The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome (MLW)Programme (http://www.mlw.medcol.mw) 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)
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.
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: