Job title: Senior Researcher
Line manager: Head of Institute for Community Studies
About the Institute for Community Studies
The Institute for Community Studies is a new kind of research institute, powered by the Young Foundation, with people and communities at its heart. We believe that involvement of communities leads to better decision making on the issues that most affect them. We engage with communities and experts across the UK to identify and prioritise the top questions that research and policy need to answer based on what matters, directing research towards the most urgent and salient questions and amplifying community perspectives.
We prove and improve policy and practice that affects communities’ lives by understanding what’s working, and through systematic engagement with communities, the sector and experts, share where there are weaknesses and gaps in understanding. Through a unique combination of methods, we are giving increasing weight to the stories, experience and evidence created in communities supported through our growing national network of community researchers. We provoke direct engagement with policy makers, business and those holding the power to change the experience of communities today through working with those who care about taking action.
Purpose of role
The successful candidate will support their manager to deliver research projects that benefit the Institute for Community Studies and Young Foundation. Initially, the focus will be on a major, action research project to understand, map and collaboratively re-design the local and national system that supports young people to take action in their local communities through both informal and formal civic pathways.
However, the role will also include responsibility for the delivery of a balance of projects for the Institute and the wider Young Foundation. Travel may be required for projects.
Duties of the role
- Management of research projects and evidence reviews, ensuring that key outputs are delivered to agreed deadlines and budgets, to the highest standards. This will include taking personal responsibility for key elements of work as well as managing the work of other junior staff and associates. Ensuring processes to monitor outcomes and keep projects on track are employed.
- Working as part of a team of four to deliver a major scale action-research project which involves the active leadership of young people; helping to design and plan successful delivery, analysis and publication.
- Working on wider mixed methods research projects as required, focused on a range of social issues. Using qualitative, participatory and quantitative research methodologies and strong skills in the synthesis of different sources of evidence, case studies and data to create accessibly and compelling research outputs. Writing high quality reports for publication and translating research for communication with a range of audiences in creative ways – from members of community groups to local government and academia. Working proactively with the Communications team to help design events to best share research findings for impact.
- Supporting development of the joint Young Foundation/Institute for Community Studies’ peer research offer through standardisation of materials and processes, to help to sustainably scale our peer research network.
- Assisting the Head of Institute for Community Stufies in managing relationships between the Institute and project partners/funders (including Research Councils consortia, civil society organisations, academic researchers, third sector and independent research centres).
- Contributing to the development of peer research practitioners and junior research staff through training and mentoring, and by supporting cross-organisational initiatives to create a supportive and inclusive working culture.
- Any other duties required by the line manager in line with the grade of the post.
Prior experience - essential
- 2-3 years experience of research project management, including:
- client management, gained in either a commercial, third sector or public sector environment;
- budget management, including monitoring and reporting past performance, forecasting future resource needs and taking appropriate action to mitigate risks.
- Experience with core research methods, including:
- design, fieldwork and analysis of projects at case study, local and larger sample scales;
- principles of survey design and common methods of exploratory data analysis.
- reviewing of literature and evidence, including academic, grey and case study sources
- Strong communication skills, including:
- the ability to share research findings for different audiences, through written material and at public events, to generate shared commitment or understanding.
- the ability to work with non-research specialist stakeholders, from members of local communities through to senior policy makers.
Prior experience – desirable
- Practical experience of community-led research, in particular with young people.
- Experience working as part of a cross-institution team (e.g. between academia, third sector and public sector).
- Completion of a relevant postgraduate qualification or equivalent professional qualification.