Research Assistant

University of Glassgow

United Kingdom

October 7, 2021


Research Assistant

Job Purpose

You will contribute to a project on healthy ageing among older adults in the UK, undertaking research with and in deprived communities to design interventions to promote physical activity and social connectedness. The project includes the collection and analysis of social network data, and the analysis of secondary survey data (e.g., English Longitudinal Study of Ageing). The job requires strong quantitative and data management skills, including cleaning and analysing social network data, as well as carrying out statistical analyses, such as regression techniques and multilevel modelling. Experience working with longitudinal datasets would be beneficial.

You will be based in the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, working with Principal Investigators Dr Emily Long and Professor Sharon Simpson, in addition to colleagues across the ‘Relationships', ‘Complexity', ‘Inequalities' and ‘Places' programmes. The successful candidate will gain experience working in an inter-disciplinary team, contribute to data collection and analysis, and the formulation and submission of research publications.

Funding for the post is available for 18 months.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Perform the following activities in conjunction with and under the guidance of the Principal Investigator (PI):

1. Plan and conduct assigned research individually or jointly in accordance with the project deliverables and strategic objectives of the SPHSU.

2. Document research output including analysis and interpretation of all data, maintaining records and databases, drafting technical/progress reports and papers as appropriate.

3. Undertake advanced training in social network analysis, statistical methods, and developing and evaluating interventions as appropriate.

4. Contribute to the supervision, mentoring and training of postgraduate students, and the development and delivery of training courses on network analysis and relational influences on health.

5. Develop and enhance your research profile and reputation and that of the University of Glasgow and SPHSU, including contributing to publications of international quality in high profile/quality refereed journals, enhancing the research impact in terms of economic/societal benefit, and gathering indicators of esteem.

6. Contribute to the presentation of work at international and national conferences, at internal and external seminars, colloquia and workshops to develop and enhance our research profile.

7. Contribute to the identification of potential funding sources and assist in the development of proposals to secure funding from internal and external bodies to support future research.

8. Collaborate with colleagues and participate in team/ group/ meetings/ seminars/ workshops across the research Group/School/College/University and wider community.

9. Perform administrative tasks related to the activities of the research group and School, including Budgets/Expenditure.

10. Keep up to date with current knowledge and recent advances in the field/discipline.

11. Engage in continuing professional development activities as appropriate

12. Undertake any other reasonable duties as required by the Head of School/Director of Research Institute.

13. Contribute to the enhancement of the University's international profile in line with the University's Strategic Plan, World Changers Together.

These key tasks are not intended to be exhaustive but simply highlight a number of major tasks which the staff member may reasonably be expected to perform.



A1. Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 10 (Honours Degree) or equivalent in a subject relevant to health, or to the quantitative study of networks e.g. Psychology, Sociology, Computing Science, Mathematics, Statistics.

A2. Specialist theoretical and practical knowledge in quantitative methods, including social network analysis.

A3. Comprehensive and up to date knowledge of research related to public health.


B1 Working towards or completed PhD (SCQF level 12) in a field related to health, healthy ageing, social network analysis, or quantitative methods.

B2. Knowledge of theories that help understand the social processes influencing human behaviour, in particular health behaviours, and health outcomes such as physical activity.

B3. Knowledge of how to conduct or design interventions to improve health, or methods to evaluate health improvement interventions.

B4. Comprehensive and up to date knowledge of research related to healthy ageing.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience



C1. Ability to apply statistical methods for analysing social networks, for example, Exponential Random Graph Models, multilevel modelling, Simulation Investigation for Empirical Network Analysis.

C2. Ability to manage and clean complex datasets, including egonet datasets, and large secondary national survey datasets (e.g., ELSA, Understanding Society).

C3. Ability to apply traditional statistical methods for survey data, for example, multilevel modelling and regression techniques.

C4. Excellent interpersonal skills including team working and a collegiate approach. C5. Excellent communication skills (oral and written), including public presentations and ability to communicate complex data/concepts clearly and concisely.

C6. Strong workload, time, and project management skills.

C7. Extensive IT skills in relevant software e.g. R, Office suite,

C8. Self motivation, initiative and independent working skills.

C9. A comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge of current issues and future directions within the wider subject area or subject specialism.

C10. Proven ability to deliver quality outputs in a timely and efficient manner


D1. Skills in designing fieldwork materials for social network studies

D2. Advanced skills in coding e.g. developing R functions and packages



E1. Sufficient breadth and/or depth of knowledge in social network analysis and of research methods and techniques, demonstrated through relevant work experience (including experience gained throughout PhD)

E2. Experience in collecting primary data, or in working with secondary datasets, and the analysis of data

E3. Experience of scientific writing

E4. Experience of collaborative team working


F1. Experience of writing scientific papers

F2. Experience of delivering methods training

F3. Evidence of an emerging track record of publications in a relevant field

F4. Experience of collaborative team working

Please note that as part of your application you must address and demonstrate how you meet EACH of the essential/desirable criteria, point by point.

Any further enquiries on this post may be directed to Dr Emily Long via email

Terms and Conditions

Salary will be on the University's Research and Teaching Grade 6, £29,614 - £33,309 per annum.

This post is full time with funding for 18 months.

New entrants to the University will be required to serve a probationary period of 6 months.

The successful applicant will be eligible to join the Universities' Superannuation Scheme. Further information regarding the scheme is available from the Superannuation Officer, who is also prepared to advise on questions relating to the transfer of Superannuation benefits.

All research and related activities, including grants, donations, clinical trials, contract research, consultancy and commercialisation are required to be managed through the University's relevant processes (e.g. contractual and financial), in accordance with the University Court's policies.

It is the University of Glasgow's mission to foster an inclusive climate, which ensures equality in our working, learning, research and teaching environment.

We strongly endorse the principles of Athena SWAN, including a supportive and flexible working environment, with commitment from all levels of the organisation in promoting gender equality.

The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401.

Vacancy Reference: 063587, Closing Date: 7 October 2021

Vacancy Ref : 063587 Close Date : 07-Oct-2021 23:45

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