29 May 2015

Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland, Galway
Research Associate / Postdoctoral Researcher - ERC VOICES and EU PERSON
Deadline for application: 29 May 2015

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time, fixed term position as a Research Associate / Postdoctoral Researcher with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This position is funded by the European Research Council, the European Union and the Centre for Disability Law and Policy. It is available from 22 June 2015 to contract end date of 30 November 2018.

The Centre for Disability Law and Policy was established in 2008 and is part of the School of Law, and the newly-founded Institute for Lifecourse and Society at the National University of Ireland, Galway. It is dedicated to producing research that informs debate on national and international disability law reform.
Job description
The successful candidate will provide senior research support to the Principal Investigator on three projects:
• VOICES (Voices Of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination) 
• PERSON (Partnership to Ensure Reform of Supports in Other Nations)
• Access to Justice for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities Project.

VOICES is a three and a half year project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) which aims to make visible the experiences of people with disabilities who have been denied legal capacity. The project will take a radical approach to develop new law reform ideas based on the concept of ‘universal legal capacity’.

PERSON is in its second two year phase and is funded by the EU Directorate General Enlargement. The project aims to increase competencies of Balkan Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on both regional and national levels to strategically advocate and monitor legal capacity reforms affecting persons with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities.

The Access to Justice project is funded by EU Directorate General Justice and provides research and training around access to civil justice for adults with intellectual disabilities in 5 EU countries.
The Research Associate / Postdoctoral Researcher will be also expected to contribute to the broader ongoing research mission of the Centre.

• Support the Principal Investigator and members of the VOICES Advisory Group to develop the theoretical framework for the research project, addressing issues such as the definition of an exercise of legal capacity, justifiable limits on individual agency and the distinctions between capacity and consent.
• Work collaboratively with the Principal Investigator to develop and support the research of people with lived experience of legal capacity denials and allied academics, activists and professionals, to develop narratives and critical responses throughout the VOICES project.
• Develop framing research questions for each of the VOICES workshops (on criminal responsibility, consent, and contract) and provide research support to all workshop participants.
• Oversee and assist with the compilation of a database of potential participants, to include participants with lived experience. 
• Support the preparation of a comprehensive overview of existing research and laws, law reform processes, and concepts relating to legal capacity. 
• Gather and analyse data from individuals, who self-identify as disabled, on their personal narratives about experiences in exercising, or being denied, legal capacity. 
• Support the construction of critical legal and social policy responses to the lived realities of people with disabilities in previously unexamined areas of law.
• Support the design, implementation, management and administration of all aspects of VOICES activities – for example: interviews, workshops, events and communications.
• Support in the provision of information to the VOICES team and interviewees about the project and its proceedings (e.g. minutes of meetings, timelines, deliverables, logistics).
• Contribute to the VOICES project blog.

• Research international and comparative law reform processes on legal capacity. 
• Liaise with partner organisations and International Advisory Board in advancing legal capacity reform.
• Support the planning for partner countries domestic reform, including seminars and workshops.
• Provide regular updates to the PERSON websites/blog.
• Attend and represent the Centre at scheduled PERSON events.
• Draft all narrative funder reports and support in the preparation of financial reporting to the European Commission.

ACCESS to JUSTICE project 
• Gather data for a comprehensive overview of existing research on the barriers to accessing justice faced by people with intellectual disabilities in Europe, and prepare training and education materials for relevant stakeholders in the justice system.

• Contribute to ongoing research projects in the Centre.
• Collaborate with other members of the research team to complete legislative and policy submissions on behalf of the Centre.
• Assist the PI and the Business and Strategic Development Manager of the Centre in preparing funding proposals.

Qualifications and experience 
Candidates should have a track record in a research environment with a strong background in disability law and policy or related studies. Proven expertise in human rights standards in the field of legal capacity is essential. Published research on disability law or policy issues, ideally in the area of legal capacity, is required. Applicants must have a primary degree, ideally a Masters degree, in law, social policy or an area relevant to disability. Candidates must have a PhD (or 4 years research experience post qualification) in the field of legal capacity law and policy or narrative inquiry research with people with lived experience of intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, dementia or mental health experience.

The ideal candidate will have research experience of collaborative work with people with a lived experience of legal capacity denial and/or knowledge of epistemic storytelling and narrative methodologies. Experience of advocacy and campaigning, including strategic use of social media is preferred.

Applications from people with lived experience of disability and those who have supported peers with disabilities are particularly welcome. Applications are also welcome from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds – including ethnography, anthropology, ethics, sociology, history, psychology, law and public policy.

Candidates should have excellent communication and organizational skills; be highly motivated and passionate about disability studies and human rights; and have strong documentation, oral and interpersonal skills. 

NB: Gárda clearance is a requirement for this post

Salary: €37,750 - 46,255 per annum (public sector pay policy rules pertaining to new entrants will apply)
Start date: Position is available from 22 June 2015.
Information on moving to Ireland. 

How to apply
Applications should include a covering letter and CV, via e-mail (in separate Word or PDF documents only) to J.B. Terrins, jb.terrins@nuigalway.ie
Please put reference number NUIG 068-15 in subject line of e-mail application.

Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm on Friday 29 May 2015.

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