Postdoctoral Research Associate in Reproducibility, Complexity and Integrity


2 Nov 2023
Job Information

Research Field
Ethics in social sciences
Researcher Profile
Recognised Researcher (R2)
Established Researcher (R3)
United Kingdom
Application Deadline
30 Nov 2023 – 00:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract
Job Status
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

Grade: Grade 7 (£36,023-£44,263)

Contract Type: Full Time, Fixed Term (18 Months)

Rewards and Benefits: 33 days annual leave, plus 9 buildings closed days (and Christmas Eve when it falls on a weekday) for all full time staff. Use our total rewards calculator: to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University

Purpose of the Role

We seek up to two ambitious and creative postdoctoral research associates (PDRA), respectively, in Reproducibility and Complexity and Research Integrity and Complexity, for a period of 1,5 years (18 months) starting from January 2024.

Detailed Description

Each PDRA will be working under the guidance of Dr Daniele Fanelli, in a nascent Metascience Lab located in the School of Social Sciences at Heriot-Watt University.

With the general objective of advancing Metascience and helping the progress of all disciplines, the PDRA will actively contribute to the development and testing of new methods to incorporate complexity into our understanding of research reproducibility and research integrity, respectively (see “How to apply” for relevant references). Depending on the candidates’ interests, the specific work may take a more theoretical, methodological, or empirical orientation.

The nature and level of the research requires strong quantitative skills and experience with analytical and/or computational modelling, or quantitative analyses.

Each post is for a period of 18 months but, after a satisfactory performance during the first 6 months, should the PDRA wish to extend their position, they will be encouraged to lead or collaborate on new grant applications.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop and test methods to analyse how the complexity of a field’s subject matter and methodology affects, respectively, the field’s reproducibility of results and susceptibility to biases and misconduct, using analytical and computational models and/or empirical analyses. Write research publications based on research findings. Contribute to the development of novel, transferable methodologies, and contribute to developing a statistical package that implements them. Take part in dissemination activities, such as conferences and workshops. Help with general management of the project and research group (e.g. web page and social media communication).

Education, Qualifications and Experience

  • Candidates should have a PhD and/or equivalent research experience in a suitable subject (any disciplinary background is accepted). Knowledge and practical understanding of basic concepts in information theory (e.g. Shannon Entropy, Kolmogorov complexity), in addition to general quantitative and/or statistical skills. Prior experience and/or a demonstrable interest in research-on-research and/or modelling and studying complex systems or social and behavioural phenomena.

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience and/or a demonstrable interest in graphical methods of knowledge representation and/or quantitative text analysis and Natural Language Processing. Good programming skills, including knowledge of the statistical package R.

About Heriot-Watt

Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and leading-edge, relevant research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for innovation, business and industry.

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia.  The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.  Heriot-Watt University is also Scotland’s most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

How to Apply

Please submit via the Heriot-Watt on-line recruitment system;

1) Cover letter describing your suitability for the post

2) Full CV including list of publications

3) An anonymized statement of research interests (ideally 1-page, and no more than 2-pages long, signed only with your initials), in which you briefly discuss how you would meet the objectives of the post, building upon the theory and methods proposed in the two key papers underlying these projects (Fanelli D, 2019, A theory and methodology to quantify knowledge. Royal Society Open Science – ; Fanelli D, 2022, The “tau” of science: how to measure, study, and integrate quantitative and qualitative knowledge. MetaArXiv – 10.31222/ ).


Postdoctoral Research Associate in Integrity and Complexity (Job Identification 3273)

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Reproducibility and Complexity (Job Identification 3279)…

The initial selection of applications will be based on the anonymized research statement, in order to minimize biases and maximize equality of opportunity.

Candidates are encouraged to apply for both positions, in which case they should write two distinct research interests statements, one for each position.

Review of applications will start on the deadline, but late applications may also be considered, until position is filled.

For any enquiries about this position please contact Dr Daniele Fanelli ([email protected] ).  

At Heriot Watt we are passionate about our values and look to them to connect our people globally and to help us collaborate and celebrate our success through working together. Our research programmes can deliver real world impact which is achieved through the diversity of our international community and the recognition of creative talent that connects our global team.

Our flourishing community will give you the freedom to challenge and to bring your enterprising mind and to help our partners with solutions that can be applied now and in the future. Join us and Heriot Watt will provide you with a platform to thrive and work in a way that also helps you live your life in balance with well-being and inclusiveness at the heart of our global community.

Heriot-Watt University is committed to securing equality of opportunity in employment and to the creation of an environment in which individuals are selected, trained, promoted, appraised and otherwise treated on the sole basis of their relevant merits and abilities.  Equality and diversity are all about maximising potential and creating a culture of inclusion for all.

Heriot-Watt University values diversity across our University community and welcomes applications from all sectors of society, particularly from underrepresented groups. For more information, please see our website and also our award-winning work in Disability Inclusive Science Careers .

Use our total rewards calculator: to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

Additional Information
Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
United Kingdom

Where to apply





View or Apply
To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.

Job Location