Research Fellow in Global Health Governance

Closing Date : 08-Feb-2019

Contact Person : Prof Devi Sridhar (

Vacancy Ref: 046507


Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to join the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society at the University of Edinburgh. The successful applicant will work closely with colleagues in the Centre to design and deliver a qualitative research project concerned with some aspect of priority-setting in global health institutions in recent decades. The successful applicant will also contribute to the development of the Centre’s knowledge exchange strategy and to its programme of ‘responsive mode’ research following key policy, scientific, or public health shifts. This is an exciting opportunity to work with a group of established and emerging leaders in medical social science and humanities, and to help shape a programme of cutting-edge interdisciplinary research into the role and direction of biomedicine in modern society.

We are seeking applicants with a strong background in a relevant social science subject (e.g. politics and international relations, public health policy, history, sociology, STS etc.), including experience of conducting in-depth qualitative research and data analysis.

We welcome applications from everyone regardless of nationality, gender or ethnic group. All appointments will be made on merit.

Applicants should supply a full CV plus a short (approx. one page) outline of a possible research project you might wish to pursue should you be appointed to this position. Informal enquiries may be made to Prof Devi Sridhar (

The post is fixed term for 24 months.

Interviews to be held in late February, with a start date as early as possible thereafter.

1. Job Details

Job title: Research Fellow in Global Health Governance

School/Support Department: Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences

Unit: Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society, Usher Institute

Line manager: Prof Devi Sridhar

2. Job Purpose

(a) To develop and undertake a qualitative research project (co-developed with Professors Devi Sridhar and Steve Sturdy) concerned with some aspect of priority-setting in global in recent decades;

(b) To contribute more generally to the scholarly and engagement activities of the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society and the Global Health Governance Programme.

3. Main Responsibilities 

  1. Co-develop (with Professors Devi Sridhar and Steve Sturdy) a research project concerned with some aspect of priority-setting in global health institutions in recent decades, including literature searches and reviews relevant to the study, planning appropriate research methods, and pilot work. (Approx. 10% of time)

  2. Undertake in-depth research (including, as appropriate, archival research, oral history and in-depth interviews with relevant stakeholders e.g. funders, scientists and health professionals, and other qualitative and/or documentary methods), in order to answer the research questions to be addressed through the co-developed study. (Approx. 20% of time)

  3. Take a lead role in the analysis of all data, meeting regularly with Professors Devi Sridhar and Steve Sturdy to do so, and drawing upon the expertise of other members of the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society and Global Health Governance teams where relevant. (Approx. 10% of time)

  4. Take a lead role in writing up the results of the study, alongside Professors Devi Sridhar and Steve Sturdy, for key journals in public health, medical humanities and social science. (Approx. 20% of time)

  5. Contribute to the development of the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society and Global Health Governance Programme’s knowledge exchange strategy, including working with diverse stakeholders in order to both inform and enhance the impact of the research. (Approx. 20% of time)

  6. Contribute to the Centre aims to produce ‘responsive mode’ research and position statements following key policy, scientific, or public health shifts. (Approx. 20% of time)

  7. Where appropriate, up to 5% of time may also be made available from the above responsibilities to contribute to lecturing and other teaching activities, in keeping with the post-holder’s career development needs.

4. Planning and Organising

The job holder will be required to work to tight deadlines and be extremely organised in conducting this work to a tight timetable. The job holder will manage their work on a day-to-day basis, guided by the overall research plan and time-table and under the supervision of Professors Sridhar and Sturdy. They will work closely with whole Centre team to ensure that its broad, strategic aims are being met.

5. Problem Solving

The job holder is expected to resolve most day to day problems, with only the most serious and non-standard issues reported to the line-manager for assistance. Any ethical concerns should be discussed promptly. They should use initiative to analyse and interpret qualitative data and draw conclusions from it in collaboration with Professors Devi Sridhar and Steve Sturdy.

6. Decision Making

Taken independently: Organise own workload according to priority and adapt as necessary; setting of short-term time-lines. 
In collaboration with others: Co-designing research study; problem solving; data interpretation; knowledge exchange planning and delivery 
Referred to manager: Overall timelines; changes of direction; response to serious and unexpected events; identification of the best way forward and interpretation of complex data (although the post-holder’s input to these areas is expected). 
Level of Direction Given: Profs Sridhar and Sturdy will offer general orientation and advice and collaborate in the development and support the implementation of the research strategy. The line manager (Prof Sridhar) will have formal responsibility for supporting and managing performance within the University of Edinburgh’s management and employment policies.

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

Key contacts are Prof Sridhar (the line manager), Professor Sturdy, and other members of the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society and the Global Health Governance Programme in the Centre for Global Health Research.

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


  • PhD (or near completion) in a relevant social science subject (e.g. politics and international relations, public health policy, history, sociology, STS etc.) 

  • Experience of conducting in-depth qualitative research and data analysis at least at postgraduate level 

  • Knowledge and experience of undertaking research in global health policy or similar area

  • Experience of qualitative computer software packages

  • Ability to work independently under appropriate supervision 

  • Excellent project management and organisational skills

  • Excellent personal, written and verbal communication skills 

  • Ability to work as part of a team 

  • A flexible approach to working


  • Postdoctoral qualitative research experience 

  • Demonstrated ability to publish in highly regarded academic journals 

  • Familiarity with and expertise in knowledge exchange and public engagement 

  • Experience and/or willingness to engage with colleagues from a wide variety of backgrounds

9. Dimensions

The job does not involve direct line management of staff but the job holder will be expected to liaise with academic and administrative staff across the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society and the Global Health Governance Programme (and more widely, relevant academics within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) .

10. Job Context and any other relevant information

The job holder is expected to co-develop and complete a discreet project while also contributing to the wider research and engagement activities of the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society and the Global Health Governance Programme. Flexibility, academic rigour, and excellent organisational and communication skills will therefore be essential in ensuring success. While the post is advertised at full-time, part-time options will be seriously considered.

The job holder will be located in the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society (CBSS). With its own premises on the central University campus, CBSS is a multidisciplinary research centre that builds on the University of Edinburgh’s unique history of leadership in social studies of science and medicine to scrutinise the complex social, cultural and technological landscape that characterises contemporary biomedicine and health care. Bringing together established and emerging research leaders from across the University, the Centre aims to address the pressing problems currently facing biomedicine and society, and to effect lasting change in approaches to, developments from, and perspectives on global biomedical research. To that end, our work combines novel, integrative social science and humanities research with innovative approaches to collaboration, stakeholder and public engagement.

The Global Health Governance Programme is based in the Centre for Global Health Research within the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute for Population Health Sciences and Informatics. The programme researches how global institutions, finance and rules can better serve the needs of people across the world. We focus on three main areas: Improving the effectiveness of international health organizations, tracking financing to global public health and developing better tools for priority-setting

Eligibility to Work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and Immigration Act 2016 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK). To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview. For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work webpage

If you are from outside the EEA and not currently eligible to work in the UK, there are visa routes that may be available to you, for example:

  1. Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent): If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. This route requires you to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK). However, if you are applying for a senior academic role, e.g. Professor/Reader there is an accelerated route to endorsement. Further information can be found on the UKVI website

  2. Tier 2: The University is a UKVI licensed sponsor and is able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who are offered highly skilled roles and meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa).

Further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes can be found at:

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme

This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme. For further information please visit our pensions website.


The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,199 to £39,609 35 hours, full time, each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments. You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

Closing date: 8 February 2019 at 5pm.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual. 

The Centre for Population Health Sciences (CPHS)

The Centre for Population Health Sciences (CPHS) is one of three research centres within the Usher Institute. An interdisciplinary research hub, it draws together researchers, clinicians and practitioners from public health, primary care, biomedical and social sciences with expertise in epidemiology, statistics and modelling, sociology, social policy, psychology, economics, geography, health promotion, nursing and medicine.

We host several collaboarative centres:

  • The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships 

  • The Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research 

  • The Scottish Collaboration on Public Health Research and Policy

  • The Mackenzie Medical Centre, a General Practice surgery in Edinburgh.

Usher Institute

The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics was launched in April 2015, and is directed by Professor Andrew Morris, FRSE, FMedSci. The vision of the Institute is to “conduct transformative research that impacts upon health care to improve the health and well-being of patients, communities and populations locally and globally”. It brings together a critical mass of over 200 researchers and support staff with expertise in epidemiology, statistics and modelling, informatics, computer science, clinical science, sociology, social policy, governance, ethics, politics, medical law psychology, economics, geography, health promotion and medicine to create a truly interdisciplinary research institute. The research and innovation community also supports leadership and delivery for Edinburgh Data Science.

Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences

Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences is one of three Deaneries in Edinburgh Medical School which, together with the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, makes up the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. The Deanery is headed by Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley and comprises the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM), the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, the Division of Pathology and the Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit. The Deanery currently attracts annual research grants of around £40M, including a number of full programme grants, and has around 630 employees including 39 Professors, over 260 other academic members of staff and 330 members of support staff. The Deanery operates across three University of Edinburgh sites; the Western General Hospital campus, the Central Area, and Little France. Staff contribute undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and offer on-campus and on-line programmes. There is a vibrant PhD community in both IGMM and the Usher Institute.

The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine 

The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine traces its origins back nearly 500 years (Darwin, Simpson and Conan-Doyle were students here) and is internationally renowned for its research and teaching. Professor Moira Whyte is the Head of College, the only conjoint Medical and Veterinary Medical School in the UK. The College employs over 3000 academic and support staff. The College has two Schools, the Edinburgh Medical School comprising 3 Deaneries; Biomedical Sciences; Molecular Genetic and Population Health Sciences and Clinical Sciences and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences

Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences, Biomedical Teaching Organisation

Edinburgh Medical School: Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences

Edinburgh Medical School: Clinical Sciences

The undergraduate medicine teaching programme in the College enjoys a high reputation nationally and internationally, with over 1,300 students enrolled on the MBChB and Intercalated courses and nearly 1000 on the Veterinary Sciences BVS and related programmes. In addition, approximately 2000 students are currently enrolled in the College’s taught and research post-graduate courses, including an extensive range of online distance learning diplomas and degrees. They are trained by over 1000 outstanding academic staff. Details of PhDs, research programmes and studentships are available through our interdisciplinary research institutes and centres.

The academic disciplines within Medicine are largely concentrated in the two teaching hospital campuses, the Royal Infirmary at Little France and the Western General Hospital. Both have extensive new infrastructure with major research institutes and state of the art research facilities on clinical sites. Edinburgh hosts a number of prestigious MRC and BHF Research Centres. The approach is interdisciplinary, with basic and clinical researchers working together at the laboratory bench and in our clinical research facilities to address major themes in basic, clinical and translational medicine.

The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies on the Easter Bush Campus houses outstanding teaching and clinical facilities as well as the splendid Roslin Institute, one of the world’s leading veterinary research centres. The College offers outstanding opportunities to address ‘One Health’ and Global Health problems of the highest international priority.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

The College’s reputation as one of the world’s leading centres of medical and veterinary medical research has been reaffirmed by its UK REF2014 results. Medicine, the University’s largest submission, was ranked in the top 5 in the UK. Veterinary Medicine came 1st in the UK, and retained its position as the UK’s top Vet School. It made a joint submission with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Neuroscience was ranked 3rd in the UK out of 82 submissions, representing a major advance. Overall, 84% of the College’s research activity was rated world leading or internationally excellent (3* and 4*). In terms of 'one medicine' research (human and animal medicine), the University of Edinburgh's research power (quality x volume) is the strongest in the UK. 

The University of Edinburgh

For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep.

We have believed that anything is possible, we still do. The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 41,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles. 

As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.

Equality Networks:

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.