Job description

We are seeking to appoint a Research Assistant as maternity cover to work on a national clinical trial using lay health workers to improve the uptake and completion of pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) by people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The IMPROVE trial – 


The successful candidate will join a team that has developed a ‘train the trainers’ package for respiratory physiotherapy teams. The physiotherapy teams will recruit, and train lay health workers. The lay health workers are people with COPD, the most common lung disease caused by smoking. They have completed pulmonary rehabilitation themselves and will be trained by the physiotherapists to support COPD patients newly referred for the treatment. We call the lay health workers PR-buddies.  


The Research Assistant will work in a multidisciplinary health research team with experts in community trials of innovative treatments and behaviour change techniques. The Research Assistant will work on the recruitment, liaison and support of participating sites, recruitment of participants, and all stages of data collection and analysis.  


The post offers the opportunity to work in a dynamic and supportive academic environment that will invest in the appointee’s personal development as a researcher. There will be opportunities to learn both quantitative and qualitative skills during the course of this research.  


About us

The trial team includes clinical trialists, a qualitative research expert, a health psychologist, a health economist, a statistician, and a trial manager. We developed the intervention in a feasibility study described in the publications linked here. The team is part of the Primary Care Research Group in the School.   


Applicants should hold a first degree and/or a health-related professional qualification. Research experience in a health or social care setting and familiarity with working with the public would be an advantage.


KCL Reporting Line: Patrick White, Chief investigator and Professor of Primary Care Respiratory Medicine, King’s College, London 


We consider all applications on merit and have a strong commitment to enhancing the diversity of our staff.  


This post will be offered on a fixed term contract until 12th February 2024 or on return of the substantive postholder 

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent


Key responsibilities

•       Work closely with the research team to deliver the IMPROVE trial - Improving life quality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by increasing uptake and completion of pulmonary rehabilitation with lay health workers: a cluster randomised controlled trial  

•        Support the trial sites in participant recruitment and delivery of the intervention including visiting trial sites and participants 

•        Contribute to data collection and entry and data quality assurance  

•        Assist with qualitative and questionnaire data collection  

•        Undertake on-going training and personal development as agreed with the chief investigator  

•        Show a commitment to enhancing Equality and Diversity, as well as commitment to the principles of the Athena Swan Charter.  

•        Contributing to reports to the funder and to scientific papers resulting from the trial 


The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.  

Skills, knowledge, and experience 

Essential criteria  

1.      Undergraduate degree or health-related professional qualification at degree level 

2.      Demonstrable experience in clinical research 

3.      Demonstrable experience of working with members of the public in a research capacity 

4.      Confident conducting interviews alone in the field  

5.      Committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion, and to actively addressing areas of potential bias 

6.      Willing to travel within the UK to visit trial sites and patient participants


Desirable criteria

7.      Research experience in a health or social care setting working with patients/service users 

8.      Previous experience of working with volunteers 

9.      Ability to deliver information effectively through presentations 


Candidates are strongly encouraged to specifically address the essential criteria outlined in the Person Specification in their covering letter. 

Further information

The selection process will include a panel interview and written task or presentation.  


The School of Life Course & Population Sciences is one of five Schools that make up the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine at King’s College London. The School unites over 400 experts in women and children’s health, nutritional sciences, population health and the molecular genetics of human disease. Our research links the causes of common health problems to life’s landmark stages, treating life, disease and healthcare as a continuum. We are interdisciplinary by nature and this innovative approach works: 91 per cent of our research submitted to the Subjects Allied to Medicine (Pharmacy, Nutritional Sciences and Women's Health cluster) for REF was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. We use this expertise to teach the next generation of health professionals and research scientists. Based across King’s Denmark Hill, Guy’s, St Thomas’ and Waterloo campuses, our academic programme of teaching, research and clinical practice is embedded across five Departments. 


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