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Research Assistant/Associate - Commons Technologies

Requisition ID:  5410

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  16-Nov-2020


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Salary: Research Assistant: £28,331 - £30,046 per annum

            Research Associate: £30,942 - £40,322 per annum


Closing Date: 7 December 2020

The Role


This is an excellent opportunity to join leading academics at Newcastle University, School of Computing and join the internationally leading Open Lab on the H2020 project on Generative European Commons Living Lab (GE.Co Living Lab).  The ‘GE.Co Living Lab’ project (please see link below) consists of a consortium of universities, non-profit and for-profit organizations aiming at bringing together generative commons using a digital platform. This platform will be used to map formal groups and informal communities of citizens who manage fab-labs, incubators, co-creation spaces, and social centres created in regenerated urban voids. These innovative practices are considered generative commons because they are based on sharing and collaboration between citizens and establish a new partnership between public institutions and local communities, setting forth new models of urban governance based on solidarity, inclusion, participation, economic and environmental sustainability.


You will conduct and support wider research in collaboration with closely related projects, working collaboratively with local and international stakeholders as part of an interdisciplinary team. Your focus will be on community technologies, digital and urban commons, social innovation, and issues of social justice in technology design and implementation.  You should be educated to at least MSc (or equivalent degree qualification) in human computer interaction or a closely related discipline. (PhD award essential for for Research Associate). You should have a demonstrable record of accomplishment of community-based and design-led research into digital technologies.


This position is available immediately on a full time, fixed term basis for an initial 10 months from contract start date  


All informal enquiries welcome to: Dr Vasilis Vlachokyriakos (Vasilis.Vlachokyriakos1@ncl.ac.uk). Dr Clara Crivellaro (clara.crivellaro@ncl.ac.uk)


For more information about Open Lab, please click the following link: http://openlab.ncl.ac.uk

For more information about the project ‘Generative European Commons Living Lab’ please click the following link: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/218764/factsheet/en

For more information about the School of Computing and our research, please click the following link: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/computing


Key Accountabilities


  1. Work under the supervision of Dr Vasilis Vlachokyriakos and Dr Clara Crivellaro for the EU H2020 project on Generative European Commons Living Lab to conduct research in collaboration with democracy and social justice research theme of the EPSRC Digital Economy Research Centre; with a particular emphasis on community technologies, digital and urban commons, social innovation, and issues of social justice in technology design and implementation
  2. Contribute to the design, development, and evaluation of social and technical processes to interface existing open source technologies (e.g. Loomio, NextCloud, WikiMedia etc.) with generative commons and municipalities and to favour networking activities and the exchange of good practices
  3. Contribute to the day-to-day supervision of undergraduate and masters student in the School of Computing, and postgraduate research students undertaking projects related to the EU H2020 “Generative European Commons Living Lab” and the democracy and social justice research theme of the EPSRC Digital Economy Research Centre
  4. Dissemination of digital commons, community technologies and social justice research at leading academic and practitioner publication venues
  5. Contribute to the design of digital technologies for accessible and affordable communication; organising events; collaboratively undertaking mundane operations; encouraging the identification of community issues
  6. Contribute to the coordination of the H2020 consortium, a network of academic, public, third sector, commercial and community collaborators
  7. Contribute to the organisation and delivery of research, engagement and recruitment events run by Open Lab (http://openlab.ncl.ac.uk) and the School of Computing Science (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/computing)



The Person  

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Track record of design, deployment and evaluation cycles of digital technologies
  • Τrack record of undertaking participatory research
  • Good understanding of higher education ethical approvals in research procedures including, but not limited to, research involving human participants in a non-clinical setting, including questionnaire/survey, experiments, observational studies
  • Strong qualitative evaluation skills
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to present detailed or technical information and the ability to work with others to understand technical and user requirements
  • Basic knowledge of scripting languages (e.g. Python, JavaScript etc.) (Desirable)
  • Evidence of originality, innovation, creativity and research track record including publications in high-calibre journals (Desirable)
  • Experience of teaching and demonstrating to undergraduate and PGR students (Desirable)


Attributes and Behaviour


  • Ability to work on own initiative with demonstrable problem solving skills
  • Ability to prioritise, plan and execute tasks within a clear and structured workplan
  • Ability to complete tasks independently and flexibly at the discretion of the Principle Investigator  
  • Ability to work as a member of a dedicated research group, in a collaborative manner with team colleagues at all levels
  • Experience of working in a diverse, multidisciplinary team
  • Committed to embedding the values of equality and diversity in all aspects of your work
  • Availability for international travel, at the discretion of the Principle Investigator,  predominately within the European Union/EEA (up to approximately 10 weeks/year)
  • Demonstrated interpersonal skills with the general public and/or external stakeholders, with the ability to interact and collaborate with people from different disciplines 




  • PhD (awarded or close to submission) in HCI, Design, or a closely related discipline. (Essential for Research Associate)
  • MSc (or equivalent) in Human-Computer Interaction, design, or closely related discipline (Essential for Research Assistant / Desirable for Research Associate)


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.



The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Please be advised that due to the minimum salary thresholds imposed by the UKVI, this post may not qualify for University sponsorship under Tier 2 of the points based system.


Requisition ID: 5410