Research Fellow - School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

University of Birmingham

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Position type:

Full time


£30,942 - £42,792

10 Feb 2020
24 Feb 2020

Full details:

Reference number: BIR-200000QD

Research Fellow - 95711

School Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £40,322, with potential progression once in post to £42,792

Grade 7

Full Time/FTC for 28 months

Closing date: 24th February 2020


We require a post-doctoral research fellow to work with Colin Greaves, Professor of Psychology Applied to Health in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham ( This is an opportunity to help deliver a NIHR-funded project in the field of behavioural medicine, working with cardiovascular consultants and health professionals to develop a self-care support intervention for men at high risk of cardiovascular events.

The School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences is a world-leading institution for research and teaching in Sport and Exercise Science (, located within one of the Uk’s top universities. Our performance in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF 2014) was outstanding with 90 percent of research classified as world leading or internationally excellent and we were ranked 5th or 6th in the QS World University rankings for sport-related subjects in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Key areas in our Exercise for Health research theme include: Healthy ageing, nutrition, disability, prevention and management of chronic illness and theoretically driven development of interventions for behaviour change.

This is a full-time post for 28 months. The start date will be around 1st May 2020. Please contact Prof Colin Greaves if you have any queries, or would like an informal discussion (; +44(0) 121 414 8061 or 0798 989 5165).


Role Summary

The successful applicant will work with Prof Colin Greaves, Dr Athanasios Saratzis (Chief Investigator, University Hospital of Leicester) and other colleagues to develop an intervention to improve lifestyle-related risk factors in men with an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) that is not large enough to warrant surgery, but large enough to indicate high risk for development of both a larger /potentially fatal aneurysm and cardiovascular events (e.g. stroke or heart attack). Around 13,000 of these men (in England) are currently included in a large national screening programme (the NAAASP) which offers regular ultrasound scanning to track their progress. The successful candidate will help to develop and evaluate an applied NHS-based behavioural intervention to modify health behaviours (including diet, physical activity, smoking and medication-taking) in men attending the NAAASP) and thereby reduce the above health risks. The role will include multi-disciplinary collaboration, helping to design an intervention and to conduct process evaluation work in the context of a feasibility study to learn how the intervention is received /used by both patients and NHS service providers. The postdoctoral fellow will also help to prepare manuscripts for publication and contribute to public engagement /impact-generation activities and support collaborative relationships with our NHS based service delivery partners. Importantly, the intervention will be co-developed with both patients who have AAAs and key NHS service provider staff who are likely to manage and deliver the intervention.


Areas of research activity will include the following:-

  • Facilitation of Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) and service-provider workshops to co-develop the proposed intervention
  • Using the Intervention Mapping intervention development framework to develop materials and a training course for the behavioural intervention described above
  • Translating cutting edge physiological science into a pragmatic behaviour change specification to prevent or reverse ageing-related muscle degeneration /physical decline and /or to reduce risk of cardiovascular events
  • Potentially, the use of a digital health platform to support self-care and preventative lifestyle change
  • Qualitative and quantitative process evaluation of data generated by the proposed feasibility study. This may include assessment of intervention fidelity, as well as the collection and analysis of interview data to generate feedback on the feasibility, acceptability of the intervention and ideas for its further refinement
  • Helping to draft papers for publication
  • Helping to dissiminate the findings at a national or international conference
  • Refining the intervention materials and training course for further evaluation /delivery
  • It is worth noting that patient recruitment of patients and delivery of the pilot study will be conducted by our collaborators at University Hospitals \Leicester, so the focus of the postdoctoral fellow’s post will be intervention development and process evaluation

The successful candidate will also be encouraged to develop their own research ideas as long as they are complementary to the above programme of research. More generally the post may also include:

  • Contributing to the development /management of any intellectual property generated by the research project
  • Public engagement /dissemination of research information to public audiences


Main Duties

The responsibilities will include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below.

  • Design and delivery of the funded research study (as described above)
  • Helping to design a complex health behaviour change intervention, with assistance of the line manager (Prof Greaves)
  • Analysis and interpretation of data
  • Helping to write bids for future research funding
  • Writing up research findings for publication
  • Disseminating research findings for publication, research seminars etc
  • Developing new behaviour change models, techniques and methods
  • Dealing with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines
  • Applying knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding
  • Supervising students on research related work and providing guidance to PhD students
  • Management/administration arising from research
  • Contributing to Departmental/School research-related activities and research-related administration
  • Developing research objectives and proposals for own or joint research, with assistance of a mentor if required
  • Contributing to enterprise, business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University, often under supervision of a project leader
  • Collecting research data through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation, literature review and research interviews
  • Providing guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research
  • Promoting equality and values diversity, acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.
  • A limited amount of teaching on related courses


Person Specification

  • A PhD (or near completion) and first degree relevant to the research area and roles described here. For example in Health Behavioural Science, Health Psychology, Health Promotion or Health Services Research.
  • Track record in the development or evaluation of behavioural interventions
  • High level analytical capability, including experience with a range of quantitative statistical analysis methods
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management and administration processes
  • Great communication skills, including a strong track record of publication /writing up of research findings, as well as the ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Ability to communicate material of a specialist or highly technical nature.
  • Fluency in relevant models, techniques or methods (specifically for the development of Behavioural interventions) and ability to contribute to developing new ones
  • Ability to balance the competing pressures of research, teaching and administrative demands and deadlines
  • Knowledge and experience of research ethics and governance principles, regulations and approval procedures
  • Ability to liaise and collaborate effectively with colleagues and students
  • Ability to build contacts and participate in internal and external networks for the exchange of information and collaboration
  • Active participation as a member of a research team
  • Engaging in continuous professional development
  • Understanding equal opportunity issues as they may impact on areas of research content
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
  • Ability to contribute to the planning and organising of the specific research project
  • Ability to co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort
  • Ability to identify potential sources of funding
  • Experience with qualitative data analysis and process evaluation methods
  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day to day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly
  • Experience in the design and implementation of feasibility studies and other intervention-evaluation methods is desirable
  • Experience of working with clinical patient populations is desirable


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