This is a full-time/3-year research post on the Sheds for Sustainable Development project at the Yunus Centre, Glasgow Caledonian University.
Run by community members, Community Sheds are organisations that create spaces for people to pursue their hobbies, run community projects, learn and share new skills, and enable others, frequently those isolated and lonely, to engage in activities such as education and training initiatives. Sheds for Sustainable Development aims to design mechanisms that help to create Community Sheds that are both financially and socially sustainable. The key objectives are to identify the key development challenges facing the Sheds, identify and implement selected entrepreneurial changes enhancing their sustainability, and to explore the impact of Sheds on participants' health and wellbeing.
While benefiting from support of experienced Yunus Centre staff, the successful candidate will engage in an exciting mixed-method study to evaluate and enhance activities of Community Sheds. The research post will create opportunities for developing academic outputs as well as networks with academics, practitioners and policymakers. With minimal support from the supervisory team, the applicant will develop academic peer-reviewed journal papers and will translate study findings into a research/policy briefing and a community toolkit.
We are looking for an enthusiastic researcher with a PhD who enjoys community-orientated action-type projects. Guided by the research team, the candidate should be capable of conducting independent research and carrying out fieldwork, able to communicate well with people from different groups and in different contexts, and be familiar with the application of qualitative and quantitative research methods.
Applicants must have the continued right to live and work in the United Kingdom to apply for this vacancy.
We welcome applications from all suitably qualified candidates and are committed to promoting equality and valuing diversity at GCU.
Please note that the appointment will be made on the first point of the salary scale (unless by exception).
Main purpose of the role
The role will involve researching and supporting development of Community Sheds i.e. informal community spaces that promote bottom-up activities run by and for community members. The key objectives of the project include:
1) Identify the key development challenges facing the Sheds and, through the process of Design Thinking, solutions to those challenges.
2) Explore and implement selected entrepreneurial changes enhancing the sustainability and viability of the Sheds.
3) Explore the impact of Sheds on participants' health and wellbeing.
4) Generate rich descriptions and understandings of the Shed intervention.
The researcher will conduct evaluation of the applicability of Design Thinking process in identifying solutions to existing Shed challenges, collect information on the number and the type of entrepreneurial solutions/changes implemented as a consequence of the project, assess impact of Sheds on health and wellbeing of the Sheds participants, evidence the potential role for Sheds in a preventative spend approach to health and care. Anticipated project outputs include up to four peer-reviewed academic papers, a policy briefing and a toolkit.
Accountabilities/Responsibilities of the role
- Conduct literature and database searches;
- Continually update knowledge in area of specialism;
- Develop a project implementation plan to address study objectives;
- Work closely with Community Sheds stakeholders to gather evidence and evaluate the intervention;
- Participate in the work of the research team and use research resources efficiently and effectively to achieve outcomes;
- Conduct empirical research to fulfil the project plan, mainly involving interviews and surveys with project stakeholders;
- Conduct qualitative and quantitative analysis and writing activities associated with the project including the development of up to four academic peer-reviewed paper, a policy briefing and a practice guide/toolkit co-authored with the research team;
- Contribute to the generation of original ideas and new knowledge based on project findings and make internal and external contacts to develop research base;
- Work timely according to the project timeline to meet relevant deadlines;
- Be involved in general tasks associated with the project such as organising and contributing to team meetings;
- Be capable of conducting research with minimal support from the supervisory team;
- Plan personal day to day work profile to achieve the outcomes of the specified research project/projects;
- Be able to work in a multidisciplinary research filed that relates to community development, social entrepreneurship and social innovation;
- Contribute to developing a research proposal extending the existing project;
- Demonstrate care and sensitivity towards the needs of staff and project stakeholders;
- Demonstrate awareness of risks in the work environment and potential impact on self and others.
Educational and/or Professional Qualifications
E1 - Completed PhD.
D1 - Professional qualification in relevant subject(s).
E2 - Experience in conducting independent research.
E3 - Experience in developing written research outputs including academic papers, policy briefings, toolkits.
Skills, Knowledge & Behaviours
E4 - Good understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods and their application.
E5 - Good time management and organisational skills, and ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
E6 - Flexible, co-operative, self-motivated, hardworking and capable of working on a variety of tasks.
D2 - Ability to work with community members including those perceived as ‘hard to reach'.
D3 - Ability to be proactive and capable of solving research-related challenges.