Research Assistant - School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences University of Edinburgh, College of Arts Humanities and Social Science United Kingdom

Research Assistant

Vacancy Ref: : 047244

Closing Date : 05-Apr-2019

Contact Person : Sarah Stanton

Contact Number :

Contact Email :

College of Arts Humanities and Social Science

School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences


Research Assistant

Part-time, Fixed-Term

UE06 (£27,830 - £32,236)

Vacancy Ref No. 047244


The School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences is seeking to appoint a 0.5 FTE Research Assistant for a fixed-term period of 15 months. The position is to support a research project entitled ““Variety is the Spice of Love: Promoting Partner Responsiveness within the Relationship Ecosystem” which is funded by the ESRC and led by Dr Sarah Stanton.


The successful candidate will be will be responsible for recruiting participants, collecting and managing data, and coordinating the day-to-day research activities of the project. This position requires someone with a degree in psychology or a related quantitative discipline.


For informal enquiries please contact Dr Sarah Stanton:


This part-time position is 17.5 hours a week, for a fixed-term period of 15 months.


Salary: £27,830 - £32,236 per annum (pro-rata).


Closing Date: 5pm GMT 5th April 2019.


It is anticipated that interviews will be held April/May 2019.


1. Job Details

Job title: Research Assistant 
School/Support Department: School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences 
Unit (if applicable): Psychology 
Line manager: Dr Sarah Stanton

2. Job Purpose

The Research Assistant (RA) will work with the Principal Investigator (PI) Dr Sarah Stanton on the 3-year ESRC-funded project “Variety is the Spice of Love: Promoting Partner Responsiveness within the Relationship Ecosystem.” The RA will be responsible for recruiting participants, collecting and managing data, and coordinating the day-to-day research activities of the project in collaboration with Dr Sarah Stanton and the Health and Relationship Processes (HARP) Lab research team at the University of Edinburgh.

3. Main Responsibilities

  1. The RA will manage a 14-day daily experience study involving romantic couples. This will include recruiting, instructing, and testing couples in the lab; scheduling daily online surveys for each partner; and coordinating participant compensation. (Approx 40% of time).

  2. The RA will ensure that the research runs according to the planned timetable, and engage in regular communication and discussion with the PI and the research team (Approx 10% of time).

  3. The RA will maintain detailed records for the project, formalising planning documents, and collating and archiving study materials and data in accordance with ethics requirements and General Data Protection Regulations (Approx 20% of time).

  4. The RA will search for, collate, and summarise research literature relevant to the project. This may also include some collaborating in data analysis; writing manuscripts for publication; and presenting study results to professional, academic, or lay groups (Approx 15% of time).

  5. The RA will liaise with the PI and key staff to test and develop study tasks (Approx 10% of time).

  6. The RA will undertake other reasonable duties as requested by the PI (Approx 5% of time).


4. Planning and Organising

The post-holder will plan and organise their daily, weekly, and long-term working pattern in coordination with the PI and research team. The post-holder will work independently using their own initiative, within the guidance and framework of the PI, senior staff, and the terms and conditions as set out by the funding body. The post-holder will have a flexible approach to work and the ability to plan, prioritise, and react effectively to project challenges as they arise (e.g., in response to new developments in the current field of investigation). Personal time management is essential in this role.

5. Problem Solving

The RA will be responsible for promptly identifying and resolving unforeseen issues with research activities. The post-holder will be expected to resolve routine difficulties involved in recruiting participants, carrying out studies, and managing data. Where necessary the RA will refer major or complex issues surrounding the project to the PI. The post-holder will be required to carefully monitor participant engagement with the study tasks to ensure that meaningful data are obtained.

6. Decision Making

The post-holder will be responsible for making day-to-day decisions related to research activities, participant recruitment, and data management. The RA will be responsible for prioritising the allocated research duties and will be expected to take initiative in making decisions to achieve agreed-upon deliverables and deadlines. The post-holder must be able to work independently with minimum supervision, in addition to working as part of a wider research team, with awareness of when to raise more complex issue sot the project PI.

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

The RA will maintain regular contact with the PI and other members of the research team, both at project meetings and informally at other times.

The post-holder will be responsible for liaising and maintaining contact with research assistants and collaborators assisting on the project, as well as with study participants. Maintaining a good working relationship with such individuals will be essential.

A good relationship with IT support staff, administrative support staff and with the school facilities team must be maintained.

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job




E1. Degree in Psychology or related quantitative discipline


D1. Postgraduate qualification (e.g., MSc) in Psychology or related quantitative discipline



E2. Direct experience conducting social psychology research in the lab and/or online, including recruiting participants, setting up and running studies, and organising and working with databases


D2. Experience working and liaising with dyads (ideally romantic couples) in a research capacity

D3. Experience setting up and running short- and/or long-term longitudinal studies (ideally daily experience studies) involving adult participants

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies


E3. Excellent demonstrable literature searching and summarising skills and knowledge of theory, methods, and statistical analyses involved in relationship science and/or social psychology

E4. Proven management and organisational skills, with the ability to coordinate multiple tasks, prioritise to meet deadlines, and solve problems as they arise with minimum supervision

E5. Ability to communicate effectively orally, electronically, and in writing in both an interpersonal capacity (e.g., when interacting with research team members, key staff, and study participants) and an academic capacity (e.g., when preparing manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication)

E6. Working knowledge of word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software


D4. Experience carrying out dyadic data analysis and/or multilevel modelling in R or similar statistical packages

D5. Familiarity with Qualtrics survey software as well as non-questionnaire research methods (e.g., video recording and coding)

Personal Attributes


E7. Conscientious attention to quality and detail and willingness to work flexibly depending on participant availability

E8. Ability to work collaboratively, as well as independently, and to seek advice or report issues when required to the relevant expert investigators


D6. Interest in engaging in open science practices


9. Dimensions

The project is a 3-year project funded by the ESRC investigating possible mechanisms that contribute to happy and fulfilling romantic relationships over time. It has three objectives:

  1. To discover how responsiveness and self-expansion operate in romantic partners’ day-to-day experiences;
  2. To investigate relationship mechanisms through which responsiveness is linked to personal and relational well-being; and
  3. To design and test the utility of a responsiveness-bolstering intervention for couples.

The project will involve two dyadic 14-day daily experience studies comprising an initial lab session, a 14-day diary period, and a 1- to 3-month follow-up session. The studies use a multimethod approach, including questionnaires, video recording and coding, and behavioral tasks. The project involves the HARP Lab research team at the University of Edinburgh, led by Dr Sarah Stanton.

10. Job Context and any other relevant information

This post will be based in Psychology, 7 George Square, in the central campus of the university. The post is fixed-term, part-time (0.5 FTE) for a duration of 15 months. The post-holder will be expected to deliver the objectives of the project within the set timescale. Applicants are encouraged to direct any inquiry about the research goals and details of the project to the PI, Dr Sarah Stanton (

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this 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.

We anticipate interviews will be held in April/May 2019. You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not. 
The closing date is 5pm on 5th April 2019.

Eligibility to Work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and Immigration Act 2016 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 webpage

If you are from outside the EEA and not currently eligible to work in the UK, there are visa routes that may be available to you, for example:

  1. Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent): If you are an academic 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
  2. Tier 2: The University is a UKVI licensed sponsor and is able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who are offered highly skilled roles and meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa).


Further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes can be found at:


Conditions of Employment


Pension Scheme

This role is grade UOE6 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 UOE6 and attracts an annual salary of £27,830 to £32,236, for 17.5 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.



Established in 1906, Psychology at Edinburgh was one of the first departments of psychology in the UK. We currently have around 40 academic staff, 40 research staff, and 70 PhD students. The department enjoys a world-wide reputation for its research, covering a range of topics from the psychology of language to individual differences. Psychology at Edinburgh ranks 2nd in the UK and 20th in the world (Times Higher Education – World University Rankings 2018 by subject: psychology).


We are home to world-class research groups in human cognitive neuroscience, individual differences, psychology of language and developmental psychology. Psychology also houses the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE), which is an international leader in the field, and the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre. In the Times Higher Education rankings of the Research Excellence Framework 2014, our research is placed 1st in Scotland as part of a joint submission for psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience.


We have excellent facilities for research and teaching, including a cognitive neuroscience facility with EEG/ERP, NIRS, TMS, eye and motion-tracking technologies, a developmental facility with infant eye-tracking capabilities, a psychometric test library, and general computing and experimental research facilities. Staff have access to the Welcome Trust Clinical Research Facility and the Scottish Brain Imaging Research Centre, as well as a large volunteer panel to assist the recruitment of normal adult subject samples.


Students from around the world study Psychology at Edinburgh, with 35% of our students coming from outside the UK from over 40 different countries. We have a well-established postgraduate programme, offering seven taught MSc programmes as well as PhD study. Undergraduate class sizes range from around 350 in first year (including a first year intake onto Psychology single and joint honours degree programmes of around 110 students), to more specialist third and fourth year classes of around 50 students. Small-group teaching is a feature throughout the curriculum, with students taught in groups of 6-15 by academic staff and postgraduate tutors. The Psychology student society, PsychSoc, runs a wide series of social and scientific events and also coordinates a PsychPALS scheme, in which first year students are mentored by older students.


Psychology’s unique role as part of the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences has fostered rich teaching and research collaborations in cognitive science, moral psychology, and the psychology of language. We have links across the University with world-class researchers in related disciplines such as business studies, economics, sociology, neuroscience, neuroinformatics, and genetics. We have extensive national and international collaborative links in all of these disciplines


The School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

The School comprises Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences (Linguistics and English Language). We offer a rich and diverse learning and research environment for our staff and students, with close links between our three subject areas, alongside other world-class research areas within the University and beyond.

The School is recognised as world-leading, as shown in its excellent output across all areas in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), our research environment is rated as 100% conducive to internationally excellent research across all subject areas.

All of the School’s subject areas consistently rank in the top 50 in the world.

• Linguistics ranks 5th in the world and 2nd in the UK (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017).
• English Language is grouped with Literature in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, where the University ranks 11th in the world and 3rd in the UK.
• Psychology ranks 20th in the world, and 2nd in the UK in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 by subject.
• Philosophy was covered in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 subject grouping ‘history, philosophy and theology’ where the University ranks 27th in the world and 5th in the UK.

The School is unique in offering outstanding opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and in pioneering novel forms of research that reach across traditional boundaries. In 2016/17, the School welcomed nearly 2000 students from around the world onto our diverse range of programmes. The School has well established links with other areas of the University such Clinical Neuroscience, Medicine, Informatics and Edinburgh College of Art. This large and diverse teaching portfolio is augmented by the breadth of our research portfolio, whereby we are able to secure large volumes and value of externally funded research grants. Our core income budget is circa £23m per annum.

There are over 150 academic staff within the School, and the breadth of expertise ranges from analytic philosophy and the study of English language, through theoretical and applied linguistics, philosophy of science and epistemology and experimental psychology, to cognitive neurosciences and genetic influences on human behaviour. We have six research centres which drive our research and help put our research into practice, connecting academia with industry, policy and the general public.

• Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre – dementia research centre in collaboration with Alzheimer Scotland
• Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics – research centre focused on historical linguistics and language change, centred on the history of English and Scots.
• Bilingualism Matters – a centre promoting bilingualism and language learning to the general public
• The Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) – famous for its intelligence studies with the Lothian Birth Cohort
• The Centre for Language Evolution – interdisciplinary centre focused on understanding the origins and evolution of language
• EIDYN – Philosophy research centre focusing on epistemology, mind and normativity.

The School offers extensive professional service support for academics across a wider range of administrative operations, including dedicated undergraduate and postgraduate teaching offices, research and knowledge exchange support team and a highly skilled and specialised IT team who provide support relating to learning technology, and facilities for data collection and experimentation across cognitive science.
We are fully committed to recognising and supporting equality and diversity amongst our staff and students. In 2017 we were awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze award by the Equality Challenge Unit’s Athena SWAN charter in recognition of our efforts to promote a School culture of equality.


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (
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.

The University of Edinburgh

For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.

The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 41,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.


As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.


The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.


University Family Friendly Initiatives

Equality Networks:

Staff Pride Network for LGBT+ colleagues and allies
Disabled Staff Network

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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