23-17 - Qualitative Social Research Assistant

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Posted: 30/06/2017 09:27
Start Date: Not Available
Salary: Circa £24,500
Location: Aberdeen
Level: Hutton C
Deadline: 28/07/2017 23:59
Hours: 37
Benefits: Competitive
Job Type: Fixed term - 12 months

We are seeking a highly-motivated individual to support ongoing research on environmental governance.  This post is a one-year maternity cover appointment within the Social, Economic and Geographic Science Group (SEGS).   

The post supports data collection and analysis within three ongoing projects that address the challenges of considering and connecting multiple issues, perspectives and goals, so as to enable more equitable and sustainable natural resource management.  The successful candidate will participate in inter- and transdisciplinary teams both within and beyond the James Hutton Institute in order to support all aspects of the research cycle. The candidate must have expertise in qualitative research, particularly in relation to implementing and analysing semi-structured interviews. Evidence of strong communication and team-working skills is essential. Candidates must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline.  Expertise with content or policy analysis, nexus concepts, holistic natural resource management, and/or transdisciplinary approaches would be of benefit.

More information on the detail of the post and the post holder can be found below in the job description.

Main Purpose of Job

The focus of the post is to design and undertake primary data collection and analysis within ongoing European and Scottish Government funded projects on the challenges of considering multiple issues and integrating multiple policy goals to support more equitable and sustainable natural resource management.

The post will support all aspects of the research cycle – refining programmes of research, the collection, analysis and presentation of primary and secondary data through peer reviewed publications and other knowledge exchange channels.

Main duties of post holder

The post will be mostly dedicated to three ongoing projects:

  • Horizon2020-funded project called MAGIC (Moving Towards Adaptive Governance in Complexity: Informing Nexus Security) (32%),
  • Scottish Government-funded project ‘RESAS 1.2.4 Exploring International Experiences in Integration of Goals for Water Management’ (32%) and
  • ‘RESAS 1.4.2 Analysing how policy instruments shape soil, water and biodiversity’ (26%).

The main duties of the postholder include:

  • Collaboration with other staff in refining, implementing and reporting the research
  • Undertaking data collection and analysis of themes and narratives expressed by European policy documents and stakeholders to contribute to quantitative story telling
  • Interaction and collaboration with modellers and policy makers, including by online fora
  • Conducting semi-structured interviews and focus groups, and content analysis of documents
  • Analysis of empirical qualitative data
  • Contribution to reporting and outputs



  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline
  • Strong understanding of the principles of qualitative social science
  • Awareness of theories and/or approaches relevant to the projects covered by the post e.g. environmental governance, policy analysis; institutional analysis, the water-energy-food nexus, holistic natural resource management
  • Experience of conducting and analysing semi-structured interviews
  • Ability to support academic written outputs
  • Experience of team-working
  • Ability to deliver to multiple ongoing projects simultaneously
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Fit with the overall ethos of the institute


  • Master’s degree or higher in a relevant discipline
  • Familiarity with Scottish and European legislation on policies relating to the environment and agriculture
  • Designing and undertaking research with limited supervision
  • Experience of secondary data analysis, content or policy analysis
  • Ability to support authorship of peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Experience of interdisciplinary research with social, economic, natural scientists and/or stakeholders
  • Ability to communicate with non-academic audiences using a mix of oral and written outputs

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