University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Research Associate (Fixed Term)

An opportunity has arisen for a statistician with an interest in methods development to join Dr Stephen Burgess's research group based at the MRC Biostatistics Unit in Cambridge. The mission statement of the group is "developing statistical methods to use genetic variation to answer clinically important questions about disease aetiology and prevention". The three broad aims of the group are to develop statistical methods, run applied analyses that address important clinical questions, and disseminate methods in the area of Mendelian randomization, defined as the use of genetic variants to investigate causal risk factors for disease outcomes.

Depending on the interests and skills of the post holder, the role could focus on any combination of the following: i) embarking on a major methodological project in a major substantive area of relevance to Mendelian randomization; ii) addressing several smaller methodological questions of applied relevance to the practice of Mendelian randomization; iii) leading complex applied analyses. The post holder will be expected to play a major role in the work of the research group, through the conduct of research, introduction of new ideas, dissemination of research results, and the support and training of others. The post holder will be vital to the success of the group, and will have an important role in influencing the direction of the group's research.

Part of the funding for the post comes from a MRC Therapeutic Target Validation in Mental Health grant on the causes of schizophrenia. The work included in this grant would require performing a Mendelian randomization analysis for schizophrenia. We would encourage applications from candidates with bioinformatics skills, as we hope to use primary care records to identify schizophrenia patients and so increase power for this analysis.

The MRC Biostatistics Unit (, located in Cambridge, undertakes research on statistical methods and their application to the design, analysis and interpretation of biomedical studies, to advance understanding of the cause, natural history and treatment of disease, and to evaluate public health strategies.

Stephen Burgess also holds a joint appointment with the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, part of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care. This will enable the post holder to have collaborative links with world-leading epidemiologists and geneticists working on Mendelian randomization analyses in the area of cardiovascular medicine.

By the time they take up the appointment, the successful applicant will have a PhD (or equivalent) in a strongly quantitative subject, ideally statistics. Experience of leading methodological or complex applied projects would be desirable. An understanding of genomics and/or causal inference would be advantageous but not essential; full training will be given. In particular, no prior knowledge of genetics is required. Most important are an inquisitive mind and the desire to develop and apply statistical methodology to questions of substantive biological importance and disease relevance. The successful applicant will be supported in their career development with a range of formal courses and on-the-job training.

For an informal discussion about this post, please contact

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

The post is full-time but applications are welcome from those who would like to work flexibly.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 9th February with interviews expected to take place 24th February.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a covering letter in the Upload section of the online application. The covering letter should outline how you match the criteria for the post and why you are applying for this role. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

Please include details of your referees, including e-mail address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager

Please quote reference SL22059 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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

Further information

Apply online