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Research Associate

Requisition ID:  24903

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  10-Jan-2023

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.


What’s in it for you? Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.


Newcastle is an inclusive global University community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues 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.


Salary: £32,348 to £34,308 per annum


Closing Date: 12 February 2023


The Role

Are you experienced in working with digital data in social science research? Interested in who is using these data, how, why, and—especially—what barriers these researchers currently face? Are you a team player with the ability to engage with diverse groups of stakeholders to collect and distill input, with the aim of contributing expert advice on research investments?


Digital Footprints Data—including social media and internet derived data, geospatial data, sensor and image data, and transactional and commercial data—are poised to revolutionise social science research. To reach the potential these data offer for meeting societal challenges and contributing to impactful and innovative social science research, a number of challenges must be met. We seek a dynamic and engaged post-doctoral research associate to work as part of a Strategic Advice Team to provide the ESRC with input to help shape their Digital Footprints Data programme.


This is an excellent opportunity for an early-career researcher to gain expertise in “the science of science” where social science research and Digital Footprints Data are concerned. The Research Associate will work closely with Team members from Newcastle University, the University of Liverpool, and the Alan Turing Institute, as well as with the ESRC, to develop outreach activities, questionnaires and workshops and to communicate findings in written reports, meetings, and presentations. The post is for 24 months, with 20 months allocated to the ESRC Digital Footprints Strategic Advice Team project and 4 months for developing individual and collaborative research expertise in this area.


The Research Associate will join Newcastle University’s Data Centre of Research Excellence (NUCoRE) and will be part of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology. This is a unique opportunity for a social sciences-oriented scholar to work with world-class researchers in data science, as well as urban and regional development and policy.


If you would like to have an informal conversation about this role or the Digital Footprints Data Strategic Advice Team, please contact Prof Rachel Franklin (


In order to apply please provide evidence of how you meet the essential criteria required for the role outlined in ‘The Person’ by uploading a letter of application along with your Curriculum Vitae (CV).


Key Accountabilities

  • Identify and engage with key stakeholders in the Digital Footprints Data (DFD)ecosystem and develop and conduct interviews and questionnaires to elicit information about needs, preferences, and existing barriers where DFD are concerned
  • Participate in meetings and workshops to share findings, collect input, and engage with the DFD community
  • Act as an ESRC DFD “champion” to help highlight opportunities and build a UK and international network of data users, providers, and infrastructure developers
  • In collaboration with the Team, develop “data dive” activities to showcase DFD potential engage with existing investments
  • Draft reports to the ESRC and present findings from questionnaires, workshops, and interviews


The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Substantive research experience in one or more of the following areas: geography, economics, sociology, politics, or another social science domain
  • Demonstrable understanding of the Digital Footprints Data landscape, either through analytical expertise or critical engagement with issues related to the use of DFD
  • Quantitative analytical experience, especially with DFD, and expertise in appropriate tools (e.g., R, python, Stata)
  • Qualitative analysis skills and experience, including semi-structured interviews, questionnaire design and administration using appropriate tools (e.g., Nvivo, Atlas/ti, or QDA Miner)
  • High level of analytical and problem-solving capacity
  • Understanding of the UK research council funding landscape


Attributes and Behaviour

  • Willingness to take initiative and self-start
  • Detail-oriented, especially with regard to data management and writing
  • Willingness to work as part of an interdisciplinary team, which includes both quantitative and non-quantitative researchers
  • A willingness to network and community build, in person, virtually and via social media
  • Excellent communication and organization skills



  • PhD (or equivalent) in a social science or related discipline

The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University is also a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 24903