Research Fellow


The post holder will be responsible for the coordination of the Midlands centre of a National Institute for Health Research-funded study exploring free school meals, diet quality and food insecurity in secondary school pupils – the CANTEEN study.

The study will use mixed methods and aims to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the current means-tested FSM policy in UK secondary schools on diet and food insecurity outcomes, understand what factors affect uptake, and generate a robust evidence base for proposed change to the current free school meals policy. The study will involve the recruitment of secondary schools in two distinct geographical regions: Northern Ireland and the Midlands in England. The postholder will be responsible for the day-to-day delivery of the Midlands-based part of the study, working closely with the Northern Ireland team. They will work alongside and provide supervision to a data collection coordinator, and be supported by the two Study Co-Investigators based at the University of Birmingham.

Role Summary

Day-to-day coordination and delivery of the specified study
Responsibility for operational management of study and governance processes
Develop data collection tools and provide support with the application for ethical approval
Recruit secondary schools and participants (16 schools across the Midlands region)
Recruit, train and manage staff to undertake data collection, including collection of nutritional intake data
Undertake quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis (involving travelling to recruited schools across the Midlands)
Contribute to data entry, management and processing, including complex processing of nutritional intake data
Report to local Principal Investigator (University of Birmingham) and Chief Investigator (Queen’s University Belfast)
Report to Study Management and Steering Committee meetings
Preparing presentations, reports and papers for publication
Contribute to generating funding
Contribute to departmental activities, including teaching

Person Specification

A first degree and a PhD (or close to completion) in a relevant population health research area, preferrably in public health nutrition or a related subject
High level analytical capability in relevant research field
Fluency in quantitative and qualitative methods
Practical experience in mixed-methods research
Practical experience of research relating to public health nutrition or nutritional epidemiology
Ability to communicate complex information clearly to a variety of audiences, including children, parents and professionals
Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
Contribute to the strategic planning and organisation of the research projects
Lead on the operational (day-to-day) management of the project and supervise other team members
Co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort
Ability to produce high quality presentations, reports for a variety of audiences and manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals
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

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