Research Fellow in Criminology

Updated: over 1 year ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 21 Feb 2018

1. Job Details

Job title: Research Fellow in Criminology (1.0FTE)

School/dept: Understanding Inequalities project, School of Law

Line manager: Director, Understanding Inequalities project [Professor Susan McVie]

Grade: UoE Grade 7

2. Job Purpose

The post holder will work closely with Professor Susan McVie and colleagues in the ESRC funded Understanding Inequalities project to create an innovative and ambitious research programme to explore the causes, consequences and policy implications of social inequalities across different dimensions and spatial scales. This role will involve advanced quantitative analysis and modelling of a range of secondary and administrative datasets. The post-holder will produce high quality materials for publication and dissemination to a wide range of audiences, and contribute to knowledge exchange and engagement activities involving partner stakeholders. The research will primarily involve working with criminological datasets, but the post-holder will be expected to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration with research collaborators working in education, economics, urban studies, health and other relevant social science disciplines.

3. Main Responsibilities (Approx. % of time)

  • Research: Work collaboratively with members of the Understanding Inequalities project team to develop a high quality programme of research around social inequalities. The main aim of the work will be to understand how societal changes and system effects are caused and mediated by various forms of social inequality, with a particular focus on changes in offending behaviour, risk of imprisonment, intergenerational transition of offending and how system effects impact on offender outcomes.
    This work will involve identifying and accessing appropriate crime (and other) datasets, including both survey-based and administrative data sources; and developing and applying a range of statistical tests and models to analyse both the causes and consequences of different forms of inequality. The data will mainly be Scottish; however, other UK and international data sources will be used for comparative purposes where possible. The role will involve applying good practice in data management, cleaning and linkage procedures; and may involve visiting secure data settings which require high levels of data security and governance processes. The post-holder will maintain accurate and up-to-date records documenting the research process and data management procedures; and will regularly report on research progress to the Understanding Inequalities team at research meetings and away days. (50%)

  • Dissemination: Take an active role in reviewing the relevant literature within the field and writing up research articles for publication in high quality international journals. The post-holder will also be expected to contribute to the wider Understanding Inequalities dissemination strategy by participating in seminars and conferences at national and international level, engaging with research networks within the UK and abroad, providing content on research findings for the Understanding Inequalities website, and participating in social media and press communications. (20%)

  • KE and Engagement: Contribute to knowledge exchange and engagement activities involving policy makers, practitioners, non-academic analysts and other partner stakeholders in order to ensure that the research questions are developed in line with key strategic priority areas for policy in Scotland and the wider UK, and develop research that strives to make a real impact on society. The post-holder will be expected to participate in meetings and events with a wide range of stakeholders, respond to requests for information about the research programme (e.g. evidence for Parliamentary committees) and prepare research briefing papers for non-academic audiences in liaison with the C&E Officer. (20%)

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration: Contribute to the overall success and future sustainability of this programme of research by maintaining contact with and developing an interdisciplinary approach to working with other members of the Understanding Inequalities team in order to exchange research findings, share and develop methodological expertise and explore opportunities for cross-cutting analysis and interdisciplinary publication. The post-holder may also be expected to identify potential areas for development and opportunities for additional funding, and contribute to the preparation of research proposals and grant applications to external funding bodies. (10%)

  • 4. Planning and Organising

    • Plan and organise your own workload, with guidance from other members of the Understanding Inequalities team and under the direction of your line manager, in order to meet the strategic aims of the project and ensure successful delivery of the research programme.

    • Ensure the research is conducted in accordance with ethical guidelines, keeping to the research timetable, and applying the most appropriate methodologies (6 monthly work plans will be required).

    • Maintain appropriate systems for organising, preparing, managing and keeping secure all data, syntax and output files, and ensure records of analysis are documented regularly and made accessible to all team members.

    • Contribute regularly to requests for information on knowledge exchange and engagement activities for reporting to funders.

    • Prepare interim progress reports and presentations for research meetings, as required.

    • Plan well in advance the identification and accessing of data, follow closely all procedures for accessing and/or linking data, and ensure there is a central record of any data requirements and deadlines for data destruction.

    • Manage effectively the balance between research, writing and engagement activities.

    • Regularly liaise and maintain good levels of communication with Understanding Inequalities colleagues, both in the research teams and administrative team.

    5. Problem Solving

    • Resolve issues that arise in the course of data access, management or analysis and ensure the safety and security of data at all times (referring to your line manager as necessary).

    • Deal with analytical problems relating to the statistical modelling of data using accumulated experience and with reference to other methodological experts.

    • Use initiative to analyse and interpret research data and draw conclusions from it, and help other researchers in the team to resolve problems and develop new methods, as appropriate.

    • Use creativity and initiative to identify new areas of investigation or research during the course of the data analysis, especially as relates to interdisciplinary collaboration.

    • Respond quickly and appropriately to requests for advice or information from partner stakeholders or the media, referring to your line manager where necessary.

    6. Decision Making

    • Good level of independent decision making. The majority of decisions on a day-to-day basis are made independently using initiative and judgement and will include prioritising own workload.

    • Exercise initiative and judgement to resolve daily problems, making sure to seek advice on more complex issues.

    • In liaison with the line manager, contribute to strategic decision making, planning and implementation of Understanding Inequalities activities, events and meetings.

    • Refer matters to line manager or other designated person as appropriate.

    7. Key Contacts/Relationships

    • The post-holder will work in partnership with all members of the Understanding Inequalities research team. The main contacts will be the criminology team, including Professor Susan McVie (Director), Professor Lesley McAra and Dr Paul Norris (University of Edinburgh).

    • You will also collaborate with co-investigators and research teams led by Co-Directors Professor Cristina Iannelli (University of Edinburgh), Professor Gwilym Pryce (University of Sheffield) and Professor Jon Bannister (Manchester Metropolitan University).

    • You will have regular contact and work closely with the Understanding Inequalities administrative team (Research Manager, Communications and Engagement Officer, and Administrative and Finance Assistant) based in Edinburgh.

    • You will engage with the Understanding Inequalities Academic Advisory Group and Policy Stakeholder Group.

    • You will be a member of the Criminology Subject Area and contribute to the wider research environment of the School of Law. This will include liaison with the School of Law Research and Knowledge Exchange Office.

    • You will have periodic contact as necessary with other relevant departments within the University of Edinburgh (including Edinburgh Innovation, Human Resources and Information Services).

    8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


    • A completed PhD in criminology or another social science or relevant subject (e.g. sociology, psychology, geography or social statistics) and a minimum of five years research experience in social science research or research in a comparable and relevant field (this can include time spent on the PhD).

    • Methodological competence in a range of advanced quantitative methods including advanced statistical modelling and experience of using appropriate software packages (e.g. SPSS, Stata, SAS, MPlus, R, etc) and willingness to learn and apply new methods.

    • Expertise in management of large datasets, data merging procedures and documentation of analytical syntax and output files.

    • Demonstrable ability to clearly and effectively interpret, explain, present and communicate the results of quantitative data analysis to different audiences (including academics, policy makers, practitioners and other non-experts).

    • A clear ability to write to a high academic standard and a growing body of publications (either co-authored or sole authored) in high quality journals.

    • Good project management skills and the ability to take forward a strategically focused programme of research work independently and with minimal supervision.

    • Good interpersonal skills and experience of working collaboratively as part of a team (international collaboration would be desirable).

    • Good communication skills (oral and written) including ability to write at a clear and publishable standard for both academic and non-academic audiences. Fluent in written and spoken English.

    • Good organisational, administrative and time-management skills.

    • Willingness and ability to travel to work with other members of the Understanding Inequality team in institutions outside of Edinburgh and participate in extended research visits, including outwith the UK, where necessary.


    • A comprehensive knowledge of the substantive areas of criminology and/or criminal justice and awareness of the latest research advances relating to inequality in these fields.

    • Knowledge of the Scottish policy context as it relates to crime and justice, including key sources of national data, and/or connections with stakeholders within the Scottish justice context (e.g. policing, courts or prisons).

    • Experience of working with crime datasets, such as UK crime surveys, and/or administrative datasets, including census, health, spatial and convictions data.

    • Expertise in multi-level modelling, geo-spatial analysis, GIS and other techniques for analysing with and visualising geographical data.

    • Experience of interdisciplinary collaboration in terms of research analysis, writing and/or other academic engagement.

    • Experience of developing new research projects and involvement in the development of grant applications to research funding councils, government departments or other major social science research funders.

    • Experience of dealing with or writing for the media (including social media, traditional print and broadcast media).

    9. Dimensions

    The Understanding Inequalities project is funded by a large grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The main aim of this project is to create an innovative and ambitious research programme which transcends disciplinary boundaries to explore the causes, consequences and policy implications of social inequalities across different dimensions and spatial scales. The vision of Understanding Inequalities project is to provide robust research evidence that helps to reduce social inequalities across Scotland and beyond.

    The post-holder will work closely with the criminology research team (led by Professor Susan McVie) and the administrative team based in the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh. The other research teams are based in the School of Education, University of Edinburgh (led by Professor Cristina Iannelli); the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin (led by Professor Emer Smyth); the Sheffield Methods Institute at the University of Sheffield (led by Professor Gwilym Pryce); and the Crime and Wellbeing Big Data Centre based at Manchester Metropolitan University (led by Professor Jon Bannister).

    The post-holder will work with one Senior Research Fellow within the criminology research team and a further six Research Fellow/Senior Research Fellows across the Understanding Inequalities project.

    Application Procedure

    All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

    The closing date is 5pm GMT on Wednesday 21st February 2018.

    Eligibility to Work

    In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

    To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

    For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website

    If you are not currently eligible to work in the UK, the University has the authority to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa) in accordance with current UK Visas and Immigration rules.

    For applicants interested in sponsorship information is available on our Working in the UK website

    However, if you have previously been sponsored by an employer within the UK but your leave has expired or lapsed and you are no longer in the UK, according to Home Office Visa Immigration rules you cannot apply for sponsorship under any category of Tier 2 for a period of 12 months after the date your visa expired and/or you left the UK.

    If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts and come from outside the EEA, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.

    The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa route offers a greater flexibility in your employment compared to other UK immigration routes, meaning you can, for example, move organisation, location and/or job role. By contrast with, a Tier 2 visa where you are ‘tied to a UK sponsor’. Tier 1 provides greater flexibility in undertaking additional engagements, such as collaborations and is intended as a route to settlement. Allowed absences from the UK are up to 180 days per year without losing the eligibility to qualify for settlement, with no restriction on the reason for absence (unlike Tier 2, where any absences from the UK must be for a purpose consistent with the person’s employment or economic activity, including paid annual leave, or for serious or compelling personal reasons).

    You would initially need to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK).

    Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

    Once successfully endorsed, you are able to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. More information on this entry route is available at UKVI Website .

    Conditions of Employment

    Pension Scheme

    This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

    For further information please visit our Pensions website .


    The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £32,548 to £38,833 for 35 hours, each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

    The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.

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