Vacancy | Research Associate in Sport, Culture & Education for Sustainable Development | Loughborough University

As part of the University’s ongoing commitment to redeployment, please note that this vacancy may be withdrawn at any stage of the recruitment process if a suitable redeployee is identified.

Internationally recognised for its contribution to the study of sport, exercise and health, the School has wideranging expertise, encompassing such diverse areas as biomechanics, medicine, molecular and cellular biology, nutrition, pedagogy, psychology, physiology, sociology, economics and sport management.

The School has an active and ambitious plan to grow capacity and influence through developments as part of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, Loughborough in London, and StemLab.

The School is extremely proud to hold an Athena Swan Silver Award, recognising the commitment and work of the School in addressing issues of equality in Science.


Research within the School is characterised by excellence and breadth, and its quality was recognised by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework audit. A broad range of social and natural sciences contribute to the School’s research activity which is organised within three overlapping themes:

  • Sport performance, which aims to understand and enhance sport and exercise performance across the ability range by investigating the factors influencing, and methods for improving, human performance in sport and exercise;
  • Lifestyle for health and well-being, which aims to improve human health and wellbeing throughout the lifespan by considering the social, behavioural and biological determinants and consequences of human lifestyles with specific emphases on physical activity, nutrition and chronic disease; and
  • Participation in sport and exercise, which aims to analyse the sociological, economic, psychological, political, organisational and behavioural factors which inhibit and facilitate community participation in sport and exercise.

The School’s research themes articulate in particular with the Sport and Exercise Beacon and the Health and Wellbeing Global Challenge which are key elements of the University’s CALIBRE (Collective Ambition at Loughborough for Building Research Excellence) framework.

Further information about the School’s research themes can be found at and about the University’s CALIBRE framework at

Job Description


An international research project investigating the role of sport, cultural and educational programmes in delivering sustainable development. Led by Professor Richard Giulianotti (Loughborough University), the co-investigators are Dr James Esson (Loughborough University), Professor Martha Saavedra (University of California, Berkeley) and Dr Sagar Raj Sharma (University of Kathmandu, Nepal). The project is funded through the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through its ‘Development Frontiers’ initiative in partnership with the UK Department for International Development. The project is scheduled to begin on 1st October 2017.

The project investigates the role of sport, cultural and educational programmes in promoting sustainable development among young people in low- and middle-income countries, specifically to tackle poverty, conflict in fragile states, environmental sustainability, and gender inequality. These programmes are usually implemented by non-governmental organizations with support from other agencies.

The project has three broad aims: i) to enhance knowledge of these programmes with young people; ii) to improve programme efficacy in policy and practice; iii) to work with key stakeholders, to support these interventions, to secure social change. Comparative research will be conducted in three small nations: Cape Verde, Nepal and Timor Leste.

Data will be collected mainly through qualitative methods, including the innovative use of ‘participatory action research’ (PAR) to capture the voices of young people. The project team will work closely with a research liaison group of non-academic and academic partners to deliver research impacts. The project is strongly interdisciplinary, drawing in particular from the core disciplines of sociology, human geography, anthropology, and political science.

Job Family & Grade: Specialist & Supporting Academic Grade 6
Job Purpose: To undertake research on sport, cultural and educational programmes for promoting sustainable development, with colleagues at Loughborough and other Universities.

Job Duties

  • Undertake research (fieldwork and interviews) on sport, cultural and educational programmes in three international locations
  • Undertake additional research (interviews) with key organizational stakeholders
  • Undertake preparations for research that will be conducted in different international locations and with different research groups
  • Locate, analyse and interpret relevant policy documentation
  • Assist in the compilation and storing of statistical data, and documentary and secondary data
  • Assist in developing the project’s analytical framework
  • Contribute to the analysis of research data as appropriate
  • Contribute to writing project research reports
  • Jointly prepare research papers for publication in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Prepare presentations and reports including data presentations
  • Undertake continuous reviews of relevant developments in the scientific literature
  • Maintain the project website
  • Assist in delivering the project’s impact activities, including communications with the research liaison group and co-organising the end-of-award project symposium
  • Work effectively and flexibly as part of a project team, and with relevant administrative, technical and academic staff in the School and across the University
  • Engage in training programmes in the University that are consistent with the Research Associate’s needs and aspirations, and those of the project team and host School
  • Undertake other duties as may be reasonably requested, and that are commensurate with the nature and grade of the post

Points to Note

The purpose of this job description is to indicate the general level of duties and responsibility of the post. The detailed duties may vary from time to time without changing the general character or level of responsibility entailed.

Special Conditions

All staff have a statutory responsibility to take reasonable care of themselves, others and the environment and to prevent harm by their acts or omissions. All staff are therefore required to adhere to the University’s Health, Safety and Environmental Policy & Procedures.

All staff should hold a duty and commitment to observing the University’s Equality & Diversity policy and procedures at all times. Duties must be carried out in accordance with relevant Equality & Diversity legislation and University policies/procedures.

Successful completion of probation will be dependent on attendance at the University’s mandatory courses which include Respecting Diversity and, where appropriate, Recruitment and Selection.

Organisational Responsibility

Reports to Professor Richard Guilianotti, Professor of Sociology.

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