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Research Associate

Requisition ID:  4743

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Posted Date: 


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: £30,942.00 - £44,045.00 

Closing Date: 10 June 2020



The Role


Applications are invited from a highly motivated Research Associate with experience in running research studies in language sciences or health contexts.


You will be based in Speech and Language Sciences in the school of Education Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University. You will work on the GCRF-ESRC funded project “Language development in Arabic-speaking children in the early years: tackling the roots of academic and social inequalities” which is led by Dr Ghada Khattab at Newcastle, Plymouth and at international institutions in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and the West Bank.


The large-scale project has three work packages: 1) Standardising and extending the CDI (Communicative Development Inventory) across Arabic dialects in the Levant and the Mena region; 2) With a focus on Lebanon, exploring contextual factors that influence early language development such as multingualism, childcare, social disadvantage and warfare; 3) Co-designing a multi-professional approach to supporting early language, including collaborating with professionals from speech and language therapy, psychology, early childhood education and paediactrics as well as government and non-government organisation supporting refugees and disadvantaged communities. 


Your role will be to oversee aspects of the project acting as study coordinator together with a Plymouth-based RA, to manage the work of fieldworkers in all of our international contexts who will be recruiting families from various childcare settings, and collecting date. With the support of the study team you will carry out data analysis and develop materials to raise awareness of language delays, promote the Arabic CDI, and inform decision related to Early Years provision in Lebanon. You will also contribute to writing for publication, presentation of results at meetings and engagement activities with nursery schools, policy makers and government and charitable organisations.

The post offers an excellent opportunity to further your experience in an active research environment. You will join a team of researchers in Speech and Language Sciences currently conducting studies in the field of child language funded by the ESRC, Nuffield Foundation, Public Health England, Horizon2020 and NIHR.

You will be self-motivated, have outstanding organisation communication and writing skills, and a demonstrated commitment to a research career.

This is a full time, fixed term post, available for 42 months.  Start date: August 2020 or soon after.

Further information can be obtained by contacting Dr Ghada Khattab (via email

Information about Speech and Language Sciences is available at www.ncl.ac.uk/ecls/about/sls/and about the school of Education Communication and Language Sciences at https://www.ncl.ac.uk/ecls/


Key Accountabilities

  • Organising data collection and dissemination in three Levantine countries
  • Ensuring that personal knowledge in relevant fields of study is kept up to date
  • Training and supervising International fieldworkers in their collection of the Arabic CDI (Communicative Development Inventory) phases I, II and III in the Middle East.
  • Analysing and disseminating results from the CDI.
  • Supporting and engaging in research methodologies that add to the knowledge/understanding of the area of language development
  • Supporting the investigators in training and supervising international RAs. This involves training the RAs in organising inter-professional collaboration, carrying out public health and social media campaigns, and running workshops geared towards different audiences including parents and Early Years professionals (nursery teachers and managers, speech and language therapists, paediatricians).
  • Conducting research-related administration e.g. risk assessment, organisation of meetings and documentation, and ensuring accurate and timely formal reporting and financial control.
  • Providing expert advice in own subject area to other team members.
  • Training/supervising and providing pastoral care to research students on projects, field trips and placements
  • Liaising with NGOs supporting refugees in Lebanon.
  • Engaging with relevant professional bodies, external organisations and other users of academic facilities.
  • Advising on co-designing user-friendly digital health and education tools.
  • Developing and sustaining links with relevant organisations to grow collaborations, employability and funding support.
  • Undertaking relevant training and development activities to develop capacity for taking on wider responsibilities.
  • Supporting team members as well as occasionally taking the lead in preparing high quality publication materials for referred journals, presenting results at conferences (including national and international), or exhibiting work at other appropriate events
  • Identifying, and contributing to securing, future funding sources.


The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Knowledge of the development and testing of language assessment tools in Arabic, and deep understanding of the Middle-East context in terms of educational and developmental outcomes of young children
  • Ability to carry out literature searches and surveys
  • Experience in the acquisition of research data from children
  • Data analysis skills, including the use of quantitative methodology and statistical techniques
  • Experience in the interpretation of research data and results
  • Has plans to develop impact within this area of research
  • Track record of contributing to and/or developing collaborative research networks
  • Track record of presenting research findings at meetings and conferences
  • Developing track record of successful engagement with key research stakeholders, both internally and externally



Attributes and Behaviours

Drives innovation and action:

  • Use initiative and creativity to analyse and interpret research data and draw conclusions on the outcomes
  • Ability to contribute to and develop innovative research proposals and attract research income
  • Intellectual agility for the solving of problems

Demonstrates the ability to balance personal needs with the University’s strategic objectives:

  • Self-awareness with the ability to accept different views and self-regulate approach appropriately
  • Work to deadlines and manage, with support, competing priorities
  • Skilled approach to planning, managing, organising and objectively assessing own research contributions

Ability to operate amidst change and ambiguity:

  • Ability to take a long-term holistic view and remain focussed during times of change and uncertainty
  • Ability to remain resilient, flexible and work with conflicting priorities

Builds and secures value from relationships:

  • Working effectively and collegiately as a part of an interdisciplinary team
  • Fostering and developing good relationships between own School and the wider University, and with external partners

Creates and contributes to a shared vision, inspiring others:

  • Strong written, verbal and presentation skills
  • Ability to communicate new and complex information effectively, both verbal and written, engaging the interest and enthusiasm of the target audience

Uses sound business judgement:

  • Contribute to the monitoring of resources and budgets where appropriate.
  • Make evidence informed decisions in a transparent way whilst remaining accountable to self, the University and students



  • PhD in relevant discipline (e.g. Linguistics, Speech and Language Therapy, or Health Sciences)
  • Good level of analytical skills and the ability to communicate complex information clearly, both orally and through the written word







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.


Requisition ID: 4743