Refugeework.net is hiring a Research Assistant at the University of Edinburgh to conduct original research on digital labour and skills among refugees in Berlin and collaborate on other aspects of the project.
You will work with Dr Andreas Hackl on a project entitled ‘Digital livelihoods: towards a just gig economy for urban refugees.’
Funded by the ESRC UK, the project runs for two years (2019-2021) and focuses on digital work practices among refugees in two cities: Berlin and Beirut. The Research Assistant will focus on the field site Berlin and is expected to conduct qualitative research for a period of at least two months towards the project’s objectives.
Candidates must have completed at least a Master’s degree in a related field and written their dissertation on a relevant topic. Candidates who have submitted their dissertation but have not yet formally graduated may be apply.
This full-time (35 hours) fixed-term post is for six months from as early as 13 January 2020.
The role is based in Edinburgh but involves some international travel and field research in Berlin.
Salary: Grade 6 (£28,331 – £32,816)
Closing date: 06 November 2019
Section 1: Job Details
Job Title: Research Assistant (Urban refugees and digital labour)
Department/School: School of Social and Political Science
Unit (if applicable): Social Anthropology
Line Manager: Dr Andreas Hackl
Section 2: Job Purpose
This research assistant role is fully integrated into the ESRC funded project ‘Digital livelihoods: towards a just gig economy for urban refugees.’ The role of the Research Assistant is to support the project through original research, primarily in the field site Berlin, and by collaborating with the Principal Investigator, Dr Andreas Hackl, on other project-related tasks and activities.
Section 3: Main Responsibilities (Approx. % of time)
- 40% – Conduct and support empirical research on the digital work lives of refugees in the city of Berlin with a focus on:
a. Interviews and participatory research with Syrian refugees who are working or seeking work in digital fields, such as computer programming, web design, microwork, online freelancing, and jobs in the wider online gig economy.
b. Interviews and participatory research in digital skill training programmes that target refugees.
c. Meetings with civil society, public sector, and private sector initiatives in the wider field of digital technology and refugees.
- 20% – Collect qualitative and/or quantitative data on digital work and remote education for refugees online and on social media.
- 10% – Contribute to the project’s web presence and social media channels through content creation, sourcing materials and contributions, and editing and updating content.
- 10% – Review literatures on the research topic and write-up focused reviews for future use by the research team.
- 10% – Assist in the documentation of the emerging research outcomes and collaborate with the Principal Investigator on the write-up of a joint working paper or a joint publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
- 10% – Fulfil other project-related tasks as they arise, such as administration, communication, and event organisation.
4. Planning and Organising
Once there is a concrete programme and schedule of work agreed with the project PI, you are expected to plan and manage the main tasks and responsibilities independently, but always in coordination with the PI. Regular reporting of progress and meetings with the PI will be a crucial component of this organising process.
5. Problem Solving
You are expected to use initiative and experience to be able to pro-actively work on the project, while ensuring that the project PI is aware of and supportive of the work you are undertaking at all stages. The PI will usually be available to provide support, advice, and ideas.
6. Decision Making
Independent decision making will be expected on most day-to-day activities, in line with the priorities and objectives of the project and as agreed with the project PI in advance.
At the same time, the role will involve close collaboration with the PI and other individuals on issues such as: research design and overall planning, setting of main priorities for research, analysis, producing written outputs, knowledge exchange with project partners and stakeholders.
Overall timelines and objectives are set by the project manager.
Level of direction given: the project PI will provide detailed guidance and advice on your role within the project.
7. Key Contacts/Relationships
As part of the project you will be fully embedded in the social anthropology subject area at the University of Edinburgh. You will further be linked to the cross-subject international development cohort at the School of Social and Political Science. The project is also embedded in wider networks of the Edinburgh Centre for Data, Culture & Society at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job
• Appropriate degree, with relevant postgraduate or applied research experience. Normally a Master’s degree or equivalent professional qualification and/or experience in social anthropology or a related field in the social sciences and humanities, including development studies.
• Demonstrable experience of working on issues relating to refugee situations, refugee governance, and humanitarianism.
• Demonstrable knowledge of the wider issues and debates around digital society and digital economies.
• A proven ability to conduct high-quality research independently.
• A proven ability to write high-quality texts for a variety of audiences, and communicate complex issues clearly.
• Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methods and tools used in social data science and internet research.
• A track record of published research and writing on themes related to the research project, including articles in academic journals, blogs, publications in the public media, or contributions to reports of NGOs and other relevant institutions.
• Experience of collaborative work in research.
• Working knowledge of German and/or Arabic.
• Experience working with private sector digital platforms and initiatives.
• Experience working with NGOs and International Organizations.
9. Job Context and any other relevant information
This full-time (35 hours) fixed-term post is for six months from as early as 13 January 2020. The role is based in Edinburgh but involves some international travel and field research in Berlin.
The role is part of a research project that started in May 2019 and runs until April 2021. You can find more information about the project on the website here: https://refugeework.net/
Funded by the ESRC UK, the research project runs for two years (2019-2021) and focuses on digital work practices among refugees in two cities: Berlin and Beirut. The Research Assistant will focus on the field site Berlin.
Although the position is based at the University of Edinburgh, the role involves about two months of residential field research in Berlin. The project will cover travel, accommodation, and subsistence costs for the Research Assistant during this period of fieldwork. The Principal Investigator will join the Research Assistant for about two weeks of the fieldwork period in Berlin, to offer guidance and assistance, although he will primarily focus on the second field site (Beirut).
Application Procedure (Apply here)
All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page. 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. Please submit your CV and a covering letter as part of your application.
You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not. Interviews are expected to take place in early December 2019.