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Research Assistant/Associate

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 16th Feb 2021
  • Salary: £28,331 - £30,046 per annum
  • REF: 5862
  • Closes: 02nd March 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.

Salary: Research Assistant: £28,331 – £30,046 per annum

Research Associate: £30,942 per annum

Closing Date: 2 March 2021

The Role

Newcastle Law School seeks to appoint to appoint an outstanding postdoctoral Research Assistant/Associate for the AHRC funded project ‘The Role of Good Governance and the Rule of Law in Building Public Trust in Data-Driven Responses to Public Health Emergencies’

You must be a capable researcher who is able to hit the ground running whose PhD studies to date have prepared them to engage with regulation of data driven technologies and policy solutions. A completed PhD is a sssential for Associate level and desirable for Assistant level, element of an application. A track record of academic publishing would be helpful. An enthusiasm for interdisciplinary work, working in a team and future gazing are also useful. We are happy to accept applications from researchers based in a number of disciplines including technology or Internet law, international law, surveillance studies, health studies, HCI and technology, but some legal skills will be necessary.

The project is lead by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (BIICL) and funded as part of the AHRC Rapid Response COVID-19 programme. You will work with senior researchers based at Newcastle Law School and The Alan Turing Institute (ATI) and as part of a team also involving Edinburgh University and the Ada Lovelace Institute, alongside at least two other PDRAs. The project is designed to fill in gaps in the understanding of health emergencies as identified by the UK government and its scientific advisors, the WHO, UKRI and AHRC. The key aim is to improve our understanding of how rule of law and good governance can help to build public trust in data driven interventions during health emergencies such as the current pandemic.

You will make an active contribution to Work Package 3, which is run by co-investigators at Newcastle and ATI – respectively Lilian Edwards, Professor of Law, Innovation and Technology, who specialises in technology law, data protection law and regulation of COVID-19 data-driven technologies; and Dr Anjali Mazumder, who is the Theme Lead onAI and Justice & Human Rights for the ATI. You will be based in Newcastle Law School.

This is an opportunity to contribute to an important interdisciplinary research project, working alongside social scientists, ethicists and technology policy experts as well as lawyers. While the project is necessarily short, we would hope for future projects to derive from this work which might be of interest to the successful candidate.

Newcastle Law School has a thriving research environment with an established record of supporting interdisciplinary research. You will have the opportunity to contribute to this environment and will benefit from effective mentoring and research support to develop your own research profile. Newcastle Law School particularly welcomes applications from those identifying with protected characteristic groups which are underrepresented in UK academia.

Informal inquiries can be made to Lilian Edwards : lilian.edwards@ncl.ac.uk

You will be a member of the interdisciplinary research team supporting the delivery of the AHRC funded project The Role of Good Governance and the Rule of Law in Building Public Trust in Data-Driven Responses to Public Health Emergencies, supporting the researchers at Newcastle and ATI on the three tasks specified in WP3, specifically to:

  • conduct a Rapid Evidence Review of data-driven approaches that are already being used globally, or are under development, to combat COVID-19
  • carry our specific Case Study Analyses of how privacy, security, equality, and elements of the rule of law including proportionality, necessity and transparency apply to data processing by selected technologies, and examining the implications for public trust. Although yet to be finally defined at time of advertisement, we envisage study of at least contact tracing apps in various jurisdictions, emergent regimes for vaccination passports and data-driven policy interventions such as risk-based division of geographical regions into tiers where activities (education, shops, offices, leisure, movement etc) are differentially restricted
  • draft and help disseminate a Policy Brief explaining the results of the rapid evidence review and the case study analysis

The post is funded until 22nd September 2021 on a full-time basis and is available to start as soon as possible by arrangement with the successful candidate.

Key Accountabilities

  • Provide support to the co-investigators at Newcastle and Alan Turing Institute
  • Survey and analyse the landscape of technologies and data-driven interventions employed and developed during COVID-9 pandemic, especially but not exclusively in UK and EU
  • Examine and analyse relevant regulatory regimes governing above technologies and interventions, again with non excusive UK/EU focus
  • Take a lead on drafting first version of final policy report
  • Work effectively with team members across the project
  • Present research findings, either at conferences or through publications appropriate to the discipline

The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Postgraduate level research skills training and/or experience
  • Excellent communication skills, written and oral
  • Experience of writing reports/academic papers
  • Experience of carrying out research within agreed timelines, prioritising tasks, meeting project milestones and producing work to an appropriate standard
  • Ability to present results of analyses
  • An understanding of, and knowledge of, relevant legal instruments in technology and data governance
  • Knowledge of privacy, data protection and equalities legislation (Desirable)
  • Knowledge of current developments in human rights and technology, including international frameworks (Desirable)
  • IT Literate (Desirable)
  • Success in writing research papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals, or for presentation at research conferences, symposia or events (Desirable)

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Excellent organisational skills, experience of managing own workload and ability to work to deadlines
  • Ability to work flexibly and co-operatively with others, but also to work independently
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Innovative and flexible approach
  • Commitment to maintaining and supporting a diverse and inclusive working environment, in which all colleagues and students are treated fairly and respectfully


  • PhD for Associate level in law or related subject (or be near completion for Assistant level)
  • Undergraduate degree in a relevant subject for Assisrtant level

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society. We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent. We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.

The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.

Requisition ID: 5862

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