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Job id: 092466. Salary: £37,332 - £38,966 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance.

Posted: 11 July 2024. Closing date: 25 July 2024.

Business unit: IoPPN. Department: Psychology.

Contact details: Dr Thomas Ward. Thomas.ward@kcl.ac.uk

Location: Denmark Hill Campus. Category: Research.

About us

This is an exciting opportunity for research assistant to join an exciting and innovative digital health project based at the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London (IoPPN-KCL). 

The IoPPN is a Faculty of King's College London and the largest academic community in Europe devoted to the study and prevention of mental illness and brain disease.  The IoPPN's greatest strength is the interdisciplinary nature of both its research strategy and educational activities, providing unique opportunities for students and staff. Link to IoPPN webpage: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn/index.aspx

Since the Department of Psychology was founded in 1950, it has carried on a distinguished programme of research, teaching, and clinical practice, with a long-standing link with South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). In 2004, the psychology sections of Guy’s, King’s & St Thomas’ School of Medicine merged with the Department, creating one of the world’s largest groupings of clinical and health psychologists.

Staff in the Psychology Department have a wide range of research interests, including anxiety disorders, autism, psychosis, disorders in childhood and adolescence, early intervention, physical health problems, neuropsychology, health inequalities, LGBTQ+ mental health and virtual reality approaches. For further information please see link to Department of Psychology webpage:

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/mental-health-and-psychological-sciences/about/departments/psychology

About the role

The successful candidate will work as part of the next stages of work in AVATAR therapy, a blended digital intervention for distressing voices in psychosis.  Having tested efficacy in rigorous randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and with replication emerging from independent research groups, our focus is on national and international implementation of AVATAR therapy. In UK-based work this project will test automation of avatar dialogues using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered conversational agents (“AVATAR-AI”). This represents a world first, and, in our view, the key to wider implementation. By demonstrating that we can train a widely available UK workforce to support AVATAR-AI, we will deliver a step-change in UK-based implementation of AVATAR therapy. In parallel international work, we will also test for the first time the acceptability and feasibility of AVATAR therapy delivered across two diverse Low- and Middle-Income countries. Implementation Hubs will be set up to build capacity for sustainable scalability of AVATAR therapy across Ethiopia and India, providing a template for global roll-out. To ensure responsible implementation and innovation, we will collaborate with medical humanities experts, to anticipate and mitigate ethical and societal issues. In addition to establishing AVATAR therapy as an effective, widely available intervention for psychosis, our future vision is to leverage the pioneering AI tools we create, for application to other mental health problems (e.g., depression and anxiety).

This is a full-time post (35 Hours per week), and you will be offered an  a fixed term contract for 24 months.

About you

To be successful in this role, we are looking for candidates to have the following skills and experience

Essential criteria

1.      First degree in Psychology

2.       An understanding of working with difference and diversity in a mental health context

3.       Interest in digital therapies and global mental health

4.       Excellent organizational and project management skills

5.       Excellent IT, data management and analysis skills

6.       Evidence of interpersonal / team working and communication skills

7.       Innovative Thinking: The ability to think creatively to tackle research challenges and contribute new perspectives to ongoing projects.

8.       Understanding of research integrity including confidentiality in management of participant data, awareness of ethics & data protection systems.

Desirable criteria

1.       Experience of Patient and Public Involvement in Research.

2.       Understanding of the importance of stakeholder involvement in co-design, including people with lived experience of psychosis.

3.       Familiarity and interest in AI technologies e.g. awareness of large language models (LLMs), speech recognition, and natural language understanding (NLU) technologies.

4.       Technical literacy- the ability to grasp technical discussions and contribute insights from a research perspective.

5.       Experience of conducting research within a clinical population

Downloading a copy of our Job Description

Full details of the role and the skills, knowledge and experience required can be found in the Job Description document, provided at the bottom of the next page after you click “Apply Now”. This document will provide information of what criteria will be assessed at each stage of the recruitment process.

Further information

We pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming. We embrace diversity and want everyone to feel that they belong and are connected to others in our community.

We are committed to working with our staff and unions on these and other issues, to continue to support our people and to develop a diverse and inclusive culture at King's. We ask all candidates to submit a copy of their CV, and a supporting statement, detailing how they meet the essential criteria listed in the advert. If we receive a strong field of candidates, we may use the desirable criteria to choose our final shortlist, so please include your evidence against these where possible.

To find out how our managers will review your application, please take a look at our ‘How we Recruit’ pages.

We are able to offer sponsorship for candidates who do not currently possess the right to work in the UK. Please note this is dependent on the salary offered which is based on your experience and will be discussed at the offer stage.

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