Research Fellow in Psychology University of Warwick Department of Psychology United Kingdom

Research Fellow (101701-059) 




Vacancy Type/Job category

Research Only




£30,395 - £39,609 per annum


University of Warwick, Coventry

Vacancy Overview

The University of Warwick is seeking to appoint 1 full-time, 3-year postdoctoral researcher (and 1 full time, 3-year graduate Research Assistant advertised seperately) at the Department of Psychology, as part of the research grant ‘Explaining symptom severity, distress and disability in chronic pain: The role of mental defeat’ funded by a MRC grant awarded to Dr. Nicole Tang at the University of Warwick.


Chronic pain is a global health problem that affects around 8 million people in the UK. Understanding the factors that determine whether an individual is able to feel right and function well – despite the pain – is crucial to advancing treatment.


The project aims to provide an in-depth investigation of a cognitive construct known as mental defeat, which was defined as negative appraisals of self in relation to pain. There is initial qualitative and correlational evidence suggesting that mental defeat may be a psychological factor explaining symptom severity, distress and disability. Specifically, the project seeks to examine: (i) the effect of activated mental defeat on immediate pain responses, (ii) the extent to which mental defeat prospectively explains variations in pain severity, distress and disability over 1 year, (iii) the day-to-day pathways through which mental defeat gets under the skin and translates into the symptoms of distress and disability.


The project comprises 3 interlinked experimental, longitudinal and experience sampling studies. The studies will involve recruiting and testing eligible adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain (e.g., back pain, neck pain, widespread pain as in fibromyalgia) from hospital clinics and primary care centres to take part in these studies. The overarching goal is to generate experimental and prospective evidence to evaluate the role of mental defeat, to inform the development of innovative therapeutic approaches to promote wellbeing and resilience in the chronic pain population.


The successful applicants are expected to work as a team for the delivery of the project and the dissemination of the findings. This will include setting up and running the experiments, collecting and analysing data and writing the work up for publications and presentations, liaising with other academic, clinical and lay partners of the project, as well as wider members of the Warwick Sleep and Pain Lab and the Warwick University Mental Health Research Centre.


We are looking for candidates with a strong research background with the capability to run complex experiments, analyse longitudinal data and carry out experience sampling studies using ambulatory monitoring methods.



Skills/Experience required


1. A PhD (or equivalent doctoral degree) in Psychology, Health or other relevant subjects (awarded)

2. Demonstrable research interest in the area of chronic pain

3. A publication track record appropriate for the career stage

4. Previous research on topics related to this project

5. Previous research using methodologies related to this project

6. Proficiency in quantitative data analysis

7. Experience in gaining and maintaining NHS REC and HRA approvals

8. Experience in data management

9. Capacity to work independently and within a team

10. Capacity to carry out research timely and to work to deadlines

11. Excellent communication, organisational and people skills.

12. Excellent project management and leadership skills


Illustrative references


Tang, N. K. Y., Salkovskis, P. M., & Hanna, M. (2007). Mental Defeat in Chronic Pain: Initial Exploration of the Concept. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 23(3), 222-232.


Tang, N. K. Y., Goodchild, C. E., Hester, J., & Salkovskis, P. M. (2010). Mental defeat is linked to interference, distress and disability in chronic pain. Pain, 149(3), 547-554.


Tang, N. K. Y., Beckwith, P., & Ashworth, P. (2016). Mental defeat is associated with suicide intent in patients with chronic pain. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 32(5), 411-419.


The successful candidates will be prepared to begin soon after the grant starts on 12th August 2019. All applications must be made online and accompanied by a CV and covering letter detailing your relevant skills and experience. Three references may be requested prior to shortlisting.


Interview date 18 July 2019.


For informal enquiries please contact Dr Nicole Tang at


If you have not yet been awarded your PhD but are near submission or have recently submitted your PhD, any offers of employment will be made as Research Assistant on level 5 of the University grade structure (£29,515). Upon successful award of your PhD and evidence of this fact, you will be promoted to Research Fellow on the first point of level 6 of the University grade structure (£30,395 pa).

Job Description



The main goals of this project are to examine: (i) the effect of activated mental defeat on immediate pain responses, (ii) the extent to which mental defeat prospectively explains variations in pain severity, distress and disability over 1 year, (iii) the day-to-day pathways through which mental defeat gets under the skin and translates into the symptoms of distress and disability.


The postdoctoral Research Fellow and the graduate Research Assistant/Project Co-ordinator will work together as team to deliver the 3 complementary components planned for the project, comprising an experiment (to test aim i), a questionnaire and an experience sampling exercise (ESE) involving the use of actigraphy and an online survey over 1 year (to test aims ii and iii).




1. To work with other investigators and project partners as a member of a team.


2. To attend and complete relevant training to perform duties of the project.


3. To organise, attend, and record team/lab meetings for the smooth and timely completion of the project.


4. To set up, pilot and finalise the study protocols.


5. To apply for approvals/extensions to existing ethical, sponsorship, and recruitment arrangements for the studies.


6. To pre-register study protocols before data collection.


7. To recruit and correspond with prospective and eligible study participants.


8. To run the study protocols with eligible participants and collect data for analysis.


9. To document the ongoing investigation in accessible detail for later reporting and reproduction.


10. To prepare the data and perform data analysis.


11. To lead the writing of major deliverables for the project and to make a major contribution to the writing of research articles for major journals in the field.


12. To share research outcomes at departmental, national and international seminars and



13. To implement the project data management plan, which include enabling appropriate data sharing and safeguarding of data security, confidentiality and data quality and standards.


14. To organise and take part in dissemination activities planned for the project, which include but are not restricted to a radio programme and an interdisciplinary workshop.


15. To assist in routine administration and practical activities associated with the running and future development of the research project.


16. To play an active role in the research group, organising group meetings and activities.


17. To work with and co-supervise postgraduate research students and student assistants.


18. To maintain regular liaison with funder, project partners, collaborators, study participants, media and the general public via the project website, publication research newsletters, email and phone correspondence, meetings and other dissemination activities.


Person Specification


The Person Specification focuses on the knowledge, skills, experience and qualifications required to undertake the role effectively. This is measured by (a) Application Form, (b) Test/Exercise, (c) Interview, (d) Presentation.

Essential Criteria 1

PhD (or equivalent doctoral degree) in psychology, health or other relevant subjects (awarded) (a)

Essential Criteria 2

Previous research and/or clinical experience in chronic pain and linked topics/methodologies of the project (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 3

A developing track record in producing high quality academic publications (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 4

Proficiency in quantitative data analysis using SPSS and/or R (a) (b) (c)

Essential Criteria 5

Experience in gaining and maintaining ethical and/or sponsorship approvals (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 6

Experience in data management, in particular electronic record management in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 7

Good effective interpersonal, communication (oral and written) and presentation skills (a) (c) (d)

Essential Criteria 8

Ability to work independently and as part of a team on research programmes (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 9

Ability to initiate, plan, organise, implement and deliver programmes of work to tight deadlines (a) (c)

Essential Criteria 10

Strong work ethics (a) (c)

Desirable Criteria 1

Experience in leading a research project/team and Experience in organising and taking part in research dissemination activities; media experience (a) (c)

Desirable Criteria 2

Experience in working with chronic pain patients; recruiting patients for research in clinical settings (a) (c)

Desirable Criteria 3

Experience in designing and conducting well-controlled experiments; conducting longitudinal studies and data analysis; designing and implementing quantitative sensory testing protocols; Continuation below

Desirable Criteria 4

Designing and implementing experience sampling studies; using actigraphy; administering thought manipulation (a) (c)

Desirable Criteria 5

Aspiration to pursue an academic career; ability or potential to generate external funding (grants, contracts etc) to support research projects; develop additional relevant research linked to the project (a) (c)

Further Particulars

For further information about the University of Warwick, please read our University Further Particulars.


For further information about the department, please visit the departmental website.


We are committed to supporting all staff in reaching their potential and we welcome applications from candidates from diverse and underrepresented groups. Warwick Psychology holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award for gender equality advancement, while Warwick University holds a Silver Award. These awards and the Departmental policy on equality, diversity and inclusion represent our commitment to our diverse student population and to the advancement of all our staff.


We are supportive of staff with caring responsibilities including a generous maternity/paternity/adoption/parental leave policy, onsite childcare facilities and the childcare vouchers scheme. The Department offers flexible working arrangements and a commitment to schedule department events within “core hours only”. Warwick Psychology is strongly committed to fostering excellence through diversity and enthusiastically welcomes applications from members of groups that have been, and continue to be, underrepresented in academia. Candidates should have experience in, or be able to demonstrate a commitment to, working with diverse student populations and/or in culturally diverse work and educational environments.


The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.


Right to work in the UK

If you do not yet have the right to work in the UK and/ or are seeking sponsorship under Tier 2 of the UK points-based immigration system

please click on this link which contains further information about obtaining right to work in the UK and details about eligibility for sponsorship under Tier 2.


Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy


As an organisation using the (DBS) Disclosure and Barring Service to assess applicants’ suitability for positions of trust, the University of Warwick complies with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a Disclosure on the basis of a conviction or other information revealed. More information is available on the University’s Vacancy pages and applicants may request a copy of the DBS Code of Practice.

Closing Date

26 Jun 2019

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Psychoneuroxy


All Jobs


Harvard University Academic Positions

Kuwait University Current Faculty Openings

Osaka University Academic Opportunities

Purdue University Job Postings for Faculty Positions

Texas Tech University Faculty Openings

Tsinghua University Job Postings

University of Cambridge Job Openings

University of Geneva Faculty Opportunities

University of New South Wales Job Openings

University of Nottingham Research Positions

University of Oslo Academic Jobs

University of Saskatchewan Faculty Positions

University of Southampton Research Vacancies

University of Tokyo Current Academic Vacancies

University of Toronto Open Faculty Positions

University of Zurich Job Postings