Research Associate – Improving Communication with Adults with Learning Disabilities (ICALD)

King's College London

Job id: 080329. Salary: £43,205 – £50,585 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance.

Posted: 01 December 2023. Closing date: 04 January 2024.

Business unit: IoPPN. Department: Biostatistics & Health Informatics.

Contact details:[email protected] /[email protected]. Victoria Ratti / Rosa Hoekstra

Location: St. Thomas’ Campus. Category: Research.

Job description

We are seeking an experienced, highly skilled and motivated postdoctoral researcher to work on an exciting research programme: Improving Communication with Adults with Learning Disabilities (ICALD).   

Based at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and sponsored by South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLAM) in collaboration with KCL, ICALD is a multi-disciplinary and cross institution programme of research bringing together psychology, psychiatry, speech and language therapy, economics, statistics and social sciences. We want to learn from individuals with learning disabilities, their families and from staff working in social care what they would find helpful in improving the use of communication strategies for people with very little or no speech in the context of their home. This information will help us to improve staff training and provide the right support after the training. All stakeholders such as people with learning disabilities, families, care staff and professionals providing training and therapy will be actively involved in ICALD from start to finish.  

The post-holder will work on three inter-related work packages of the ICALD programme, comprising:  

i)                    Consultation with all stakeholders to better understand (a) staff knowledge and skills, (b) perceptions of best practice regarding staff training and day-to-day delivery of communication strategies, (c) individual and systemic barriers and facilitators to changes in practice in supporting communication.  

ii)                  Consultations to identify outcomes that matter most to stakeholders, and to review and select existing tools that measure these key outcomes. 

iii)                Co-production with stakeholders of a training and post-training support package for staff to improve the sustained use of effective communication strategies for people with learning disabilities.  

The post-holder will be employed by King’s College London and based in the Evelina London Children’s Hospital in Children’s Neurosciences but will travel between sites are part of their role and will report to the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators on the programme. 

This post will be offered on a f an a fixed-term contract until 31 December 2025. 

Key responsibilities

The post-holder will carry out high quality research relating to improving communication for adults with learning disabilities, lead data collection and analysis activities, including stakeholder consultations and training co-production. In particular the role will comprise:

  • Contribute to study design and protocol development relating to the relevant work packages.
  • Contribute to stakeholder and participant recruitment.
  • Conduct interactive workshops with stakeholders using the Theory of Change approach (De Silva et al., 2014).
  • Conduct interviews with people with learning disabilities through supported conversations.
  • Analyse data from stakeholder workshops and interviews to develop a full Theory of Change map, including desired long-term outcomes, preconditions, assumptions and key indicators.
  • Lead co-production groups with invited stakeholders to co-design a new training package for staff working with people with learning disabilities.
  • Contribute to dissemination of findings including presentations at scientific conferences and articles in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Establish and maintain good working relationships with the research team and all community stakeholders.
  • Contribute to training and supervision of junior staff and postgraduate students working on ICALD-relating research.

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

1.       PhD awarded in psychology or similar field

2.       Advanced qualitative research skills, supported by peer-reviewed publications and/or reports

3.       Evidence of experience in qualitative research methodologies, including conducting interviews, focus groups and/or stakeholder consultations

4.       Previous experience working with people with learning disabilities or those who care for and support them

5.       Understanding of the sensitivities of participants and the need to maintain confidentiality

6.       Ability to work effectively and harmoniously with collaborators from a range of disciplines and sectors, as well as participants and their families

7.       Willingness to travel for data collection and conferences as required, including data collection out of typical working days based on participant preferences.

8.       Ability to manage own workload, including competing priorities and deadlines, and remain calm under pressure

9.       Strong presentation and communication skills

Desirable criteria

1.       Previous experience using the Theory of Change approach and leading Theory of Change workshops

2.       Previous experience in intervention or training co-development

Online interviews will be held in January 2024

A presentation will form part of the selection process.

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

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