Research Fellow

University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Position Type: 
Full-Time
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)
Languages Required: 
Spanish

EXPIRED

Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

The Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture

The Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (ESALA (http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/edinburgh-college-art/architecture-landscape-architecture)) is guided by values of creativity, experimentation, scholarly rigour and ethical responsibility.

Architecture
Architecture is a field of inquiry dedicated to the art of building in its broadest sense. This encompasses the design of buildings, the spaces between them, as well as wider natural and urban environments.
Our definition of Architecture implies a wide range of conditions: from the most intimate spaces of a dwelling, to complex public infrastructures and open spaces, to the heterogenous fabric of a city and wider territorial conditions.

Landscape Architecture
Landscape Architects design spaces and places. Spaces range from the urban square and the city park to the regional landscape. Between these scales lie business parks, land reclamation and urban regeneration, forestry, public realm, streetscapes and urban design.

Professional network
We have strong and vibrant alliances with the architectural and landscape professions and other community, cultural and business groupings in Scotland, and clearly articulated links with relevant schools and institutions internationally.
We engage in policy debates nationally and internationally both within teaching and through research activities.

The Deparment of Architecture & Landscape Architectur holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

 

Edinburgh College of Art

Edinburgh College of Art is a large and diverse school within the University of Edinburgh's College of Humanities and Social Science. It is comprised of the Schools of Art, Design, History of Art, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the Reid School of Music.

Our mission is to promote world-leading critical enquiry across all these subject areas through scholarly research, teaching and creative practice.

Almost 3,000 students and 300 staff study and work at ECA and we enjoy strong relationships with museums, galleries, archives, practitioners and industry partners in Edinburgh, Scotland, the UK and internationally.

Edinburgh College of Art is committed to equal and fair treatment of all its employees and in recognition of the positive promotion of diversity and gender equality among staff and students, Athena SWAN granted the Edinburgh College of Art a Bronze Award in 2017.

 

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (http://www.ed.ac.uk/arts-humanities-soc-sci)

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is a large and diverse part of the University. Led by Vice-Principal Professor Dorothy Miell, it has 13,800 undergraduates, 5,500 taught postgraduates, 1,300 research students and more than 3,800 academic and professional services staff. The College incorporates 11 Schools (Business; Divinity; Economics; Edinburgh College of Art; Education; Health in Social Sciences; History, Classics and Archaeology; Law; Literatures, Languages and Cultures; Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences; and Social and Political Science), the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and the Centre for Open Learning. The College is located on multiple sites across Edinburgh, with the majority of Schools and College Offices based close to the central George Square area. The College, which is recognised as one of the world's leading centres for the arts, humanities and social sciences in research and teaching, has been growing and investing strongly in recent years.

Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014)

The College operates at the highest levels of international quality across a very wide range of disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences and submitted the work of more than 750 staff to 23 Units of Assessment in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. The College achieved a superb result, combining a large-scale, broad and diverse submission with very high quality outcomes: 86% of its research impact and 76% of the overall quality profile were assessed as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*). Using the widely used Research Power index (which combines the submission's overall score for 3* and 4* work with the volume of staff submitted), 12 of the College’s Units were ranked within the top five in the UK, and 18 were ranked first in Scotland. With an assessment of more than 95% at 3* and 4*, we're particularly proud of the outstanding research environment we create for staff and research students.

ESALA wishes to appoint a Research Fellowfor a period of 12 months to support the project ‘'Developing collaborative smart city solutions to manage adaptation and monitoring climate change related risks in Mexico”. This project will be developed in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University as well as academic and non-academic partners in Mexico.

The Research Fellow is an integral part of the project to offer a consistent level of research throughout. The nature and extent of the project spanning researchers in two continents, makes consistent assistance essential. Initial research will be dedicated to review primary and secondary sources identifying policy and institutional approaches in Mexico and internationally. The review will also include smart city solutions as well as resilience strategies in Mexico City. The Research Fellow will also review also be require to participate or carry out interviews with key Mexican actors and local stakeholders.

The RF will contribute to fieldwork in the specific areas of study and undertake data collection, which will require knowledge and experience on qualitative research methods, semi-structure interviews data collection and data management. The RF will also contribute to the organisation of international team meetings, assist with analysis and report writing and support ongoing dissemination activities. It is essential that any activities undertaken by the RF and the project team are engendered and take place in collaboration with Mexican partners.

The post holder will require research experience, preferably in urban studies, urban design, planning, housing, sociology, particularly in relation to climate change, resilience and smart city solutions and demonstrate experience in successful project management and team working. An MPhil/ PhD in a relevant area of research such as the ones above or a related discipline is desirable.

This is a fixed-term part-time post.

Salary: £33,199 - £39,609 (pro rata)

Closing date: 1st February 2019 at 5pm (GMT).

1. Job Details

Job title: Research Assistant

School/Support Department: ECA / ESALA

Line manager: Dr Soledad Garcia Ferrari

2. Job Purpose

ESALA wishes to appoint a Research Assistant for a period of 12 months to support the project titled ‘'Developing collaborative smart city solutions to manage adaptation and
monitoring climate change related risks in Mexico” funded by British Council Institutional Links Programme. This project will be developed in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University as well as academic and non-academic partners in Mexico.

The research assistant is an integral part of the project to offer a consistent level of research throughout. The nature and extent of the project spanning researchers in two continents, makes consistent assistance essential. Initial research will be dedicated to review primary and secondary sources identifying policy and institutional approaches in Mexico and internationally. The review will also include smart city solutions as well as resilience strategies in Mexico City. The research assistant will also review also be require to participate or carry out interviews with key Mexican actors and local stakeholders.

The RA will contribute to fieldwork in the specific areas of study and undertake data collection, which will require knowledge and experience on qualitative research methods, semi-structure interviews data collection and data management. The RA will also contribute to the organisation of international team meetings, assist with analysis and report writing and support ongoing dissemination activities. It is essential that any activities undertaken by the RA and the project team are engendered and take place in collaboration with Mexican partners.

The post holder will require research experience, preferably in urban studies, urban design, planning, housing, sociology, particularly in relation to climate change, resilience and smart city solutions and demonstrate experience in successful project management and team working. An MPhil/ PhD in a relevant area of research such as the ones above or a related discipline is desirable

3. Main Responsibilities

Approx. % of time

  1. Literature Review - Contribute to identifying policy, institutional and socio economic advantages as well as constraints in Mexico City in the context climate change-related strategies as well as government structures. The project also focuses on understanding current trends regarding smart city solutions in Mexico City. This work will be initially carried out through literature reviews and surveys of primary and secondary sources. (20%)
  2. Planning Policy Review - Contribute to the review of the planning legislation and instruments Mexico City is using for development, in relation to potential strategies and solutions to tackle climate-change as well as smart-cities approaches, which will be identified with guidance from the lead researchers in the project. (20%)
  3. Research data collection – Contribute as part of an interdisciplinary team to identify data related to the selected case studies in the project, in collaboration with Mexican partners. (20%)
  4. Research development – Contribute to compiling and organising research material in relation to the topics of the project. Contribute to presenting research results through preparation of material for publication as research papers, book publications and other outputs of the project, in collaboration with the lead researchers. (20%)
  5. Establishment of procedures and planning of meetings –Support coordination of the work of the various researchers and partners associated with the study, including liaison with the project’s Management Group, to ensure adherence to study milestones and work plan, including progress reports, etc. (10%)
  6. Project Organisation and Workshops – Overall efficient day-to-day management of logistical aspects of the research project to support the Principal Investigator’s project management role so that the study meets its targets, adheres to the planned programme and produces meaningful outputs. Contribute to the preparation and organisation of Contribute to the preparation and organisation of thematic workshops in Mexico City and Puebla and any related capacity building programme. Contribute to the general running of the project aiding the preparation and outcomes of each project meeting. (10%)

4. Planning and Organising

It is essential that the Research Assistant is able to contribute to the regular organisation of the project as well as assisting communication between partners, through the planned organised meetings and informal contact points. Therefore, and due to the nature of this international research spanning two continents, organisational skills, as well as time and project management skills are a key aspect of this role.

The Research Assistant will agree a general plan of research with the Principal Investigator and progress will be monitored at pre-scheduled meetings.

Help plan and organise all meetings of the various researchers and partners associated with the study, including the Advisory Group, the Academic Management Group, and stakeholder groups.

Manage all arrangements associated with setting up work around the proposed fieldtrips for this project including preparation of materials, arranging accommodation, briefing and obtaining informed consent from participants, arranging for note-takers and/or interpreters where necessary, managing any workshop assistants and their contributions, and producing high quality outputs that record the process and address the aims of the project.

Manage and maintain records of all thematic components data, and secure storage of all project data.

Draft research reports and publications for internal and external reporting to a professional level.

Preparation and publication of research papers, exhibitions and other outputs for dissemination of findings using a range of media.

5. Problem Solving

Problem solving will be required to ensure the effective running and completion of the study. The Research Assistant will work in close collaboration with the Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators of this project. Any problems to be faced with regards to organisation of the workshops or progress of the research programme will be discussed, and solutions will be achieved under instruction by, and advice from the Principal Investigator and other support staff.

Problems may include such aspects as:
a) variability in the format, content and style of outputs obtained in different workshops
b) difficulty in maintaining contact with different participants and partners over the course of the study
c) changes and delays in the timing and sequence of different elements of the thematic components of the research.

The job-holder will be expected to think independently, however all decisions will be made in consultation with the Principal and Co-Investigators.

Some problem-solving will require careful reference to protocols and procedures (e.g. over University of Edinburgh ethical approval), and some will require exploration of good practice and precedent (e.g. in measures to maintain good contact with study participants).

6. Decision Making

All decisions will take place in discussion with Principal Investigator, who will agree and discuss scope of the work in terms of all research activities.

In general, the job-holder will be expected to make day-to-day decisions that support the good progress of the study and do not have scientific or budgetary implications that might be problematic. Such regular decision-making is likely to include: drafting of formats for reports and other progress documents and outputs; establishment of protocols for recording and storing all study data, in accordance with data protection legislation; preparing and updating a library of relevant literature to inform contextual understanding, data analysis and interpretation of results; responding to queries about the study.

Where decisions are needed that might result in significant changes to the study plan, funding or timing, these must be resolved in discussion with Principal Investigator to ensure that any implications are predicted and planned for appropriately.

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

The Research Assistant will interact with the Principal Investigators of this project as well as Co-Investigators and associates to the project at Heriot-Watt University and IPN in Mexico City, as well as other support staff in ESALA, Business School and ECA. External partners in Mexico City are expected to include government departments, public enterprises, community organisations, consultants, etc.

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

Essential

  • First or upper second class Honours degree.
  • A bachelors or masters qualification in urban studies, urban development, planning, housing, sociology, or a relevant related discipline.
  • Ability to communicate fluently in Spanish and English, both in writing and verbally
  • Successful involvement in a research project (solo or as Research Associate)
  • Experience in qualitative research methods such as compilation of information and data, literature and policy review, survey of primary and secondary sources (interviews, etc.), and reporting on these.
  • Experience in successful project management and working as part of a team.
  • Experience in communication to different audiences, including academic and non-academic.
  • Ability to communicate clearly with a range of stakeholders as evidenced by excellent oral and written communication skills

Desirable

  • An MPhil/ PhD in a relevant area of research as identified above.
  • Evidence of sole or co-authored, peer-reviewed journal publications or equivalent level exhibitions outputs.
  • Experience of preparing professional research consultancy reports
  • Experience in the preparation and running of research and knowledge exchange workshops
  • Experience of working with policymakers or practitioners in public agencies and consultancies
  • Experience of working and supporting a project split across diverse geographical locations

9. Dimensions

The project builds on a series of research activities that took place during 2017 and 2018 aimed to building research collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and a range of institutions in Mexico. These activities generated the development of the proposed project, as well as initial partnership with associated institutions. The project also builds on ongoing research around risk and resilience taking place in Medellin, Colombia and Sao Paulo, Brazil. http://www.medellin-urban-innovation.eca.ed.ac.uk. The project will run in parallel to the ESRC-CONACYT funded project aimed to develop resilience strategies to tackle climate-change related risks.

This project will continue engage with partners in Mexico, as well as in Colombia and Brazil aiming to share findings and learn from this international network.

10. Job Context and any other relevant information
Project Summary

The growth of Latin American cities in the last decades has led to an increase of vulnerable communities in informal settlements on land exposed to climate change-related risks, such as: surface, temperature, droughts, flooding, etc. heightening the need to improve the resilience of such communities. To overcome this, it is essential to develop innovative, co-created strategies to manage risk and increase resilience at the household level. Smart City approaches offer an integrative perspective, establishing the potential for developing collaborative solutions involving city governments and technology contractors. However, these technological solutions tend to be dependent on top-down initiatives, which do not necessarily take into account the needs of, or benefits for people living in poor informal communities. The aim of this project is to identify climate change-related challenges and possible 'smart city' strategies, through implementing an interactive dialogue between community members, government institutions, NGOs, private businesses and other stakeholders in Mexico. With a critical perspective and from a collaborative approach, 'smart city' strategies might bring innovative solutions that engage with communities, academics, technology contractors and local authorities in settlements affected by climate change-related effects. The project will explore innovative, context-specific and co-created strategies for managing risk and increase resilience, responding to the needs of the most vulnerable, through two scoping pilot studies, one in Mexico City and in the other in a semi-rural area in Puebla. Working at the macro-scale and the local scale, the research will provide, along with knowledge on community-based best practices, opportunities for interaction and negotiation between actors to increase resilience and reduce vulnerability.

The project objectives are as follows:

1) To identify institutional and bottom-up strategies for adaptation to climate change related risks in vulnerable communities in Mexico, understanding the perceptions that communities and institutions have of climate change-related risks and the role private and public sector organisations could play in increasing adaptive action

2) To identify possible 'smart city' solutions for climate-change adaptation from bottom-up approaches

3) To assess the viability of these initiatives enhancing co-created knowledge using smart-city solutions, through the implementation and analysis of selected scoping studies

4) To explore the potential for these approaches and techniques to be rolled out at the wider scale with community-based researchers, using training and communication programmes, creating society-wide change

5) To build capacity in Mexican and UK universities on the proposed themes, strengthening their research infrastructures.

The project will be structured around two interlinked components:

1) A research programme meeting objectives 1 to 4 and composed of literature reviews, interviews with key stakeholders, study visits and the analysis of the specific scoping studies implemented. It will be carried out in partnership between organisations in Mexico and the UK, with specific partners taking the lead for each of the two main work packages: (a) city-based climate change-related challenges and strategies and (b) semi-rural climate change-related challenges and strategies.

2) A knowledge exchange and training programme open to Mexican and UK practitioners, policy makers, academics and students based on the themes structuring this research. This will take place throughout the project but will be delivered through two intensive workshops in Mexico led by principal investigators in association with leaders in each theme in Mexico and the UK (month 4); and through the final conference of the project (month 10).

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page. 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 on 1st February 2019 at 5pm (GMT).

Eligibility to Work

In accordance with UK legislation 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 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

In the circumstances where the vacancy does not meet the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) criteria for sponsorship the successful applicant must have the existing right to work in the UK or individual circumstances which enable permission to work to be obtained.

For further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes please visit the GOV.UK website

If you are applying for an academic/research role in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. This route requires you 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). However, if you are applying for a senior academic role, e.g. Professor/Reader there is an accelerated route to endorsement. Further information can be found on the 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.

Salary

The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,199 to £39,609 on a pro-rata basis for 8 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.