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Post specification

Post Title:

Research Fellow for the “TeenPath” Project

Post Status:

Specific Purpose Contract for 24 months, Full-time

Starting Date:

As soon as possible; likely May 2020


Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy

Reports to:

Prof. Richard Layte (TCD) or Dr Debbi Stanistreet (RCSI)


Department of Sociology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland or Division of Population Health Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons



Closing Date:

Midnight Friday 14th February 2020


Post Summary

Research Fellow in Quantitative Social Research

The Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin and the Division of Population Health Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons, are looking for two skilled, enthusiastic and hardworking Research Fellows to join our research team. The successful candidates will work on an academic research project entitled TeenPath: Social Environment, Health and Well-Being Among Adolescents in Ireland funded by the Health Research Board and based at both TCD and RCSI.  

The project seeks to understand how family, neighbourhood environment and family social and economic circumstances interact with individual characteristics such as sex, personality and temperament to shape mental health, health behaviours and educational outcomes at the end of secondary schooling and the cusp of adulthood. We ask three inter-linked questions: “how do peer relationships and exposure to social media influence the risk of developing anxiety and depression?”; “how do family, neighbourhood and individual characteristics shape the development of health behaviours such as diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption?”; “did the financial crisis and recession experienced in Ireland between 2008 and 2014 influence educational outcomes at the end of secondary school and if so, how?”

The project will use innovative statistical methods and quasi-experimental designs to analyse two nationally representative, longitudinal cohorts from the Growing Up in Ireland Study ( following child development from birth to 20 years of age. The project also seeks to identify those risk factors which are modifiable and to design policy interventions through which outcomes for young people can be improved.

We are looking for enthusiastic, passionate colleagues with advanced knowledge of statistical analysis using longitudinal data, panel methods (preferably using STATA, MPlus or R) and a research interest in how social environment contributes to health and well-being across the life course. Disciplinary background is not important but candidates must be able to think analytically about causal mechanisms which include social processes and translate these into statistical models for testing. Informal enquiries are welcome and can be made to Professor Richard Layte, Department of Sociology (, Trinity College Dublin.

Standard duties of the post

  • compiling longitudinal datasets from the Growing Up in Ireland Cohorts;
  • planning and conducting quantitative analysis of panel and quasi-panel data using advanced methods of data analysis;
  • actively writing research papers and contributing to joint publications of the project team;
  • contributing to workshops with students in schools and the development of materials on health behaviour change for teachers;
  • organising and attending meetings, workshops and conferences;
  • preparing grant applications for subsequent research projects.


Person Specification


  • PhD in sociology, economics, psychology, epidemiology, public health, health services research or cognate fields (thesis should be either defended or submitted).


Research skills

  • excellent academic track record in quantitative research;
  • excellent skills in the management and analysis of quantitative data (including longitudinal analysis);
  • advanced technical skills in Stata, MPlus, R or a comparable statistical package;
  • experience with national panel data (e.g Understanding Society, PSID, GSOEP) or cohort studies (e.g., the Millennium Cohort Study, the German National Educational Panel Study, Growing up in Ireland Study);
  • a knowledge of the academic literature on the social determinants of health and health inequalities.
  • Experience of translation of research findings into policy an advantage. 


Other essential skills

  • excellent written and verbal communication skills in English;
  • willingness to contribute proactively to the conduct of the project;
  • strong motivation to publish in academic journals;
  • good organisational skills;
  • ability to work effectively in a team.


The Department of Sociology

Sociology is a member of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, one of 24 Schools within Trinity College. The Department of Sociology has a strong research theme around comparative inequalities, education and families and a vibrant PhD research group in these areas:

The Department also has a long-standing collaboration with one of Ireland’s premier research institutes, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). The Department has an active postgraduate programme. It is home to an MSc in Comparative Social Change, delivered jointly with University College Dublin, as well as an MPhil in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict. It has a structured PhD programme combining advanced methodological training with transferable skills workshops. There are over 20 PhD students and our doctoral graduates have positions in academic institutions, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

Further information on the Department of Sociology is available at:

Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1592, Trinity is at the nexus of tradition and innovation, offering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across 24 schools and three faculties: arts, humanities, and social sciences; engineering, maths and science; and health sciences. Spread across 47 acres in Dublin’s city centre, Trinity’s 17,000-strong student body comes from all 32 counties of Ireland, and 16% of students come from outside the country. Of those, 40% are from outside the European Union, making Trinity’s campus cosmopolitan and bustling, with a focus on diversity.

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

RCSI has been at the forefront of educating healthcare professionals since 1784 as a national training and professional body for surgery. Today RCSI is Ireland’s only focused health sciences institution, Ireland’s largest medical school and one of the leading health sciences institutions in the world. RCSI houses numerous national healthcare professional centres across national audit, clinical and systems research, surgical policy, healthcare leadership, quality management and continuous healthcare professional development. Based in Dublin, with students from over 80 countries and four overseas campuses, RCSI has a global reach through it’s network of Alumni in 97 countries. RCSI ranks among the top 2% of universities in Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020.

Equal Opportunities Policy

Both TCD and RCSI are equal opportunities employers and are committed to the employment policies, procedures and practices which do not discriminate on grounds such as gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or membership of the travelling community.

Application Procedure

Candidates should submit a

  • cover letter together with a full curriculum vitae including names and contact details of 3 referees (with email addresses),
  • a list of publications divided into books, edited volumes, peer-review articles, book chapters,
  • and a sample of written research (chapter of PhD, book chapter, article etc.),
  • via email to Prof. Richard Layte (,
  • by midnight on Friday the 14th of February 2020 indicating the position they are applying for in the subject line.

Please Note:

  • The specific duties of the post may change to reflect the evolving requirements of the Department and RCSI.


  • Similar vacancies that arise in the next 6 months may be filled from the pool of applicants that apply for this position. 
  • Employees are expected to undertake 6 months service in their current role before applying for other internal opportunities, unless agreed in advance.


  • If you have any particular requirements for your interview, please notify Prof. Richard Layte at your earliest convenience.