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Job id: 078965. Salary: £42,405 - £44,721 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance.

Posted: 21 November 2023. Closing date: 04 January 2024.

Business unit: IoPPN. Department: Addictions.

Contact details: Professor Sir John Strang.

Location: Denmark Hill Campus. Category: Research.

Job description

This is one of several researcher posts which will be or are currently being advertised by the Addictions PRU across King's College London, University of Sheffield and University of Glasgow. You should apply to all posts that interest you as we cannot transfer applications between roles.

We would like to appoint a Post-doctoral Researcher to play a key role within a new Addictions Policy Research Unit (PRU). The Addictions PRU has recently been commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care for England, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, and starts in January 2024 for an initial 5-year period.

The PRU is a collaboration involving 10 UK universities led from the Addictions Department at King’s College London (KCL), the University of Sheffield’s Alcohol Research Group and the University of Glasgow’s Gambling Glasgow Research Centre. Its aim is to inform policymaking relating to alcohol, tobacco and nicotine, other drugs, and gambling. Research conducted within the PRU will draw on a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods, and will incorporate different disciplinary perspectives including public health, epidemiology, psychology, health economics, operational research and psychiatry. The PRU will particularly focus on research that relates to public policy and practice and, especially, research that can play an important role in guiding future policymaking.

We are looking to appoint a Post-doctoral Research focusing on illicit and non-medical use of drugs research. The person appointed will be based in the Addictions Department at King’s College London (KCL) and will report to Professor Sir John Strang (‘drugs’ lead for the PRU), through whom there will be accountability to the PRU’s management team. The appointee will also work with Dr Tom Freeman (deputy PPIE lead, and based at the University of Bath), with specific working responsibilities for individual studies likely influenced by specific areas of expertise (e.g. John Strang with strength on opiates and harm reduction and public policy; Tom Freeman with strength on cannabis and public health and policy). You will be part of a team of pre- and post-doctoral researchers, collaborating with colleagues across the PRU working in various universities, clinical groups and service providers, commissioners and policymakers across the UK.

You will have a good understanding of addictive behaviours, of public policy and practice at national as well as at local level, and of sources of research which can inform and guide the process of formation of public policy. You will also have established research skills relevant to this work, and a mature understanding of how the value of specific research outputs can be assessed and also how they can be valuably influential to the policymaking process. You should be a clear and balanced communicator and committed to the need to bring science to the fore in the considerations which need to be incorporated into key decision-making at the level of local and national policy. The successful appointee will be expected to be reliable and efficient and also to have good inter-personal as well as organisational skills.

This post will be offered on a ​fixed-term​ contract for ​2 years. ​This is a ​full-time​ post - ​100​% full time equivalent, job shares and part-time appointments will also be considered

Key responsibilities

  • To work with Professor Strang and colleagues within the Addictions PRU (and more widely) to develop and conduct specific studies of addictive behaviours (with focus on ‘drugs’ aspects, since other posts will focus on alcohol, tobacco/nicotine and gambling problems) in order to guide better future policymaking 
  • To conduct reviews of key topic areas as identified by the Addictions PRU itself and/or in discussion with key policymakers with whom we will liaise 
  • Take a leading role in the planning and conduct of assigned research individually or jointly in accordance with the Addiction PRU deliverables (initial areas for this position are likely to include anticipated innovations in overdose prevention strategies through wider take-home naloxone provision, and potentially also understanding patterns of cannabis use and their relationship to subsequent behaviours and outcomes)   
  • To assist with research development work where necessary including: questionnaire design, preparing applications for research ethics approval, training of relevant colleagues, ensuring compliance with research governance, recruitment of participants 
  • Document research output including analysis and interpretation of all data, maintaining records and databases, drafting technical/progress reports and papers as appropriate. 
  • To communicate effectively with colleagues involved with specific studies as well as with wider stakeholders and target audiences 
  • Develop and maintain collaborations with colleagues across the Addictions PRU and wider academic and policy community and patient and public involvement representatives 

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.       An undergraduate degree and/or Masters degree in a related area 

2.       A PhD (or evidence of equivalence) in a relevant discipline and/or topic area* 

3.       Understanding of addiction problems as experienced by individuals and communities as well as by policymakers and the general public  

4.       Understanding of research related to alcohol, tobacco or nicotine, other drugs or gambling 

5.       Proven ability to deliver quality outputs in a timely and efficient manner. This should include publication in peer review journals appropriate to your career stage 

6.       Ability to communicate effectively in oral, written and presentation modes to a wide range of audiences, including policymakers and practitioners 

7.       Understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion, and of the distortions that can be associated with stigma and discrimination 

8.       Ability to work flexibly across projects and teams 

Desirable criteria

1.       Experience of conducting research into public policy and/or related to alcohol, tobacco or nicotine, other drugs or gambling  

2.      Experience of research covering quantitative, qualitative and systematic review methods  

3.      Experience of working in multidisciplinary teams and collaborating with researchers at other institutions. 

4.      Willingness to work in, or away from, the office as needed 

5.      Willingness and ability to travel to different areas of the UK for face-to-face meetings when needed 

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 

This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.