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Research Associate

Requisition ID:  5248

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date: 


Newcastle University is a world-class UK University, advancing knowledge, providing creative solutions and solving global problems. Newcastle University in Singapore has been providing top-quality degrees in Singapore for over a decade and have graduated more than 1,000 students. We deliver jointly awarded undergraduate Newcastle University degrees with Singapore Institute of Technology in chemical engineering, electrical power engineering, marine engineering, offshore engineering and naval architecture, and mechanical design and manufacturing engineering. At Newcastle Research and Innovation Institute, we provide postgraduate education and training with MScs in Electrical Power Engineering, Energy and Sustainability, Marine Technology and Process Safety and Risk Management as well as research degrees (PhD, MPhil). Attracting and retaining staff of the highest calibre is our priority.


Salary: £30,942 - £40,322 per annum 

Closing Date: 1 November 2020


The Role


40000 people are diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer (CRC) in the UK each year and 16000 people die from the disease (44 every day). Rates for CRC vary substantially across England and are high in the North East. NE men have the highest CRC incidence rates in England with women also in the upper half of incidence rates. Survival rates for men and women in the NE are amongst the lowest in the country and the survival in the UK is lower than in many other European countries. CRC is usually diagnosed through patients with symptoms (e.g. rectal bleeding, altered bowel habit, low blood count) or through screening programmes. Some present as emergency admissions. Most patients are diagnosed by colonoscopy (a form of endoscopy) though some through scans. CRC develops over a long period of time – usually from pre-cancerous polyps. Removing those polyps can prevent cancer. Most CRC cases and CRC deaths are preventable.


COLO-SPEED (Colorectal Cancer Screening Prevention Endoscopy and Early Diagnosis)

Aims to establish a world leading hub for colorectal cancer (CRC) research starting in the North East of England but expanding more widely. COLO-SPEED will recruit large numbers of patients from regional endoscopy units (the place where polyps and cancer are diagnosed). This will provide a research ready “resource” to enable a wide range of CRC research studies to be conducted at scale and speed. This world-leading hub will deliver a step change in CRC screening, prevention and early diagnosis (SPED) research, improving outcomes for patients and the wider population of the NE. COLO-SPEED will harness the enthusiasm of local endoscopy teams and build a long-term sustainable research infrastructure. It will use the patient contact point of endoscopy to develop a population-based “experimental platform”, comprising individuals attending for screening, symptomatic and polyp/cancer surveillance endoscopy. This will recruit patients into a wide range of CRC studies across the disease continuum, creating a unique, world-leading, resource for CRC Screening Prevention and Early Diagnosis (SPED) research, delivering benefits to patients, the wider population and society of the NE.  Patients attending collaborating endoscopy units will be invited to provide personal details, core data and consent for future contact regarding relevant research studies (with biological samples collected for a proportion); or enter an active trial or other research study at that point. Digital health applications will be used to enhance recruitment, data collection, data linkage, feedback of results and assist in the delivery of ongoing public, patient and stakeholder involvement and engagement. This patient experimental platform will be adaptive to new research questions, using diverse methodologies and flexible study designs. The platform will aim to recruit 2000 patients per year initially rising to 5000 patients per year by the end of the 5 years of funding.


The COLO-SPEED research associate will work with Professors Colin Rees & Linda Sharp and  have responsibility for the development, implementation and co-ordination of COLO-SPEED NE. You will: work closely with the team on the day-to-day running of the programme; establish the governance oversight; manage budgets; ensure ethical, HRA and R&D approvals are in place; manage the programme to ensure deliverables are delivered within timelines; and have responsibility for co-ordinating PPI and dissemination activities. You will be expected to will link closely to R & D departments, the University and clinical PIs and research managers in each regional trust.  You will also work with COLO-SPEED affiliated researchers and clinicians to progress and deliver a range of different research projects. Responsibilities will include being involved in developing funding bids, reviewing literature, assisting with or overseeing data collection and analysis and writing papers for publication. You will also be supported to develop their own research interests in endoscopy/colorectal cancer.


This full-time post is available to start in Autumn/early Winter 2020, for a duration of 4 years.


Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Professor Colin Rees (colin.rees@ncl.ac.uk) or Professor Linda Sharp (linda.sharp@ncl.ac.uk) or for an informal discussion.


The Population Health Sciences Institute is committed to supporting equality and diversity for all staff and students. Applications for part time/flexible working will be considered; please state your desired working arrangements in your application.


Key Accountabilities

  1. Co-ordinate the delivery of the COLO-SPEED programme on a day-to-day basis
  2. Working closely with other programme staff, oversee and co-ordinate research activity, including contributing to fieldwork as and when required (e.g. patient recruitment, data collection)
  3. Prepare ethical applications and associated documentation
  4. Liaise with clinical sites over set-up and R&D approvals (alongside lead nurse)
  5. Assist the co-principal investigators in (i) monitoring progress of the programme against objectives and targets; (ii) financial monitoring; and (iii) preparing funder and other reports
  6. Develop and lead own research within the COLO-SPEED programme
  7. Support the digital team overseeing the website to ensure it remains up to date
  8. Assist with co-ordination of stakeholder engagement across the programme
  9. Enagage in, and support, PPI activities throughout the programme
  10. Present scientific work at internal and external meetings and conferences
  11. Contribute to drafting scientific papers
  12. Assist with, or lead in, writing related funding applications
  13. Participate in activities of the Population Health Research Institute, the applied cancer research theme and the Newcastle University Centre for Cancer
  14. Contribute to the supervision of undergraduate and post-graduate projects/dissertations
  15. Other reasonable duties as required



The Person

Knowledge, Skills and Experience      

  • At least 3 years post-doctoral health research experience  
  • Experience of co-ordinating multi-disciplinary or multi-centre teams or health-related research studies        
  • Proven organisational skills         
  • Strong administrative skills          
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills
  • Experience of setting-up clinical sites and obtaining R&D and NHS ethical approvals         
  • Experience of recruiting research participants       
  • Track record of presenting at conferences and published papers (appropriate for career stage)       
  • Experience of working with healthcare professionals to support recruitment to research studies      
  • Experience of setting up and delivering randomised controlled trials (Desirable)      
  • Experience of qualitative data collection and analysis (Desirable)    
  • Experience of quantitative data collection and/or statistical analysis (Desirable)          
  • Knowledge or experience of cancer prevention or endoscopy research (Desirable)     
  • Experience of involvement in PPI activities and/or stakeholder engagement (Desirable)          
  • Experience of setting-up or maintaining a project website (Desirable)
  • Good working knowledge of GDPR & GCP (Desirable)         
  • Experience of writing grant applications (Desirable) 



  • Ability to take initiative and be pro-active as well as working flexibly as a collaborative team member           
  • Ability and willingness to work flexibly
  • Ability to manage competing demands and effectively prioritise and deliver key tasks         
  • Ability to manage multiple studies and prioritise    
  • Ability and willingness to travel locally and within UK (e.g. for site set-up, fieldwork, programme meetings)   
  • Availability to start work in Autumn 2020   



  • PhD in health sciences, epidemiology, public health, psychology, social sciences or a related field





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 community they represent. We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, 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.