Research Associate in Social Policy and Social Work

University of York Department of Social Policy and Social Work

United Kingdom

Research Associate

Department:Social Policy and Social Work
Based at:University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work:Full-time
Contract status:Fixed term
Salary:33,309 - 40,927 per year
Interview Date:15 and 16/02/2022
Posted Date:14/12/2021
Apply by:27/01/2022
Job Reference:10195

Role Description

ESRC Centre: Vulnerability and Policing Futures

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for your next challenge? Do you have a research interest in policing and vulnerable groups, and the interactions between them and other service providers? Are you committed to advancing understanding and shaping policies and practice in policing futures? Do you want to further your career at a leading research-intensive University?

You will work within the new ESRC funded research centre ‘Vulnerability and Policing Futures’, jointly led from York and Leeds universities by Professor Charlie Lloyd and Professor Adam Crawford along with a team of over 25 leading researchers from diverse social science disciplines. Working with a large team that includes data scientists, qualitative researchers, Associated PhD researchers and professional support staff, and alongside 38 regional, national and international partners, you will play an important role, assuming significant fieldwork and data collection responsibilities, as well as contributing to data analysis and writing up the findings. With a doctorate (or equivalent research experience) relevant to this research field and proven experience of empirical research, you will work with and support project work, that will include: conducting research activities and fieldwork; collecting data; synthesising existing evidence, developing research collaborations, report writing, and liaising with project partners.

These six posts represent an unparalleled opportunity to work on an exciting, new initiative in the field of Vulnerabilities and Policing. The Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre is one of six recently announced ESRC Centres and aims to build new interdisciplinary knowledge from problem-based and place-based perspectives about the interactions between vulnerability and service providers’ responses and to use these finding to build new, integrated and innovative approaches to harm reduction that address the needs of vulnerable groups. It has been funded over a five year period, from 1 May 2022 to 30 April 2027, with the potential for a further five years of tapered funding thereafter. These are 5 year fixed term appointments, offering excellent development opportunities over this period.

Further information about the Centre can be found at the Universities’ news websites: York announcement; Leeds announcement


You will work with Professor Charlie Lloyd (York), Professor Adam Crawford (Leeds) and a large team of academics and project partners across the country. You will be based in a supportive team, located at either York or Leeds and will work alongside the other research associates/fellows in delivering a number of research projects across our three work strands. All of this research will involve work on vulnerability and policing, whether working alongside data analysts to understand how policing interventions impact on the development of vulnerability in particular locations or researching the policing of particular vulnerable groups, such as those caught up in county lines, domestic violence, mental illness, online child sexual exploitation, modern slavery or homelessness. You will contribute to team meetings and, with the support of senior academics, present findings from your research to a variety of professional and public audiences.

These posts offer excellent potential to develop outstanding research careers.  A generous training budget will be available and you will also be encouraged to attend conferences and other events, and publish research in leading academic journals. You will also play an active role in research translation, application and impact, working with police, public service and NGO partners on policy and practice development.

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

(Role holders will be required to undertake some or all of the duties below)

  • Role holders need A PhD (this includes work submitted for assessment but not yet examined) in a relevant subject area or equivalent research experience. This could include, but is not limited to the disciplinary fields of criminology, social policy, sociology, psychology, public administration, management studies or political science;
  • Work with and in support of the research centre ‘Vulnerability and Policing Futures’ on the centre’s research agenda, research projects and publications;
  • Conduct research fieldwork and data collection under the supervision of senior colleagues, including surveys, interviews, focus groups, deliberative events, structured observations and other methods of data collection;
  • Contribute to the analysis of this diverse data and the writing up of the findings for various audiences;
  • Work flexibly as part of a large team of academics based at institutions across England, including Durham, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and UCL;
  • Collaborate closely with police and partners from health, social care, housing, education and other local service providers;
  • Work alongside cohorts of data scientists to combine qualitative social science insights with advances in data analytics;
  • Draft project reports and prepare conference talks and project report contributions;
  • Present the research and its findings in different formats to professional, lay and academic audiences, including communicating complex data in accessible ways;
  • Engage in the dissemination and communication of the research and its findings, including preparing and collaborating on publications;
  • Attend Centre meetings, reporting on progress and emerging findings and contributing to the development of the Centre research agenda.
  • Balance the competing pressures of research demands and deadlines;
  • Role holders will be based at either York or Leeds, with the expectation that a minimum of two days per week will be campus-based.

As we are seeking to fill six posts to contribute to the team as a whole, some post-holders may have skills in more qualitative social research or experience of public engagement, while others will have quantitative skills or data science experience. However, all researchers will work collectively, integrating these diverse types of methods, and will be committed to mixed methods approaches and open to developing their own research skills.

These duties provide a framework for the role and should not be regarded as a definitive or exhaustive list. Other reasonable duties may be required consistent with the grade of the post.

Condition of Employment

This role is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Consequently, all applicants will be asked to declare both unspent and spent convictions on their application form.  Appointment of the successful candidate will be conditional on a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Interview date: 15 and 16 February 2022

Applications will be made online through the University of Leeds website.

Three posts will be based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York and three will be based in the School of Law at the University of Leeds.

There is a common application process for all posts. By applying, you are consenting to sharing your personal information and application details with both the University of Leeds and the University of York. Applicants are requested to identify their preferred place of employment.

We will be holding an online orientation briefing for anyone interested in finding out more about the posts.  This will take place in the week commencing 10th January 2022 and a link will be sent out nearer the time to interested candidates.  Sign up to receive further information and a link to the webinar.

For informal enquiries: please contact:

Professor Charlie Lloyd, York

Tel: ++44 (0)1904 321912


Professor Adam Crawford, Leeds

Tel: ++44 (0)113 343 5045


The University strives to be diverse and inclusive  – a place where we can ALL be ourselves.

We particularly encourage applications from people who identify as Black, Asian or from a Minority Ethnic background, who are underrepresented at the University. 

We offer family friendly, flexible working arrangements, with forums and inclusive facilities to support our staff. #EqualityatYork

In your application, please refer to


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