Mobility, Mood and Place: a user-centred approach to design of built environments to make mobility easy, enjoyable and meaningful for older people, is an innovative, multidisciplinary, UK Research Council funded project, led by ESALA and OPENspace research centre, University of Edinburgh. We are seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Researcher to undertake aspects of Work Package 2 (WP2), on ‘environment and affect’ (examining people’s emotional responses while they are moving through different environments) and specifically to undertake behavioural observation mapping and other ethnographic data collection in relation to older people’s use of the built environment. We also expect the Researcher to assist team members with other aspects of project, including assisting in obtaining mobile EEG recordings with participants and coordination of key findings across other workpackages.

Experience in behavioural mapping and/or similar ethnographic techniques is essential, and experience of participatory methods and interview skills desirable, as is expertise in data presentation. A PhD in a relevant area of research such as environmental psychology, anthropology, human geography, sociology, landscape architecture, urban design, planning, or a relevant related discipline is essential.

This post is part time (0.5fte) and fixed term until 31 August 2016.

Salary: £30,424 – £36,298 per annum pro rata

Closing Date: 22nd October 2013


Main Responsibilities (approx % of time)

Work both independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team, with particular responsibility for aspects of WP2, to develop detailed protocols for recording and mapping behaviour while older people as research participants are moving through different environments. Assist with other aspects (including mobile neuroimaging) of WP2 and relate findings to other WP findings. (60% )

Present research results through preparation and publication of research papers and other outputs, in collaboration with other team members, and presentation at scientific meetings, policy- and practice-oriented seminars, so that effective dissemination of findings is achieved. (20% )

Assistance with recruitment of participants for WP2, and with the planning and management of field work with participants, including compliance with data protection and ethical requirements of the project. (10% )

Contribution to ensuring adherence to study milestones and work plan for WP2, including progress reports, etc. and provision of information for the Advisory Group and Academic Management Group, as necessary. (5% )

Establishment and management of best practice procedures to engage with study participants for WP2, including liaison with project partners and participant groups, identifying appropriate locations, ensuring informed consent is obtained and good communications are maintained with all WP2 project participants. (5% )

Planning and Organising

Manage all arrangements associated with preparing for and carrying out WP2 field studies in Edinburgh, Manchester and associated rural locations. The work will involve recording and mapping the experience and behaviour of older adult participants as they walk through urban or rural environments using neural measuring technology, in collaboration with any other Researchers and the Investigators associated with neuroimaging aspects of WP2. This will include preparation of materials, arranging meeting locations, briefing and obtaining informed consent from participants, recording behaviour and observations associated with it, including engaging participants in recording methods where appropriate, and producing high quality outputs that record the process and address the aims of the project.

Manage and maintain records of WP2 ethnographic/behaviour observation data collected, and secure storage of this data in compliance with research governance, data protection and ethical requirements.

Contribute to documentation of WP2 field study processes, including online descriptions and updates and, subject to ethical approvals and informed consent, audio and video recordings.
Contribute to drafting of research reports and publications for internal reporting and for reporting to funders and partners.

Drafting of research papers and other outputs for dissemination of findings, both as lead author and as co-author, in collaboration with other researchers involved in the project, and contributing to other forms of dissemination, e.g. online and social media, as appropriate.

Problem Solving

Problem solving will be required to ensure the effective running and completion of WP2. Problems may include such aspects as:

a) variability in the format, content and style of ethnographic methods that participants consent to

b) difficulty in contacting and making arrangements with different participants

c) changes and delays in the timing of WP2 data collection.

The job-holder will be expected to think independently at times (such as in resolving example (b) above) and use his or her judgement over when to involve the Principal and Co-Investigators (such as in relation to example (a) or (c) above).
Some problem-solving will require careful reference to protocols and procedures (e.g. over University of Edinburgh ethical approval), and some will require exploration of good practice and precedent (e.g. in use of different ethnographic methods with study participants).

Decision Making

As identified above, decisions will include judgement on when to refer problems to the Investigators or to fellow Researchers.
In general, the job-holder will be expected to make day-to-day decisions that support the good progress of WP2 and the study in general, and do not have scientific or budgetary implications that might be problematic. Such regular decision-making is likely to include: preparing options for ethnographic protocols; drafting of sections of reports and other progress documents and outputs; preparing and updating a library of relevant literature to inform contextual understanding, analysis and interpretation of results relating to ethnographic work in WP2 and possibly in WPs 1 and 3.

Where decisions are needed that might result in significant changes to the study plan, these must be resolved in discussion with the Investigators to ensure that any implications are predicted and planned for appropriately.

Key Contacts/Relationships

The project will involve collaboration with a number of other Schools and units within the University of Edinburgh and in other institutions, as well as a number of non-academic partners. WP2 is likely to involve close working with another Research Associate with neuroscience expertise. Internal contacts will include working with Professor Catharine Ward Thompson (Principal Investigator), Professor Richard Coyne (Co-I and WP2 joint leader), Dr. Neil Thin and Professor Ian Deary (Co-Is on WP2) and Iain Scott (Co-I and WP1 joint leader)..

Contacts will also involve liaison with OPENspace administrator, Journalist/Communications and Policy Liaison staff, and other OPENspace staff, Research, Knowledge Exchange and Outreach Office staff, ERI staff, IT staff, and others in order to exchange information necessary for the job.

External contacts will include liaison with co-Investigators Dr Jenny Roe and Professor Peter Aspinall (WP2 leaders with Prof Coyne), to arrange meetings and obtain advice, answer queries and coordinate the work of WP2.

External contacts will also include liaison with other researchers and research partners, stakeholders and participant groups and individuals associated with the study, as relevant, including Edinburgh and Manchester City Councils and charities such as Living Streets, to support the work of the project.


Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


• Appropriate degree

• A bachelors or masters qualification in environmental psychology, anthropology, human geography, sociology, landscape architecture, urban design, planning, or a relevant related discipline

• A PhD in a relevant area of research, as identified above or equivalent professional qualification and/or experience

• Successful completion of one or more research projects

• Experience in ethnographic methods or similar qualitative techniques

• Ability to communicate clearly with different academic and non-academic audiences, as evidenced by good oral and written communication skills

• Demonstrable experience of working as part of a team

• Evidence of peer-reviewed journal publications or equivalent level research outputs.


• Experience of environment-behaviour studies

• Experience of working with older people and/or disabled people

• Experience of mixed-method research involving both qualitative and quantitative approaches

• Evidence of peer-reviewed journal publications as lead author

• Experience of working with policymakers or practitioners in public agencies, charities or other relevant organisations.


• Provide academic support for delivery of the MMP project, and particularly aspects of WP2, throughout the period of the study

• Offer advice to students and teaching support in areas of expertise.


Job Context and any other relevant information

The Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and OPENspace, a leading research centre on access to outdoor environments, both at the University of Edinburgh, are seeking a researcher to contribute to a 3-year project funded by EPSRC under the RCUK Lifelong Health and Wellbeing programme. The project is entitled ‘Mobility, Mood and Place: a user-centred approach to design of built environments to make mobility easy, enjoyable and meaningful for older people.’ The project is designed to gain better understandings of the positive qualities that encourage people to go out, remain mobile, and give them pleasure into very old age. It offers an exciting opportunity to work on a multidisciplinary study that includes: designing together with older people; examining data from recordings of neural signals while people are moving through different environments and recording behaviour using mapping and other ethnographic data collection in relation to older people’s use of the built environment (a principal task for this post); and studying information from a large group of older people born in the 1920s and 30s, to understand patterns of environment, activity and health over their life course. The post involves working with partners to identify field locations and participants with the ultimate aim to develop illustrated, user-friendly guidance on how to provide better environments in future. The project involves collaboration with leading experts in different departments of the University of Edinburgh, and with Heriot-Watt University, The University of York and King’s College, London.

The University of York, a partner Institution in this project, is also recruiting a 0.5 Research Associate to complement this post requiring expertise with mobile Electroencephalography (EEG) systems, and designing and interpreting of EEG data. University of York Research Associate Suitable candidates may be considered for a combined full time post but the applicant will be required to apply to each institution separately.


Application Procedure

All applicants should apply via our Vacancy Website. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

The closing date is 5pm GMT on 22nd October 2013.


Eligibility to Work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website

For applicants interested in sponsorship information is available on our Working in the UK website

In the circumstances where the vacancy does not meet the UKBA advertising, salary and/or qualification level criteria for sponsorship the successful applicant must have the existing right to work in the UK.


Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme

This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

Hours to be Notified (HTBN) will automatically become a member of the USS scheme if their monthly earnings are deemed to be ‘qualifying earnings’ (equivalent to the HMRC monthly threshold above which their earnings are taxable). If the post holder’s earnings are not deemed as “qualifying earnings” and therefore will not automatically become a member they can opt in to the USS Scheme.

For further information please visit our Pensions website.


The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £30,424 to £36,298 per annum pro rata. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month.
The Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture
The Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (ESALA ( is guided by values of creativity, experimentation, scholarly rigour and ethical responsibility.

Architecture is a field of inquiry dedicated to the art of building in its broadest sense. This encompasses the design of buildings, the spaces between them, as well as wider natural and urban environments.
Our definition of Architecture implies a wide range of conditions: from the most intimate spaces of a dwelling, to complex public infrastructures and open spaces, to the heterogenous fabric of a city and wider territorial conditions.

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We have strong and vibrant alliances with the architectural and landscape professions and other community, cultural and business groupings in Scotland, and clearly articulated links with relevant schools and institutions internationally.
We engage in policy debates nationally and internationally both within teaching and through research activities.

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As of 1 August 2011 the School of Arts, Culture and Environment and (Edinburgh College of Art) came together to form the larger new Edinburgh College of Art within the University of Edinburgh’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The new ECA has five main subject areas – Art, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Design, History of Art and Music – and our mission is to promote critical inquiry in these areas through scholarly research, teaching and creative practice. Almost 3,000 students study programmes within the new ECA.

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Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008
The College operates at the highest levels of international quality across a very wide range of disciplines in the creative arts, humanities and social sciences. The College has been ranked by Times Higher Education/Thomson Reuters among the world’s leading centres for research and teaching in the arts, humanities and social sciences, and had circa 60% of its research assessed as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*) in RAE2008.

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We still do. The latest Research Assessment Exercise highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence.

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