The Stockholm Environment Institute, York (SEI-Y) is seeking to employ a Research Associate for a UK Research Council funded project called 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 led by the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Universities of York, Heriot Watt and King’s College London.

A Research Associate is required as soon as possible to undertake aspects of Work Package 2 (WP2) primarily employing mobile Electroencephalography (EEG) to examine people’s emotional responses whist they are moving through different environments in rural and urban locations. The Researcher will be required to make inferences from this data about stress states arising from movement in specific settings. The post holder will be required to carry out fieldwork and attend project meetings in Edinburgh and Manchester, and will be expected to work collaboratively with the lead and partner institutions and to assist team members with other aspects of the research project.

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is an independent, international research institute, which has specialised in and environment and development research for over twenty years. The organisation was recently assessed as being one of the top ten environmental policy think tanks in the world. It regularly advises governments and UN agencies at the highest levels. SEI’s mission overall is to support decision making and induce change towards sustainable development, by providing integrative knowledge that bridges science and policy. It has a strong action-oriented research profile, interacting closely with decision makers in the different projects it undertakes. The Institute has six research centres across the world in Europe, the US, Asia and Africa, employing about 130 people, with the second largest centre being that in York.
The York Centre of SEI undertakes research on topics of global importance with a multi-disciplinary team. It has a strong atmospheric research profile in areas such as deposition and impacts of air pollutants, assessing the options and benefits for reducing short-lived climate forcers and climate change mitigation, including managing carbon along supply chains and at urban scales. It also undertakes extensive research into improving agricultural livelihoods in semi-arid parts of Africa and Asia and has strong linkages to the SEI centres in these regions. It has also established an international reputation in areas of work including sustainable consumption and production, resource use and scarcity. All SEI research has a policy focus and SEI York staff regularly interact both with inter-governmental agencies, national governments, and engage with stakeholders at local levels, using novel techniques to understand stakeholder perceptions.
The York Centre of SEI is embedded within the Environment Department at the University of York, one of the UK’s top research universities. The Environment Department was established in 1992 with a guiding principle that issues of sustainable development demand interdisciplinary research across the interface between natural, physical and social sciences. The interdisciplinary ethos is unique among university departments in the UK and the Department has established an international reputation for excellence and innovation at the forefront of environmental research. Its research has major impacts on national and international environmental policy, helping to shape the debate in a diversity of policy arenas. Environmental teaching and research is a particular strength at the University of York, which was recently ranked in the UK top 5 and world top 30 for environmental sciences, scoring a maximum 100 in research impact for Environmental Sciences and beating many other prestigious institutions including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and MIT. The University is committed to new future investments to further strengthen environmental research, including further growth in the Environment Department, and construction of a new building which will house staff from the Environment Department, SEI, along with colleagues in related departments who are part of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI).

The Main Purpose of the Role:
The appointee will contribute to Work package 2 (WP2) that is designed to explore how environmental affect (or mood of place) affects people’s judgments, actions and mobility in the built environment. The study builds on a pilot using a Global Positioning System (GPS) recorder and EEG neuroheadset to record stress levels and other emotional parameters to explore the effect of different urban settings on mobility in older people (65+). The post holder will be required to carry out fieldwork in Edinburgh and Manchester, in both city and rural locations, and in addition to the mobile EEG analysis, will be required to gather subjective wellbeing data from participants.

The post is for a 50% Research Associate over 3 years. Skills will include:
– Experience in designing, conducting and interpreting EEG data. The post holder will be required to work with other experts to process EEG signals and make inferences about stress states.
– Experimental design and statistical expertise with the ability to manage data sets.
– Experience in recruitment, scheduling, screening and organising participants for all fieldwork.
– Experience in computer handling/data management.
– Experience in collecting self-report data (e.g. psychological scales, physical activity records) and correlating with EEG data.
– Good project management skills.
– Evidence of peer-reviewed journal publications or equivalent level research outputs.

The appointee will require flexibility to work between centres and to carry out recruitment and fieldwork in Manchester and Edinburgh.
Ideally the candidate should have a PhD which could be from one of a range of disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, psychophysiology, architecture or a related field. An exceptional candidate with relevant MSc experience would also be considered.
The post holder will be based at SEI-York and will work with under the supervision of Dr Jenny Roe, and in close collaboration with Professor Peter Aspinall (School of the Built Environment, Heriot Watt University), Professor Richard Coyne (Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), University of Edinburgh) and Panos Mavros (UCL Bartlett), who conducted the pilot study and has technical knowledge of the EEG protocols. Lead PI of the overall project is Professor Catharine Ward Thompson, OPENspace, University of Edinburgh. The post holder will be supported by the Neuorimaging Centre at the University of York which offers a fully-equipped brain imaging centre and scientific support for the candidate, with the opportunity for research cooperation with other departments e.g. Psychology.

The job holder will also be required:
– To participate actively in the planning and management of WP2, working independently and in close collaboration with the WP2 research team,
– To contribute to and/or lead on the production of research outputs and research outcomes.

Role holders may be required to undertake some, or all of the duties outlined below:
– To participate actively in the planning and advancement of the research programme, including:
– Assisting team members working across other areas of the research programme, and any other role as directed by the Principal Investigator.
– The management of research resources, ensuring that effective use is made of them.
– To write or contribute to publications or disseminate research findings, including public engagement to non-research specialist organisations using other appropriate media.
– To make presentations at conferences or exhibit work in other appropriate events.
– To develop ideas and necessary collaborations for application of research outcomes.
– To decide on research programmes and methodologies in collaboration with colleagues
– Extend, transform and apply knowledge acquired from scholarship to research and appropriate external activities.
– To attend departmental and project meetings as required and undertake appropriate managerial and administrative tasks in connection with the research activity.
– To develop and initiate collaborative working internally and externally, and the fostering of internal and external networks in order to advance research and exploit opportunities for collaboration and funding sources.

Appointment Details
Salary is in the range £29,541 to £36,298 a year, reduced pro-rata on grade 6 of the University’s salary scales, and is dependent upon experience.
The post is part-time and the hours of work are 18.5 per week. The post is available for a period of up to 3 years, start date to be as soon as possible. The annual holiday entitlement is 38 days, including 8 statutory public holidays. The leave year is October to September, and holiday entitlement will be reduced pro rata.
The candidate appointed may, immediately upon starting his/her employment, join USS – the Universities’ Superannuation Scheme – which involves a personal contribution of 7.5% of salary. If you have not previously been a member of USS, you will join the Career Revalued Benefits section (6.5% personal contribution.). Both sections have a 16% employer contribution, and are offered via salary sacrifice.

The closing date for receipt of applications is midnight on Thursday 21st November 2013.


Further information about the vacancy is available at the University website.