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: 
Doctorate

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.

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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.

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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.
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The ESRC-funded project 'Developing co-created smart city solutions for managed adaptation and monitoring of hydro-meteorological climate change related risk in Mexico’, housed within Edinburgh College of Art, seeks a proactive and enthusiastic individual with strong research experience in development, urban studies, urban design and experience in successful project management and team working for the post of Research Fellow.

The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,199 to £39,609 pro rata, for 21 hours each week.

Closing date is 5pm (GMT) 16th August 2019

This is a fixed term post ending on the 13th August 2021

Job Purpose

ESALA wishes to appoint a Research Fellow for three days a week until the 13th August 2021, to support the project titled ‘Developing co-created smart city solutions for managed adaptation and monitoring of hydro-meteorological climate change related risk in Mexico’ funded by ESRC-CONACYT. This project will be developed in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University and Instituto Politecnico Nacional 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 to climate change, smart city solutions as well as, community-based and government initiated, resilience strategies in Mexico City. The review will also require interviews with key Mexican actors and local stakeholders. Following this stage, the RF will contribute to work on the specific area of study and data collection, which will require knowledge and experience on qualitative research methods, semi-structure interviews data collection and data management. This work will be coordinated with Mexican-based researchers and project partners. The RF will also contribute to the organisation of international team meetings, to which she/he will be attending in the UK and in Mexico, assist with analysis and report writing and support ongoing dissemination activities. Impact is a key aspect of this project and the RF is expected to contribute to gathering evidence and writing up of any impact-related information. 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 development, 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. Tasks will also include coordinating activities between UK and Mexico, keep track of progress, and assist with organisation and planning, supporting the PI, Co-Is and Management Group in the management and leadership activities of the project. Specific activities will include organisation of international team meetings, assisting with report writing, supporting ongoing dissemination activities, and developing and maintaining the project blog. An MPhil/ PhD in a relevant area of research such as the ones above or a related discipline is desirable.

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 fieldtrips and data collection. Contribute to the general running of the project aiding the preparation and outcomes of each project meeting. This should also include dissemination and findings sharing across academic communities and through social media. 10%

Planning & Organising
It is essential that the Research Fellow 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 Fellow 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 Management Group, and any associated 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.

Problem Solving
Problem solving will be required to ensure the effective running and completion of the study. The Research Fellow 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).

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.

Key Contacts/Relationships
The Research Fellow 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.

Knowledge, Skills & Experience

Essential

  • Appropriate degree, with relevant post-graduate research experience. Normally a PhD or Equivalent professional qualification and/or experience.
  • 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 urban studies, urban development, planning, housing, sociology, or a relevant related discipline.
  • 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

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

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.

Job Context & Other Relevant Information
Project Summary

The sharp growth of Latin American cities in the last decades has led to an increase of vulnerable communities in informal settlements on land exposed to hazards. These are affected by climate change-related risks such as changes in surface, temperature, droughts, flooding, and more aggressive hurricanes, heightening the need to improve the resilience of such communities. Diseases associated with new atmospheric conditions are some of the consequences, further increasing the displacement of people towards cities. As urban areas expand, current levels of vulnerability, socio-spatial segregation and inequality are aggravated by an increasing demand of housing. In order to reduce disasters it is essential to develop innovative, co-created strategies for managing risk and increase resilience. 'Smart city' approaches offer an integrative perspective, establishing the potential for emerging collaboration between city governments and technology contractors. However, these technological solutions tend to be dependent with top-down ideas, which do not necessarily take into account the needs of, or benefit for people living in poor informal communities. Those challenges that 'smart cities approaches' are faced with reflect a need for context-specific strategies and solutions that respond to the needs of the most vulnerable. Therefore, the aim of this project is to enable city communities to monitor and mitigate climate change-related risks as well as enable communities to develop strategies to adapt to those risks through the co-creation of local, bottom-up initiatives using smart-city solutions.

The project will develop an interactive networking smart-technology, enabling city-communities to share best practice on monitoring climate change-related challenges, and to allow them to create solutions that enhance managed adaptation, in close collaboration with local and national institutions, and other relevant stakeholders. The research is structured around three work packages aimed to address the following questions: (i) how do local communities and local institutions perceive and adapt to climate change-related risks and what are the roles of private and public sector organisations in taking adaptive action? (ii) how could a co-created smart-technology help communities to monitor and adapt to these climate change risks? (iii) how can this technology, using community knowledge and experience, help create and influence climate change-related local and national policies?

The research will focus on a pilot case study in México City (Penón neighbourhood), where a traditional community is confronting flooding risk challenges. Using focus groups and semi-structured interviews, the research will implement an interactive dialogue between community members, government institutions, as well as NGOs and other stakeholders, including support agencies, and private businesses. This dialogue will result in the development of risk-mitigating strategies and actions, including smart technologies, which will be tested over the project, in order to evaluate pilot experiences and upscale these into a larger city area. Lessons learnt about risk management in Mexico City have the potential to be easily disseminated across the developing world.

Communities will be empowered through engaging in identifying, developing and testing strategies for risk-monitoring, mitigation and adaptation. The social, economic and political aspects of impacted communities, as well as an understanding the the physical origins of climate change risks, will contribute to developing resilience and prevent the consequences of exposure to hazards. Finally, considering both the macro-scale and the local scale, understanding that change can emerge in collaboration with local communities and policy makers, the project will provide, along with best community practices, opportunities for interaction and negotiation between actors for increasing resilience and reducing vulnerability.

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.

You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.
The closing date is 5pm on 16th August 2019.

Right 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 right to work please visit our right 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

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 pro rata, for 21 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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