This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the development and evaluation of a new digital intervention for paranoia, called STOP (Successful Treatment of Paranoia). STOP will be developed and evaluated as part of a large Medical Research Council award, building on the promising results of earlier work (Savulich et al., 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2020.101575) .
Many people with psychosis continue to have paranoid beliefs, despite the best treatments available. STOP is a new digital health technology designed to encourage people with distressing paranoia to develop alternative ways of interpreting their paranoid thoughts. STOP derives from CBM (cognitive bias modification) techniques that have been successfully used to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and is based on new research into the biases that people with paranoia have when interpreting events (Trotta et al., 2020, https://doi.org/10.1177/2167702620951552).
This one year full-time postdoctoral position would suit someone with a background in cognitive biases or bias modification techniques who is passionate about translating basic research findings into useful applications that have the potential to provide downstream benefits in the real world. The post-holder will ideally have at least some experience of working with clinical groups, ideally those suffering from paranoid symptoms associated with any clinical disorder. While experience of working with digital therapeutics or digital technologies would be a bonus it is not an essential requirement of this post.
The main purpose of this post is to undertake and support the necessary preparatory work prior to the start of a multi-site clinical trial of STOP. Tasks will include: preparing and piloting additional cognitive bias modification intervention and assessment materials; working with software developers and service users to finalise the STOP digital therapy based upon an existing prototype; undertaking research governance activities in preparation for the trial including multi-site ethical approval; preparing academic manuscripts for publication arising from earlier work; assisting with dissemination activities related to the trial.
The post holder will work under the supervision of Dr Jenny Yiend liaising closely with other members of the academic team who include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, statisticians, the local clinical trials unit, information technology experts and a service user group. There may also be the opportunity to supervise psychology students working on the project at either undergraduate or master’s level.
While the post is located at the main IOPPN site at Denmark Hill, the role is expected to be carried out remotely until such time as a safe return to campus can be assured. The successful candidate must be in a position to work on site if subsequently required.
For an informal discussion about the role or your suitability please contact the study’s Principal Investigator Dr Jenny Yiend, firstname.lastname@example.org (07977978655).
This is a fixed-term contract, a full-time post for 12 months.
- Preparing and piloting cognitive bias modification materials and assessments
- Finalising the STOP digital therapy with software developers, service users and the academic team
- Governance activities in preparation for clinical trial
- Preparing academic manuscripts for publication
- Dissemination activities related to the trial and preceding work
The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.
Skills, knowledge, and experience
- PhD in a topic related to cognitive psychology and mental health
- Track record of first authoring academic peer reviewed publications
- Experience of working with clinical or clinically vulnerable groups
- Knowledge of how to apply for ethical approval for research in clinical groups
- Knowledge of the cognitive bias/ bias modification literature
- Experience of working with patients suffering from paranoia
- Experience in digital technologies
- Knowledge of clinical trials methodology
Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.