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Research Associate : Responsible Research and Innovation in Synthetic Biology
Oxford Road, Manchester

Job reference: HUM-08184

Location: Oxford Road, Manchester

Closing date (DD/MM/YYYY): 15/06/2016

Salary: £30,738 per annum

Employment type: Fixed Term

Faculty/Organisation: Humanities

School/ Directorate: Alliance MBS - IMP Division

Hours per week: Full time

Contract Duration: 36 months

We seek to appoint a Research Associate to work with the Responsible Research and Innovation Group that is embedded with the Manchester Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SYNBIOCHEM) at The University of Manchester. The PDRA will be housed at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Alliance Manchester Business School, under the supervision of Professor Philip Shapira.

You will undertake research in three interrelated areas: (1) Practices for responsible research and innovation in synthetic biology, including understanding the effects and implications of embedding responsible research and innovation in the SYNBIOCHEM research centre and innovation network which is dedicated to leading-edge emerging technology development in synthetic biology; (2) Real-time research and innovation assessment of emerging domains of innovation related to the centre’s technologies. Initially, this work will focus on analyses related to the end-to-end assessment of SYNBIOCHEM industrial targets in flavours and fragrances, including analyses of relevant research and innovation landscapes, competition and markets, sustainability, responsibility, and regulatory, policy and consumer aspects. Methods developed in this end-to-end assessment will subsequently be applied to other SYNBIOCHEM industrial targets; and (3) A research theme proposed by the Research Associate broadly within the domain of responsible research and innovation in the context of synthetic biology. Potential themes could include synthetic biology commercial applications and innovation pathways, life-cycle and sustainability, ethics, equity, risk, legal, and regulatory issues, or engagement and deliberation. You will also support the RRI Group in other activities, including related to RRI engagement, training, and workshops. 

This PDRA will support a rising scholar who seeks to develop leading-edge research related to the governance of emerging technologies and responsible research and innovation and who is keen to engage in a multidisciplinary team environment. The successful candidate will have a commitment to research and publication and also to engagement. This PDRA is open to applicants from diverse educational backgrounds, including public policy and politics, science studies, social science, management and economics, science and engineering, information technology, health and life sciences, and environmental studies. Applicants who combine disciplines, for example life sciences at the undergraduate level with social sciences at the doctoral level are encouraged to consider this opportunity. However, we will also consider candidates with other combinations of qualifications. Applicants with either qualitative or quantitative (or a mix of) methodological research skills will be considered. The PhD is expected to be completed prior to commencing PDRA employment.

The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research is a world leading centre for the study of science and innovation policy and management. Our 45 members of staff and 50 doctoral students build on more than five decades of interdisciplinary science, technology and innovation studies in Manchester. Our research, teaching and engagement activities are based upon a guiding principle of excellence, both in terms of academic rigour and societal relevance. The Alliance Manchester Business School is the UK's largest campus-based business and management school. In 2014 the Research Excellence Framework (REF) ranked us 2nd in the UK for research power. The Manchester Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SYNBIOCHEM) is focused on delivering Synthetic Biology (SynBio) solutions that provide innovative, fast, predictable and robust production routes for diverse fine and speciality chemicals with applications across many industrial sectors (e.g. healthcare, energy, agrichemicals, green chemistry, pharmaceuticals, novel materials and bioremediation). SYNBIOCHEM is funded by the BBSRC/EPSRC and is housed in the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology. The SYNBIOCHEM Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) Group undertakes research and analysis and facilitates collaboration and deliberation to support the SYNBIOCHEM centre to anticipate, prepare for, or mediate impacts of synthetic biology technologies in society, economy, and the environment. The RRI Group comprises an interdisciplinary team of social scientists and economists, and is embedded in the centre and is networked nationally and internationally. The RRI Group’s research and work plan embraces real time assessment and anticipation, industrial systems analysis, ethics and deliberation, practices, collaborative development and engagement, and innovation and policy impacts. The University of Manchester enjoys a reputation for ground-breaking research and innovation. We are located in the heart of Manchester, the current European City of Science.

In the Additional Information section of the application form, please include discussion of your capabilities, experience, and interests related to responsible research and innovation, research and innovation in emerging technologies, and your own proposed research theme.

The University of Manchester values a diverse workforce and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:

Name: Professor Philip Shapira


General enquiries:


Tel: 0161 275 4499

Technical support:


Tel: 01565 818 234

This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date.

Further Particulars


The closing date for this job has now passed.