21 February 2017

National University of Ireland, Galway
Research Associate / Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy

Deadline for application: 3 March 2017 

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 and the Centre for Disability Law & Policy at the National University of Ireland Galway. It is available from March 2017 to contract end date of 30th November 2018.
Job description
The successful candidate will provide senior research support to the Principal Investigator on two legal capacity projects - VOICES (Voices Of Individuals: Collectively Exploring Self-determination) and the Civil Society Coalition on Legal Capacity Reform.

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’. 

The Civil Society Coalition on Legal Capacity Reform comprises over 15 NGOs in Ireland working in the fields of disability, mental health and ageing. The Coalition was instrumental during the development of Ireland’s Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015, and is currently following subsequent legislative developments deemed necessary to facilitate Ireland’s ratification of the CRPD.

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 with the ongoing development of the project’s unique participatory methodology and research outputs, addressing issues such as contractual capacity, consent to treatment, criminal responsibility and consent to sex.
• 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.
• 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.
• Prepare legislative submissions, press releases and support the drafting of legislative amendments in respect of the Disability (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2016 and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015.
• Co-ordinate the Coalition’s mailing list and where required, support presentations to various Oireachtas Committees on proposed legislative reform.
• Prepare and deliver training and information sessions to civil society organisations on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015.

• 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 Deputy Director and the Business Manager of the Centre in preparing funding proposals.

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 Master’s 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 organisational skills; be highly motivated and passionate about disability studies and human rights; and have strong documentation, oral and interpersonal skills.

Essential requirements
• Evidence of excellent research and writing skills in the field of disability and human rights (with proven expertise on the subject of legal capacity).
• Demonstrable knowledge of the United Nations’ work on the rights of persons with disabilities, particularly on the topic of legal capacity.
• Experience and proven ability to both work collaboratively with a research team, and to work independently and use initiative.
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
• Evidence of ability to multi-task and work under pressure.
• Demonstrable ability to collaborate and co-ordinate with other members of a research team.
• Sensitive to disability and mental health issues.
• Fluency in oral and written English.

Desirable requirements
• Experience of emancipatory, inclusive or participatory research in the field of disability studies; narrative inquiry methodology or survivor-led research.
• Experience in working on collaborative research projects involving persons with disabilities, mental health service users/survivors of psychiatry, autistic people or people with dementia.
• Experience in advocacy and campaigning on disability law and policy reform, including engagement with media, civil society, academia and policy-makers.

NB: Gárda clearance is a requirement for this post.

Continuing professional development/Training
Researchers at NUI Galway are encouraged to avail of a range of training and development opportunities designed to support their personal career development plans.

To apply
Applications must include:
• 2,000 word research statement analysing the right to legal capacity in the context of one of the four thematic areas of the VOICES research project: contractual capacity, criminal responsibility, consent to treatment or consent to sex.
• Cover letter.
• Full Curriculum Vitae to include the names and contact details of three referees.

via e-mail (in separate Word or PDF documents only) to Joanna Forde joanna.forde@nuigalway.ie. Please put reference number NUIG 033-17 in subject line of email application.

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