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Research Associate in the Communication of Uncertainty (Fixed Term)


Applications are invited for a postdoctoral researcher to join the new Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication and the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab to study judgement under uncertainty, particularly with respect to the contested nature of societal trust in "facts" and how to effectively communicate uncertainty in a "post-truth" society. The appointment is specifically devoted to advancing our understanding of the basic psychological dimensions underlying public reactions to uncertainty about evidence on one hand, and experimentally evaluating ways to effectively communicate uncertainty to diverse audiences and decision-makers, on the other. Areas that may be studied include climate change, public health, medicine, immigration, fracking, GMOs, and nuclear waste.

This post is administered by the new Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge. This cross-disciplinary Centre is based in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics and aims to become a leading global hub for the transparent communication and improved public understanding of risk and quantitative evidence. Dr Alexandra Freeman is the Executive Director and Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter is the Chair of the Management Board. This unique post is offered in close collaboration with Cambridge's renowned Department of Psychology, where the post-holder will be housed and supervised, under the guidance of Dr. Sander van der Linden, Director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab.

The post-holder will study how people evaluate risk, uncertainty, and evidence, and how best to communicate this information to diverse audiences. The ideal candidate will have a range of research skills, including reviewing literature; designing and implementing experimental and correlational studies; and analysing complex data. The research will comprise a mixture of "basic" questions about general principles of judgment and decision-making and "applied" studies of the optimum format for communicating particular information to particular groups (e.g. public, professionals, policy-makers). You will work on a range of projects developed in collaboration with a wide array of external partners, and will contribute to setting research directions and priorities.

The post-holder must have a PhD in Psychology, behavioural science, or a closely related discipline, and have demonstrable experience of reviewing, conducting, analysing, and interpreting studies of human psychology. This should include working independently to prepare experimental tasks, recruiting and running heterogeneous participant samples, and using a range of statistical techniques for data analysis. The ideal candidate will have experience with diverse psychological and behavioural science research methods, sophisticated data analysis skills, knowledge of the literature regarding the psychology of human decision-making and risk/evidence communication, and a real enthusiasm for doing work which will have a practical impact.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 1 year.

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply' button below. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

With your application, please upload a full curriculum vitae, list of publications, and a one page statement of research interests and future plans. The contact details of at least two academic referees will be required. Please ensure that your referees are aware that they will be contacted by the Mathematics HR Office Administrator to request that they upload a reference for you to our Web Recruitment System, and please encourage them to do so promptly.

The closing date for applications is 1st May 2017. If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact LF11782@maths.cam.ac.uk.

Academic enquiries can be directed to Dr Sander van der Linden (sander.vanderlinden@psychol.cam.ac.uk).

The date for interviews is expected to be 15th May 2017.

The University of Cambridge values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. The Department would particularly welcome applications from women, since women are, and have historically been, underrepresented on our research staff.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online