Postdoctoral Research Associate in Sociology job with DURHAM UNIVERSITY


Department of Sociology

7th grade: – £35,333 – £42,155 per year
Fixed Term – Full Time

Contract hours per week: 35

Closing Date: 26 August 2022, 06:59:00

Durham University

Durham University is one of the best universities in the world with strengths in the arts and humanities, sciences and social sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world tackling global issues and making a difference in people’s lives.

The University is located in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the largest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate university, Durham recruits exceptional students from around the world and offers an unparalleled student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London and 1.5 hours south of Edinburgh, County Durham is an area steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of urban, suburban and rural residential locations. The University offers a range of benefits, including pension and child care benefits, and the University relocation officer can help you with any educational requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and sustain an inclusive and supportive work and study environment that helps all members of our University community reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from the international, national and regional communities with which we work and serve.

The Department

The Department of Sociology was established in 1964 initially as the Department of Social Theory and Institutions. The Department offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in sociology, criminology and social work and supports the delivery of a faculty research methods program through the collaborative NINEDTP. The Department’s research strategy revolves around four themes: Communities and Social Justice, Health and Social Theory, Higher Education and Social Inequalities, and Violence and Abuse.

The role

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research associate position in computational social sciences. This position requires strong programming and quantity skills with an interest in the social sciences. The successful candidate will work in a small MRC-funded team to develop algorithms to generate synthetic social networks for simulation projects. The principal investigator of the project is Dr. Jennifer Badham.

Simulations have been used throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to adjust social distancing measures in a careful balance between hospital capacity and the economic impact of activity restriction. Simulations are able to guide policy because they can combine theoretical processes with current data to build justified stories about plausible futures.

Big data initiatives have made it relatively easy to include schools, transportation, and other infrastructure in these simulations. Similarly, census data can be used to construct synthetic households with simulated people who go to work, school, or leisure activities. What is missing, however, is similar resolution data on social media. This project will develop methods to construct synthetic social networks that reproduce structural properties that we know are important in real social networks, such as mutual friends.

The successful candidate will: design, design and implement network modeling algorithms under supervision; collaborate effectively with other researchers on the project and more broadly; communicate research results to other researchers, through conferences and journal publications.


  • Understand and convey material of a specialized or highly technical nature to the research team
  • Prepare and deliver presentations on research results/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • Publish high-quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer-reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the guidance of the Principal Investigator
  • Assist in the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • Work with the Principal Investigator and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify research areas, develop new research methods, and expand the research portfolio.
  • Address issues that may affect the achievement of research objectives and timelines by discussing with the principal investigator or grant holder and proposing creative or innovative solutions.
  • Liaise with research colleagues and establish internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding in order to build relationships for future research collaboration.
  • Plan and manage own research activity, seek resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • Provide training on research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students, as appropriate.
  • Contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful work environment, inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • Engage in broader citizenship to support the department and the discipline at large.
  • Engage in continuous professional development by participating in undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programs or serving on departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.

This position is fixed term until August 31, 2025. This position is funded by a grant that ends 08/31/25.

The incumbent is employed to work on a research/research project to be carried out by another colleague. Although this means that the post holder will not carry out independent research in their own right, they are expected to contribute to the progress of the project, through the development of their own ideas for research / adaptation and development of the research. protocols.

Successful candidates will ideally be in post before November 1, 2022.

How to register

For informal enquiries, please contact Jennifer Badham at All requests will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University vacancies site. As part of the application process, you must provide details of 3 referees (preferably academic/research) and details of your current supervisor so that we can seek a job reference.

Applications are especially welcome from women and black and minority ethnic applicants, who are underrepresented in academic positions at the University.

What to submit

All applicants are invited to submit:

  • A CV and a cover letter that details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above;

Next steps

The assessment for the position will include a short presentation and a formal interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview and assessment in August.



  1. Qualifications
    • A good first degree in the social sciences with a substantial quantitative component, computer science, data science, or any quantitative discipline.
    • A PhD (or be close to submission) in computational social sciences, complexity methods, or a related subject.

  2. Live
    • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
    • Demonstrable ability to write papers of a quality comparable to publication in top-tier journals.
    • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at international conferences and communicate complex information to scholars and within the wider academic community.
    • Experience in social media analysis

  3. Skills
    • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively within a team, including participating in research meetings.
    • Ability to work independently, on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
    • Excellent computer programming skills in R, Python, Julia or any other language suitable for data science applications.


  1. Live
    • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, depending on career stage.
    • A record of presentation of research at conferences, symposia or meetings, depending on career stage.
    • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics
    • Demonstrated ability to work effectively within multidisciplinary research teams.
    • Experience with high performance or cloud computing platforms (i.e. AWS).

  2. Skills
    • Demonstrated ability to plan and manage independent research.
    • Knowledge of some existing methods to generate synthetic social networks.

DBS requirement: Not applicable.


Comments are closed.