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The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome (MLW)Programme ( is an internationally recognised centre for research and research training, funded by the Wellcome Trust. In collaboration with the University of Malawi, College of Medicine (COM), MLW would like to engage the services of a competent and dynamic individual to work in an exciting Research Programme (MARVELS Study) at the MLW Research facility as it is expanding.

Social Scientist - 1 post, based in Blantyre (initial 1 year contract with potential for further extensions)

Job Summary

CHIM research is a type of research design that can be used to develop new vaccines and understand how infections work in the body. MLW is preparing for research with approach in Malawi, building on experience of CHIM research with experimental human pneumococcal carriage (EHPC) in the UK. We now plan a feasibility study to determine the dose of bacteria required to establish EHPC in Malawi and to confirm safety and acceptability of procedures.

Participants will be monitored closely including provision of accommodation for three nights immediately following exposure to pneumococcus. We require a field worker to reside with participants and act as a primary point of contact in the unlikely event that a safety issue arises. The field worker will be trained in study procedures to identify potential issues and escalate to study clinicians appropriately.

CHIM research poses particular questions around acceptability and ethics. During the EHPC feasibility research, we need to understand acceptability in the Malawi context, and how potential future studies could be designed to maximise acceptability for different stakeholders and to ensure ethical practice in this setting. There will be opportunity for the Social Scientist to conduct social science research in parallel with their primary participant supervisory role under the supervision of a postdoctoral research associate. Social science research activities will include contribution to data collection and analysis and support project administration and organisation. The social scientist will be supported to develop their skills in qualitative bioethics and social science research.

Main responsibilities

The appointee will be expected to take primary responsibility for participant engagement and advertisement activities and monitoring the well-being of participants in the residential accommodation phase of the study. The appointee will be resident during this phase and take responsibility for orientation of participants and explanation of study procedures. The appointee will communicate closely with study clinicians during this phase to ensure participant comfort and safety. The work pattern will be flexible with compensatory rest days following residential phases and protected time for social science research activities. The applicant will work closely with the social science line manager to devise appropriate research work streams (to be agreed with the MARVELS chief investigator).

The specific responsibilities will include but not be limited to the following:

  • Providing residential orientation, monitoring and care for participants for three nights following exposure to pneumococcal bacteria
  • Understanding and be competent in study safety procedures
  • Integrating closely with team members to develop a thorough understanding of relevant study processes
  • Taking responsibility for study advertisement and potential participant engagement activities
  • Devising an appropriate stream of social science research activities to inform potential future EHPC studies.
  • Exploring ancillary research questions that can inform the development of ethical frameworks that researchers, ethics committees and health policy makers could use to inform thinking about new CHIM proposals.
  • Undertaking focus group discussions and interviews, working in collaboration with other investigators to ensure smooth conduct, reflection and improvement.
  • Data management, including working with MLW’s Senior Transcription and Translation Coordinator to arrange transcription and translation and ensure high quality, including undertaking some transcription and translation
  • Ensuring data security, including confidentiality and safe backup.
  • Ensuring ethical conduct of research and support ethics governance, including documenting informed consent and organising the Investigator Site File.
  • Data analysis, including coding, and potential involvement in writing academic articles.
  • Contributing to design of community and public engagement and collaborate with MLW’s Science Communication team.
  • Taking responsibility for organisational, budgetary and logistical tasks.
  • Monitoring and communicating progress, maintain workplan and ensure timely completion of tasks.

Person Specification
  • Masters degree in a relevant social science, ethics or public health discipline
  • Nursing qualification and clinical nursing experience
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and interest in research ethics and social science.
  • At least 2 years of research experience
  • Experience in qualitative research including interviews and focus groups.
  • Experience in managing fieldwork and a research project
  • Experience of qualitative analysis, including qualitative data analysis packages (e.g. NVIVO)
  • Experience in presenting research results at national/international conferences
  • Sensitivity to cultural differences and the ability to relate to people from a variety of backgrounds, including policy makers, clinicians and community members
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Excellent organisational and administrative skills, with high level of attention to detail
  • Ability to work in resource-constrained settings and efficient use of resources
  • Demonstrated commitment to and enthusiasm for a research career
  • Commitment and willingness to promote high quality social science, ethical research practice and community engagement with research in Malawi

For more detailed information of the job, please visit the MLW website,  or request via the email below.

Remuneration and Benefits

MLW offers an attractive remuneration package which includes a competitive salary package commensurate with the position, a medical aid scheme, 24 hours insurance cover, pension scheme, gratuity benefits redeemable once every year, among others.
MLW also offers opportunities such as scholarships, upgrading and training opportunities to employees. These are based on successful on job performance and other set criteria.

How to apply

Suitably qualified candidates should forward their applications with copies of relevant certificates, 3 contactable referees and a detailed CV to the address below or email to:


The Human Resource Manager
Malawi-Liverpool –Wellcome Trust
P.O. Box 30096
Blantyre 3

To arrive no later than the 14th September 2019, only short-listed candidates will be acknowledged.

Skills Required

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  • Type
    Full Time
  • Positions
  • Apply Before
    15 Sep, 2019

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