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Job id: 067285. Salary: £41,386 - £48,414 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance.

Posted: 15 May 2023. Closing date: 18 June 2023.

Business unit: Social Science & Public Policy. Department: Department of War Studies.

Contact details: Dr Rebekka Friedman.

Location: Strand Campus. Category: Research.

Job description

The Department of War Studies at King’s College London is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to assist on a research project within the UK Research and Innovation  GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub, ‘Legacies of the Disappeared’. This is a three-year research project run by Dr Rebekka Friedman. It examines the varied effects of disappearances and more broadly the targeting of family during state oppression and systematic violence. It focusses on the gendered dimensions of disappearances and their effects on communities. The project seeks to expand understandings of harm in transitional justice. The project is focussed on affected areas in Sri Lanka (and the Tamil community in the UK). It also puts the targeting of family in historical context by examining past injustices.

The post-holder will help to conduct interdisciplinary desk research on relational harm, help work on a major workshop and journal special issue on forced separation, help conduct research on the Sri Lankan diaspora in the UK and help put together a large collaborative grant application to be submitted in the spring of 2024. The post holder will also help enhance the project’s social impact and knowledge transfer.

The successful candidate is expected to have research expertise in Politics or International Relations or a closely related discipline. The candidate should have experience in conducting research on gender, justice and security. He or she will have carried out field research with vulnerable populations in conflict-affected countries and be up to date on debates and approaches rooted in gender studies and feminist research.

The Department of War Studies is part of the School of Security Studies and the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy. Together we support a culture of diversity and inclusion for our staff and students. We encourage further growth in diversity and we welcome applicants of all abilities, whom we are able to support with our flexible and varied working practices.

This post will be offered on a full-time, fixed term contract from 1 September 2023 - 12 February 2024.

Key responsibilities

  • Conducting desk research to put together a literature review and research framework on forced separation, disappearances, atrocity studies and gender.
  • Help plan and run a major workshop on forced separation at King’s College London including communicating with attendees and organising their stay, helping book the venue and catering and writing up minutes from the day
  • Help in preparing a special issue on the harm of separation and co-editing contributions in the volume to prepare for publication
  • Help carry out field research on the Sri Lankan diaspora in London (TBD)
  • Helping to prepare guiding questions for interviews and questionnaires.
  • Attending and contributing to relevant project meetings (TBD)
  • Help in maintaining a high degree of ethical standards and sensitivity appropriate for research on sensitive issues and with vulnerable populations
  • Working independently and within a team
  • Working with the Hub’s Impact Manager to maximise the project’s social impact and local capacity building in the countries under investigation (Sri Lanka)
  • Helping to manage the project’s social and media outreach
  • Liaising with partner organizations and institutions within the wider Gender, Justice and Security Hub to strengthen the project’s networks and partnerships

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

1.       PhD awarded in Politics or International Relations or a closely aligned discipline (or is near completion showing evidence of intention to submit within three months)

2.       Expertise in gender studies and feminist research

3.       Broad knowledge of research at the intersections of gender, justice and security, with a specialisation of one or more of these areas

4.       Experience in qualitative research methods, including field research techniques, e.g. interviewing and focus groups

5.       Sensitivity to ethical concerns and vulnerable populations including conflict-affected communities and refugees

6.       High level investigative abilities and library and archival research skills

7.       High competence in academic writing and a promising publication record appropriate to career level

8.       Experience interacting with a wide variety of academic and non-academic stakeholders and a track record in research dissemination

9.       Ability to work independently and as part of a team

10.     Enthusiasm for stakeholder engagement and strong motivation to contribute to knowledge through high impact academic research

Desirable criteria

1.       Experience in applying for funding applications

2.       Website management

3.       Knowledge and experience of other research methods, for instance quantitative and arts-based research methods

Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.

Further information

Candidates should send a CV and a personal statement. The personal statement should detail their reasons for applying for this position, their experience and their qualifications as per the job specifications. Candidates should provide two references. Any questions about the position should be directed to

The UK Research and Innovation  GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub is a multi-country, multi-stakeholder initiative funded for 5 years to deliver innovative interdisciplinary research on the challenge of achieving gender justice and inclusive security in conflict-affected societies. The Hub addresses the overlapping of three major policy areas: Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on gender equality; SDG 16 on peace, inclusivity and justice; and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The Hub will develop an evidence base on the intersections of gender, justice and security; expand research capacity in collaboration with international partners; and make use of unrivalled links with leading ambassadors for gender justice (Hub Champions) to translate research into impact for the achievement of sustainable peace.

The work of the Hub is guided by a feminist research ethic and the Hub leadership team is committed to mentoring and capacity-sharing as part of the ongoing research practice. This role therefore represents a valuable opportunity to develop both networks and skills in the field of gender, justice and security research under the guidance of some of the leading scholars in these fields. The position will sit within King’s College London in the Department of War Studies. The Department of War Studies is one of the only academic departments in the world to focus solely on the complexity of conflict and security.

More information about the GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub:

About the Department of War Studies: