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Mid-Level Postdoctoral Social Scientist

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Mid-Level Postdoctoral Social Scientist
Location: 
Kilifi
Country: 
Kenya

Position summary: An experienced mid-level post-doctoral social scientist with responsibility to develop and conduct research with a broad focus on ethics-related issues in the context of international health research in low-and-middle income country settings.

In the first instance, the post holder’s research will address social and ethical implications of research using Controlled Human Infection Models (CHIM) in Kenya, through an exploration of stakeholder perspectives and the socioeconomic and political context. CHIM research is an approach in which volunteers are exposed in a controlled way to disease pathogens or vaccines in development to study infection, immune responses or vaccine efficacy. These studies have the potential to fast track the development of new drugs and vaccines of high public health significance but present important potential social and ethical challenges that have been under-explored in low-and-middle income settings. There will be an opportunity for international collaborative and policy-related work on CHIM studies with sites in Africa and South East Asia, including through the Global Health Bioethics Network.

The post holder will contribute to social science and health systems strategic planning, implementation and teaching at KWTRP. Teaching will include PhD supervision, training of post-graduate and masters’ level research assistants, and organising and running short courses locally and externally. The post holder will contribute to strategic science and ethics support at KWTRP through proposal review and departmental management responsibilities.

REPORTING LINES:

The post reports jointly to the Chair of Health Systems and Research Ethics Department and the social science advisor on CHIM malaria research, at KWTRP.

BUDGET RESPONSIBILITY:

The post holder will be responsible for managing funds allocated to CHIM research at KWTRP.

JOB DIMENSIONS:

This post will be based at the KWTRP in Kilifi, Kenya. It will include an affiliation to the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, at Oxford University in the UK. There will be an opportunity to spend up to two months per year in Oxford. While this contract is offered for two years, there is strong potential for the post holder to extend and expand the programme of work going forwards.

KEY RESEARCH DUTIES

1. Contribute to strategic development and lead the implementation of high quality social science research on the social and ethical implications of research using Controlled Human Infection Models (CHIM) in low-and-middle income country settings
• Working closely with the Health Systems and Research Ethics department chair and senior social scientists in the department, contribute to strategic development and lead implementation of research proposals and plans for social science elements of multi-disciplinary CHIM studies, beginning with work linked to a malaria infection and vaccine development being conducted in Kilifi, on the Kenyan coast. This work will involve building and managing a small research team with the HSRE department.
• Contribute to the development and implementation of social science elements of funding proposals for related studies in other countries in Africa and South East Asia, including for different CHIM models.
• Take a lead on dissemination of research findings through presentations and (inter)national meetings, and through a strong set of outputs in high profile peer reviewed publications, book chapters, and policy reports and briefs.

2. Contribute to training in the Health Systems Research Ethics department, wider KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Programme and (inter)nationally
• Contribute to capacity building activities in social science/empirical ethics research within the research programme and linked to our international networks and collaborations
• Mentor PhD students, and mentor and supervise post-graduate and masters level research assistants in the department and in other departments and institutions
• Contribute to securing grants that build strategic collaborations for the department, and that ensure members of the group benefit through training, supervision, networking, and experience
• Support with the organisation of (inter)national meetings that support the development and maintenance of the above collaborations

Contribute to management of the Health Systems Research ethics department
• Sit on the departmental management group for the Health Systems and Research Ethics department

QUALIFICATIONS:

• A PhD in a relevant subject such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics, history, political science or human geography, or equivalent academic experience
• Significant experience in independently conducting high quality health-related social science research, including post-doctoral research, in low-and-middle income countries
• Experience and skills in capacity building for junior colleagues, including masters level students, and ideally PhD level thesis supervision
• Experience and skills in developing and managing research relationships, ideally in multi-disciplinary research programmes, consortia or research institutions

SKILLS AND EXPERIENCES:

Essential:
• Significant experience of independently conducting high quality health-related social science research, including post-doctoral research, in low-and-middle income countries
• A strong publication record in health-related or social science peer-reviewed journals
• Experience, skills and commitment to capacity building for junior colleagues, including masters level students
• Experience and skills in developing and managing research relationships, including in multi-disciplinary research programmes, consortia or research institutions

Preferred:
• Experience of addressing ethical issues in health research through social science approaches, including as empirical ethics research
• Professional and research experience has included settings in Africa, and ideally in Kenya
• Successful independent applications have been made for research funding
• Experience of successful supervision of PhD students

ANY OTHER INFORMATION:

• Interest in being based in Kenya for the majority of a two year period
• We are seeking an individual with a strong professional commitment to developing scientific capacity in social science and ethics in global health, particularly in Africa, as part of an active international collaborative community.
• Interest in being based in Kenya for the majority of a two year period
• We are seeking an individual with a strong professional commitment to developing scientific capacity in social science and ethics in global health, particularly in Africa, as part of an active international collaborative community
• We would like to appoint by 1st April 2018 but the start date may be negotiable

HOW TO APPLY:

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