CfA: Post-doctoral Research Associate, The Open University


Unit :  Faculty of Arts and Social Science (FASS)
Salary :  £33,797
Location :  Milton Keynes
Please quote reference :  19413
Full time, FTC 36 months
Closing Date :  1 March, 2022 – 12:00

Change your career, change lives

The Open University is the UK’s largest university, a world leader in flexible part-time education combining a mission to widen access to higher education with research excellence, transforming lives through education.

The role

We are seeking a post-doctoral research associate to contribute to the European Research Council-funded project entitled REDEFINE – Re-orienting development: the dynamics and effects of Chinese infrastructure investment in Europe.

The research will enrich understanding of Chinese investments in European infrastructure projects. It will focus on the drivers of Chinese outward investment, the ways in which these investment projects interface with particular European contexts, and what the outcomes of these investments are for development at a range of scales. More broadly REDEFINE seeks to address what the implications of these new East-West relations are for geopolitics, global development and Europe’s place in the world. The project began in November 2020 and is due to be completed on the 31st November 2025.

Skills and experience

The successful candidate will have:

  • A PhD in a relevant social science discipline, including but not limited to human geography, planning, politics, international relations, sociology, economics, social anthropology, or development studies
  • Deep experience of studying the internationalization of Chinese economic and/or political activities:
  • Ideally be familiar with at least one of REDEFINE’s case study countries – UK, Greece, Hungary and Germany
  • Experience of collecting and analysing research data
  • The ability to work on your own initiative as well as working in inter-disciplinary teams
  • Experience of networking with both academic and non-academic stakeholders.

We welcome applications from overseas candidates.

The full summary of duties and person specification can be found within the Job Description.

If you would like to discuss this role before applying, please email

What you get in return

The position will provide the applicant with the opportunity to work on a prestigious ERC-funded project with an expert team led by an internationally-recognised scholar. They will have an opportunity to develop their skills as a researcher and to progress their research careers.  It will also provide the post holder with the opportunity to link with industry and stakeholders who are interested in the implications of growing Chinese engagement with Europe. Additional benefits include a supportive and friendly working environment, 33 days holiday per annum pro rata plus Bank Holidays and Christmas closure days and an attractive pension proposition.

How to apply

Unless otherwise stated in the advert, all applications are completed online via the OU Job’s page and following the instructions below and clicking the “APPLY NOW” link below. Applications submitted via 3rd party websites will not be considered. 

To apply for this role please submit the following as one document;

  • CV
  • Personal statement, up to 1,000 words. You should set out in your statement why you’re interested in this role and provide examples of where your skills and experience meet the required competencies for this role as detailed in the job description. Please detail if you have experience in one of the particular case study countries as this will help with our selection process.

The above documents will need to be submitted as one attachment during the application process, please include the personal statement followed by the CV in this document.

To ensure your file is uploaded to our system correctly, please make sure your document is saved with the following file name as appropriate to the vacancy you are applying for: 19413 surname, first initial.

Access details for disabled applicants are available from the Resourcing Hub, telephone: 01908 655544, or email, quoting vacancy reference 19413.

You will need to have your documents ready ahead of submitting the electronic application.


Remember to attach your CV and Personal Statement as ONE DOCUMENT.  

You will receive updates regarding your application from Please ensure this email address is added to your list of trusted senders. Please also keep an eye on your junk folder to ensure you do not miss any important updates regarding this role. 

You can view your application communications on the Candidate portal. 

Please note: If you have not heard from us within 2 weeks of the application closing date, please assume that on this occasion you have not been selected for interview, however we thank you for your interest in The Open University and encourage you to apply for future positions. 

Closing date:  12:00pm – March 1st 2022
Optional information :

Find out more about us and our mission by watching this short video (you will be taken to YouTube by clicking this link). 

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We value diversity and we recognise that different people bring different perspectives, ideas, knowledge and culture, and that this difference brings great strength. Applications from candidates with protected characteristics are welcomed. Where you start in life doesn’t dictate where you go.