Research Associate: Sociology

University of Glasgow

Job Purpose

We seek to appoint a Research Associate for a 36-month fixed-term position in the Sociology Subject area, School of Social & Political Sciences, based at the University of Glasgow.

The person appointed to this Research Associate role will undertake research and administrative work supporting the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) funded grant project, ‘The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Transnational Young People of African Migrant Background.’

This role offers the opportunity to work with the project’s international research team: Dr Dominic Pasura (Principal Investigator, University of Glasgow), Professor Ezra Chitando (Co-Investigator, University of Zimbabwe), Professor Dodeye Williams (Co-Investigator, University of Calabar, Nigeria) and Professor Tinashe Nyamunda (Co-Investigator, University of Pretoria, South Africa) and five project partners. The project will investigate the role of religion and spirituality in constructing youth identities and a sense of belonging among transnational young people of Nigerian and Zimbabwean migrant backgrounds in London and Birmingham (UK), Lagos (Nigeria), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Johannesburg (South Africa). Specifically, the job requires expert knowledge in the area of religion and migration, with a focus on transnational young people of migrant backgrounds in the UK and Africa. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct research on and, as opportunities allow, to help the ongoing development of this project. They will also contribute to the formulation and submission of research publications and may seek involvement in future research proposals.

The project will recruit four postdoctoral research associates (PDRAs), one at each university, who will be supported in their career development through early-career research development training programmes at the University of Glasgow (RA1), University of Zimbabwe (RA2), University of Calabar (RA3) and University of Pretoria (RA4). The Glasgow Research Associate will report to Dr Dominic Pasura and liaise with the overall project team, project partners and a multi-faith young people’s advisory group.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

1.      As guided by the PI and/or Co-Is, to take a leading role in the planning and conduct of assigned research tasks and objectives individually and/or jointly with the multidisciplinary project team in accordance with the project deliverables.

2.      Take a leading role in the planning and conduct of assigned research, taking responsibility for a core element as appropriate, in accordance with the project objectives and School/College research strategy.

3.      Survey the research literature and environment, understand the research challenges associated with the project and subject area, as directed by PI and/or Co-Is, and develop/implement a suitable research strategy and work programme in accordance with the project deliverables

4.      Work with the project team to design and conduct mixed methods qualitative research, including document analysis, ethnographic observations, biographical and key informant interviews.

5.      Play a major role in the conduct of primary research in the United Kingdom, part of the multi-sited comparative fieldwork

6.      Conduct qualitative data analysis of the empirical materials collected over the course of the project using NVivo software.

7.      Contribute to the write up of research findings/outcomes for publication in leading journals for dissemination as appropriate. Document research output, including analysis and interpretation of all data, maintaining records and databases, drafting progress reports and papers as appropriate and in adherence to University and funder standards.

8.      Prepare and document relevant datasets for archiving to the standards required by the ESRC and affiliated data support services.

9.      Establish and maintain a personal research profile and reputation and that of the School of Social & Political Sciences/College of Social Sciences /University of Glasgow, including establishing and sustaining a track record of (where appropriate) independent and joint publications of international quality in high profile/quality refereed journals.

10.   Enhance the impact of individual and joint research in terms of their economic/societal benefit, gathering indicators of esteem and engaging in regular knowledge exchange.

11.   Present work at international and national conferences, at internal and external seminars, colloquia and workshops to develop and enhance the research profile of the School of Social & Political Sciences/College of Social Sciences/University.

12.   Take a leading role in maintaining collaborations with colleagues across the project and in the broader School/College/University and wider community (e.g. Academic and other collaborators/partners).

13.   Take a leading role in project team/group meetings/seminars/workshops and School research group activities to enhance the wider knowledge, outputs and culture of the School/College and take a leading role in developing and maintaining international collaborations with colleagues across the School and wider academic community.

14.   Take a leading role in the organisation, supervision, mentoring and training of postgraduate students and less experienced members of the project team to ensure their effective development.

15.   Perform administrative tasks related to the activities of the project, including budgets/expenditure.

16.   Where appropriate, make a contribution to teaching and assessment activities and associated administration as assigned by the Head of the Sociology Subject area and in consultation with the Principal Investigator.

17.   Engage in personal, professional and career development, to enhance both specialist and transferable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory.

18.   To contribute to the enhancement of the University’s international profile in line with the University’s Strategic Plan – Inspiring People – Changing the World.

Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills and Experience



A1 Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework level 12 (PhD) or equivalent in professional qualifications and experience with evidence of personal development in a similar role.

A2 Substantive research experience in one or more of the following areas: sociology, anthropology, geography, religious studies or politics.

A3 Extensive specialist theoretical and practical knowledge of the intersection of migration, mobilities and religion within the UK/Europe and/ or African contexts.

A4 Sufficient breadth and/or depth of knowledge of current issues and debates on religion and migration, as well as future directions within the larger subject field and subject specialisation.


B1 A record of sustained ethnographic or long-term participatory research, particularly in the global South.

B2 Knowledge of Zimbabwe and/ or Nigeria diaspora and migrant community in the United Kingdom, including relevant organisations



C1 Sufficient depth of relevant research experience, normally including sufficient postdoctoral experience in a related field, appropriate to an early career researcher.

C2 Skills in qualitative analysis using NVivo software or as appropriate to researching religion and migration, with an emphasis on young people of migrant backgrounds

C3 Research creativity and strong cross-discipline collaborative ability as appropriate.

C3 Ability to communicate material of a specialist or highly technical nature and to be effective both orally and in writing at a level appropriate to the activity, including public presentations. C4 Ability to apply policy, practice and procedures including broader University/sector external (e.g. commercial) awareness.

C5 Proven initiative and judgement to resolve problems independently and/or as part of a team.

C6 Excellent interpersonal skills including skills in team working and a collegiate approach to working.

C7 Ability to work sensitively effectively and appropriately with a range of project stakeholders, including young people of migrant backgrounds.

C8 Appropriate workload, time and project management skills.

C9 Ability to innovate and initiate/support change. C10 Willingness to travel to work in the UK, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa as required by the project.


D1 Skills in data gathering through policy and Critical Discourse Analysis

D2 Skills in data gathering through ethnographic research and participant observation

D3 Skills in data gathering through biographical interviews and key informant and expert interviews

D4 Skills in website design and maintenance.



E1 Sufficient depth of relevant research experience normally including sufficient postdoctoral experience in a related field

E2 Experience of planning and progressing work activities within professional guidelines or organisational policy, applying initiative and independent judgement.

E3 A track record of presentation and publication of research results in quality journals and/ or at conferences.

E4 Experience of independence as illustrated by identification of project objectives from assessment of literature, design and analysis of research data and drafting of papers.

E5 Experience of working with a range of stakeholders from different countries and migrant backgrounds, including academics and non-academics based in the Global South.

E6 Ability to write about religious and cultural sensitive or otherwise contested issues where there are multiple perspectives/stakeholders, including ability to effectively use nuanced language to navigate these subjects.

E7 Ability to work across a team based globally and be managed remotely, if necessary.

Upload their CV and cover letter, ensuring that they specifically outline within their cover letter how they meet the essential and, where applicable desirable criteria as outlined within the job description.**

Any further enquiries on this post may be directed to Dr Dominic Pasura  [email protected]

Terms and Conditions

Salary will be Grade 7, £37,474 – £42,155 per annum.

This post is full time (35 hrs per week) and fixed term for 36 months

As part of Team UofG you will be a member of a world changing, inclusive community, which values ambition, excellence, integrity and curiosity.

As a valued member of our team, you can expect:

1 A warm welcoming and engaging organisational culture, where your talents are developed and nurtured, and success is celebrated and shared.

2 An excellent employment package with generous terms and conditions including 41 days of leave for full time staff, pension – pensions handbook, benefits and discount packages.

3 A flexible approach to working.

4 A commitment to support your health and wellbeing, including a free 6-month UofG Sport membership for all new staff joining the University

We believe that we can only reach our full potential through the talents of all. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our values. Applications are particularly welcome from across our communities and in particular people from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, and other protected characteristics who are under-represented within the University. Read more on how the University promotes and embeds all aspects of equality and diversity within our community

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