Research Associate - Job vacancy
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Thursday, 02 April 2020 13:33
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Reading
Full-time, Contract
£32,000 a year
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Senior Researcher - Gamos

Gamos is a small but influential company working with the social factors surrounding technology use and transfer. A group of professionals who seek to select their clients (Governments and Non Government Agencies) to make the optimum impact. Founded in 1989, Gamos is concerned to use its professional skills for the empowerment of individuals and communities in the poorer sections of society in developing countries. This mainly involves training and research, actively seeking to build capacity in the South.

While Gamos is a profit making private limited liability company, it very much has the ethos of a charity. Our driving concern is to contribute to the improvement of lives in Africa and Asia. Applicants should know that Gamos can be slightly unconventional in its approach, and the main criteria the successful candidate will be assessed against is whether you are flexible and are motivated by a similar ethos to the directors. We considered putting the phrase “someone who gives a crap about the world and people” on this job advert.

Currently our main work is with a programme called Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS). www.mecs.org.uk Candidates should explore that site. Our own Gamos website is a little out of date, and indeed one of the first jobs for the candidate might be to update the website!

Regarding MECS, Gamos’ Managing Director holds the post of UK Research and Innovation Coordinator for the MECS programme. Gamos comprises a small, multidisciplinary team that carries out a wide range of research and communication activities in support of the MECS programme as a whole. The work combines a mix of strategic activities and responsive activities to meet needs and requests arising from partners across the MECS team. The post is to assist with this range of research activities in support of the MECS programme.

About MECS

1.8 billion people have access to electricity but still cook with biomass. Load shedding, weak grids, affordability of electricity, accessibility of liquid petroleum gas (LPG), tradition, perceptions, energy governance, and a lack of suitable cooking appliances all act as barriers to scaling up the use of electricity or gas for cooking – clean cooking. The Modern Energy Cooking Services Programme (MECS), is a £39.8 million, 5-year programme funded by UKAid through the Department for International Development, led by Loughborough University. Gamos conducted the preliminary research behind the MECS programme and is now a partner in the consortium of UK research organisations led by Loughborough University.

We already know that increasing access through renewable energy generation is becoming more affordable and opening new windows of opportunity. New business models and smart monitoring are improving the reliability of LPG distribution, appliances can be made more energy efficient but still cook favourite foods so they taste right, and cooking with electricity is becoming increasingly affordable with issues of reliability and sustainability being overcome. We want to build on these opportunities and the new knowledge emerging from the MECS programme to break out of business-as-usual approaches and rapidly accelerate the transition from biomass to clean cooking on a global scale. The MECS programme is organised into four core workstreams; UK universities and innovators, southern partners, a challenge fund and scale-up. These four workstreams come together to achieve the ultimate ambition of the programme which is to change the narrative on clean cooking.

Gamos holds a wide ranging remit within the programme, providing direction and support to partners. The post-holder will work in collaboration with the MECS research teams. The post holder will be required travel, to work with partners across the UK and overseas.

Job Description

The work combines a mix of strategic activities and responsive activities to meet needs and requests arising from partners across the MECS team. The post is to participate in leading research activities in support of the MECS programme. The post is expected to involve considerable travel to MECS priority countries (up to one third of the time). The applicant must, therefore, be self motivated and able to self lead their own work.

Job Duties

  • Assist partners with capacity building and training in research methods, data handling, and analysis.
  • Undertake scoping studies, desk based research and literature reviews for topics of interest emerging from ongoing work within the programme.
  • Design and implement research activities and appropriate methodologies in collaboration with partners.
  • Provide technical expertise and support all workstreams within the programme as needs arise.
  • To support the project team by enhancing relationships with existing collaborators and by assisting the establishment of relationships with new collaborators.
  • Travel to attend meetings and make presentations both within the project partners working group and to external stakeholders.
  • To write policy briefs for selective audiences and research papers suitable for publication in high quality academic journals.
  • To attend and contribute to conferences.
  • To contribute to project promotion and public engagement events.
  • Contribute ideas for new research and enterprise directions.
  • Assist with writing regular progress reports and presenting outcomes to all Investigators and Collaborators.
  • Maintain confidentiality at all times and ensure that intellectual property (IPR) agreements are not violated.
  • Undertake other duties as may be reasonably requested and that are commensurate with the nature and grade of the post.

Points To Note

The purpose of this job description is to indicate the general level of duties and responsibility of the post. The detailed duties may vary from time to time without changing the general character or level of responsibility entailed.

Special Conditions

All staff have a statutory responsibility to take reasonable care of themselves, others and the environment and to prevent harm by their acts or omissions.

Duties must be carried out in accordance with relevant Equality & Diversity legislation.

Outside of international travel, the work is based in Reading. At the start the candidate will be expected to work full time at the office, although we acknowledge that we will be able to be flexible on hours, (core time 10 until 4 negotiable), and once we have confidence that you are on message and diligent, we could consider flexible working arrangements. This could include being based abroad for limited periods of time.

At the time of writing, we are at the start of the COVID 19 lockdown. We are assuming life gets back to normal – we will take this into account during the recruitment process.

Organisational Responsibility

Reports to the Gamos Managing Director, Simon Batchelor, but may be task managed by Nigel Scott.

Person Specification

Your application will be reviewed with respect to meeting the criteria listed below.

Applicants are strongly advised to explicitly state and evidence how they meet each of the criteria in their application.

Experience of working in multidisciplinary teams essential

Experience of supporting research essential

Background in development studies or related fields would be important (but a case could be made for transfer from another discipline).

Background in energy technology or related field would be important (but a case could be made for transfer from another discipline).

Experience in conducting research and analysing data (Mixed methods) essential

Significant experience of working in international development settings with partners from multiple countries almost essential

Experience of delivering training and/or workshops to a wide range of audiences would be useful but not essential.

Authoring original work for academic journal papers, conference papers or technical reports would be useful but not essential.

Experience of interfacing with government/industry/civil society/communities and developing strong relationships with partners and stakeholders would be useful but not essential.

Experience of cross-disciplinary work and/or multi agency partnership work would be useful but not essential.

Experience of working in the global south would be useful but not essential.

Experience of networking with organizations outside academia would be useful but not essential.

Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research approaches (data collection and analysis) essential

Understanding of the intersection between social and technical facets of the energy sector would be useful but not essential.

Communication skills and ability to work with people from different social backgrounds essential

Excellent written and oral communication skills essential

Self-motivated with ability to meet deadlines essential

Excellent interpersonal and organisational skills essential

Ability to write project reports and make presentations to industrial and academic research groups essential

Ability to manage own workload essential

Ability to work across different locations / environments important

Ability to develop creative ways for presenting research analysis and findings would be useful but not essential.

Qualifications

PhD or Masters in a relevant field

Other

Willingness to travel on behalf of the project including overseas

Conditions of Service

The position is FULL TIME and FIXED TERM for 36 months starting as soon as possible. Salary will be in the region of £32,000 per annum, at a starting salary to be confirmed on offer of appointment.

Applications

The closing date for receipt of applications is 30th April 2020.

Applications can be made by email (put ‘Job advert’ in the Subject) or post. There is no application form and we strongly encourage a general CV with attached letter of interest.

Benefits:

  • Work from home opportunities
  • Flexible working hours
  • On-site parking
  • Sick pay
  • Company pension
  • Casual dress

Reference ID: MECS.RA.Senior

Job Types: Full-time, Part-time, Contract

Salary: £32,000.00 /year

Experience:

  • research: 5 years (Preferred)

Education:

  • Master's (Required)

Last Updated on Friday, 03 April 2020 15:59