of the project. 

You will work under the supervision of Professor Karen Henwood (School of Social Sciences) and Professor Nick Pidgeon (School of Psychology) at Cardiff University and be responsible, in the first year, for interviewing residents in South Wales as well as completing a publishable literature review and study of international experience built up around similar schemes already established or under development within Europe countries, and in support of the development of a multi-disciplinary, problem focussed understanding of active buildings with more global reach. Your work will advance the core aims of the ABC social sciences research programme, contribute to the research profiles of both Schools, be capable of advancing the appointee’s capabilities in interdisciplinary research, and be characterised by a strong commitment to interdisciplinary qualitative social science methodologies including established and newer developments (e.g. visual, sensory, multimodal, relational, creative, embodied, affective, material-discursive).

This is a full time post, 35 hours per week, fixed term for a period of 32 months and is available immediately.

Salary: £33,199 - £39,609 per annum (Grade 6)

Responsible to Professor Karen Henwood

For informal enquiries contact Professor Karen Henwood, or Telephone 029 2087 4678

Date advert posted: Thursday, 27 June 2019

Closing Date: Sunday, 28 July 2019

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.

Job Description

Duties and Responsibilities


  • To undertake a qualitative longitudinal study of active building technologies in new-build home schemes in the South Wales region during the lifetime of the project.
  • To conduct a desk-study gathering UK and international knowledge that is being built up around similar schemes already established or under development within Europe; where possible, the aim should be to produce knowledge with more global reach.
  • To take primary responsibility for drafting a publishable report involving a substantive literature review, and sharing it in a timely way with immediate project partners.
  • By working on the publishable report, develop a problem focussed understanding of active buildings in the context of current energy, environmental and social sustainability issues and the promotion of socio-technical undertakings as future-making projects.
  • Use prior and developing awareness of methodological issues and developments within the field of qualitative and multi-modal research for conducting the primary research (e.g., narrative, longitudinal, multi-modal interviews).
  • Actively participate within research culture by communicating and presenting research at meetings, through publications and other recognised avenues as appropriate, ensuring information is communicated to internal and external partners.
  • To analyse and communicate complex ideas, concepts and data using appropriate strategies methods and packages, using them to contribute to research publications and presentations as required.
  • To resolve issues and support senior colleagues in devising procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting.
  • To generate research output and contribute to the development of independent and original ideas as appropriate.
  • To provide support in research activities for undergraduate courses and research programmes and provide guidance to junior members of staff within the research team.
  • To maintain and update area of specialist knowledge, researching and critically appraising relevant literature within the area.
  • To contribute to the overall research performance of the Schools and Cardiff University by the production of measurable outputs including bidding for funding, publishing in national academic journals and conferences, and the recruitment and supervision of postgraduate research students.
  • To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance.
  • To participate in research administration and activities to promote the reputation of the work undertaken within both Schools to the wider University and outside world.
  • Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.
  • To develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research including research funding proposals.
  • To attend and or present at conferences/seminars at a local and national level as required.
  • To undertake administrative tasks associated with the research project, including the planning and organisation of the project and the implementation of procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting.
  • To prepare research ethics and research governance applications as appropriate.
  • To review and synthesise relevant theoretical and substantive research literatures.
  • To participate in School research activities.
  • To build and create networks both internally and externally to the university, to influence decisions, explore future research requirements, and share research ideas for the benefit of research projects.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria 

  • A  degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. sociology, human geography, or social/cultural/critical psychology) or multidisciplinary field (e.g. environmental  social sciences, science and technology studies, political sciences) or equivalent relevant industrial experience.
  • A PhD level (or nearing completion / submission) in a related subject area.
  • An established expertise and proven portfolio of social sciences research relevant to synthesising and communicating a coherent understanding, approach and theoretical grasp of the ABC project in the current socio-political context and the digital smart transition.
  • Knowledge of current status of qualitative research methods and techniques within relevant fields of substantive inquiry together with practical knowledge of:
    • how to conduct ethnographic and/or participatory and/or deliberative research.
    • ways of using creative (eg visual, multimodal, sensory, embodied, affective) data.
    • skills in using qualitative interview, narrative, longitudinal methods.
  • Proven ability to publish in high quality journals in ways that reflect interdisciplinary research experience.
  • Proven ability to be successful in engaging communities with energy and/or sustainability issues.
  • Proven presentation and communication skills that are effective and persuasive for various audiences.
  • Willingness and ability to travel to fieldwork sites across Wales and to travel abroad to conduct and disseminate research.
  • Proven ability to work with and without close supervision in ways that demonstrate creativity, innovation and team-working within work.

  • Desirable Criteria

    • Evidence of understanding of energy and sustainability issues in relation to the South Wales context and/or other post-industrial regions.
    •  Proven ability to adapt to the changing requirements of the Higher Education community.
    • Evidence of ability to participate in and develop both internal and external networks and utilise them to enhance the research activities of the collaborating team and for the benefit of CU.
    • Clean driving license.

    The Person Specification is split into 2 sections: essential and desirable.  Please demonstrate clearly how you meet all of the essential criteria.  Where possible you should give examples of how, when and where you have used your experience, knowledge, specific skills and abilities to match those required for this particular job role.

    Please ensure that you communicate this fully by creating a supporting statement document, listing all of the criteria and commenting against each one as to how you meet them.  This will need to be completed before you begin making your application on line as you will be required to upload it.
    When attaching the supporting statement to your application profile, please ensure that you put your name and the  vacancy reference number, e.g. Supporting Statement for NAME 8687BR.’

    The desirable section contains a list of skills, qualifications and experience that it would be beneficial for the jobholder to have.

    All short-listing decisions will be based initially on essential criteria, with desirable being used to further select or deselect candidates as appropriate. 

    We interview those candidates who are the closest match to the identified criteria.

    Additional Information

    Cardiff University School of Social Sciences.

    The School of Social Sciences is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in research and teaching across a range of subject areas, including social policy, sociology, criminology, education, human and social psychology, and social work.

    Over 220 staff (including over 30 professors and 60 researchers) are involved in a substantial programme of research, funded by ESRC, AHRC, MRC, charitable foundations, the European Union, Central Government departments and agencies and voluntary associations.  Since its creation in 1999, the School has received over 25 million pounds for funded research.  In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework the School was ranked third for research quality in Sociology and joint fifth for research quality in Education. Cardiff University was ranked fifth overall for research quality.

    The School has a large student population, with almost 1000 undergraduates, and 300 postgraduates (including 100 doctoral students).  The School has ESRC recognition for doctoral training in the fields of Criminology, Social Policy, Sociology, Education, and Science, Technology and Innovation. Our taught and postgraduate research programmes welcome students from around the world.

    The School hosts a number of research centres and institutes, including the Universities’  Police Studies Institute (UPSI), now part of the University’s Crime & Security Research Institute; Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD);  Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE);  the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHER);  Cardiff Unit for Research and Evaluation in Medical and Dental Education (CUREMeDE); and the Seafarers’ International Research Centre (SIRC).

    Further details of the School's activities can be found on our home page:  

    Cardiff University School of Social Sciences holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award that recognises good employment practice and a commitment to develop the careers of women working in academia. Cardiff University is an equal opportunities employer and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity. For this vacancy, we actively encourage women to apply. We will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share opportunities.

    Cardiff University School of Psychology 
    The Cardiff School of Psychology (including Research Centres: CUBRIC, WICN, Understanding Risk, and Occupational and Health Psychology) has a complement of over 50 academic staff, of whom 24 are Professors.  There are 84 full and part-time research staff (including Royal Society, BBSRC, RCUK and ESRC Research Fellows).  There is a substantial technical (12 staff) and administrative (25 staff) support staff.  It is one of the largest Psychology departments in the UK.  The Understanding Risk Research Group is an interdisciplinary research unit located within the School of Psychology occupying research space in 70 Park Place, involving projects spanning several of Cardiff’s Schools (psychology, social sciences, earth and environmental sciences, engineering, architecture). Research in the group spans a number of broad topics under the headings of: Risk Perception, Public Engagement and Communication; Energy and the Environment; Science, Technology and Public Policy; Social Practices and Sustainable Behaviour. For further information on the Understanding Risk Research Group see:

    Job Category

    Academic - Research

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