[CLOSED] @AutisticaUK, Research Director, ??50k+, CLOSED 3 Oct 2011

Although no-one’s ever actually asked me “Why do you post jobs that are closed?” I thought I’d pre-empt the question anyway. 

This blog is about capturing job descriptions and person specifications so that people who are trying to find out about the various #scicomm and related options, or who want to see what skills are needed to move to their next (or next but one) job can do so at their leisure, and without having to wait for a particular job type to come on the market. Jobs are advertised for a short space of time (couple of weeks to a month and a half) and then the information disappears. This has always bothered me.

Quite often jobs are posted here at the same time as they are actually available but I think of this as a database of old job descriptions and any resemblance to a jobs board is purely coincidental 😉 The difference is that jobs posted here stay here after their closing date has passed.


Autistica UK

Research Director


Research Director

Salary: upwards of ??50,000 per annum (pro rata for part time) negotiable, depending on qualifications and experience

Location:Home based with occasional travel required to London

Autistica is the UK???s leading charity dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families, through funding autism research.  The charity works with those affected by autism, health professionals and researchers to develop and share expertise in the underlying causes of the condition. Ultimately our aim is the development of treatments and therapies that will enable individuals with autism to lead fulfilled and productive lives.

The charity is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) and a partner organisation of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This is an exciting time for the charity as it seeks to raise its profile and increase the funding available for research. Awareness of autism has increased considerably of late and autism research is fast developing and is in a highly productive phase with advances in understanding gathering pace.  The new Research Director will join a team dedicated to making a difference to people with autism and will have the opportunity to develop the role in a number of innovative ways.

Autism is a lifelong disorder that arises from atypical development and functioning of the brain. It is characterised by difficulties in social interaction and communication and a tendency to engage in unusual or repetitive behaviours. Many individuals and their families struggle to cope with the condition and at its most severe individuals will require lifelong care.

Around 1 in a 100 people has an autism spectrum disorder yet its causes and nature have until recently been poorly understood. Although research spending has historically been low in comparison to other conditions with similar impact, this is an exciting time for autism research with significant advances in funding and discovery over the last 5 years. The UK is well placed to build on our expanding knowledge base and Autistica has ambitious plans to invest in research that will make a real difference to people with autism and their families.

A copy of Autistica???s Research Strategy together with a list of funded projects can be found here.

Current priority projects are as follows:

The British Autism Study of Infant Siblings

The BASIS network is led by Professor Mark Johnson of Birkbeck College and is one of Autistica???s flagship programmes that has yielded high quality results and generated as many as 26 further research projects. It is a 7 year study which enables scientists to investigate the very early development of at risk siblings of children already diagnosed with autism. Autistica has been instrumental in securing and providing funding for the core infrastructure and research team and is now seeking funding for the final 3 years of the study.

The Brain Bank for Autism and Related Developmental Research

Post mortem brain research is essential to identify subtle differences in the brains of individuals with ASD. Autistica has provided the start up costs and is continuing to support the brain bank at Oxford, which is working closely with the Autism Tissue Programme in the US. The brain bank is working closely with families to discuss the benefits of brain donation and brain tissue is provided to researchers who can advance our understanding of autism.

Wales Autism Research Centre

Autistica is supporting the Wales Autism Research Centre at the University of Cardiff through its funding of the first Chair of Autism Research. Professor Sue Leekham is establishing strong research networks in Wales where collabor
ative working between families, educators and government are helping deliver the Welsh Assembly???s Strategic Action Plan for autism.

The Research Director at Autistica is a developing role with scope for the individual to make a substantial contribution as the charity seeks to develop a broader appeal and work more closely with the autism community. This is a senior position within Autistica and involves close working with the Chief Executiveincluding significant input on a strategic and ???research development??? level. A key relationship will be with the Chair of the Scientific Review Panel, which will be taking on a broader remit to help provide a breadth of advice to Autistica as it develops its priorities for future funding.

The post holder will play a crucial role in ensuring Autistica funds and commissions first class research, which can lead to the development of better treatment options and better understanding of the condition for those affected by autism. They will need to be able to work across a range of academic disciplines within the neuropsychological and biomedical research fields and have overall responsibility for research governance. This will include overseeing the application process, managing peer review and being responsible for the day to day management of the grant portfolio. A newly created post of Grant Manager (already in place) will mean much of the day to day administration can be delegated, leaving the post holder free to concentrate on the more value added aspects of the role.

An important part of the post will be external facing, helping to raise awareness of the need for autism research, and the particular role that Autistica plays in this. There will also be a need to work collaboratively with government and other agencies to ensure that autism research in the UK has a strong focus and strategy for delivering results for the autism community. To underpin this work, the Research Director, working closely with the International Development Director, will also take the lead on developing new mechanisms to support user/family involvement in selecting and prioritising research projects within the context of Autistica???s Science Strategy and our evolving public engagement work.  The Research Director will also work with the Communications Director to help ensure the research we are funding is relevant and accessible to our supporters.

Closing date for applications: 3 October 2011

To apply: Applications should be made by sending your CV with a detailed covering letter outlining your interest in the position and your suitability for the post, to Katie Hall.  Interviews are expected to take place mid-October.

Closing Date: 3 October 2011

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