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Material Cultures Researcher

Salary notes: 
£170/ day
Job/scheme locations: 
Bethnal Green, London
Type of opportunity: 
Immediate job
Application deadline: 

Contract Type: Fixed Term: April 2021 to 30 Sept 2021
Hours: Part-time, 24 hours per week

Job summary 

We are seeking to employ a mixed methods Researcher to join a multi-disciplinary team, as part of the research project: Assessing the Potential of Circular Biobased Construction in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber led by Material Cultures and ARUP and funded by North Yorkshire County Council, Contract ID- DN524293. The successful applicant will work closely with the existing Project Team and will be expected to start in April 2021. The project concludes on the 30th of September 2021. 

Our organization: 

Material Cultures brings together design, research and action towards a post-carbon built environment. Inherently integrative, the design-led research integrates material science, engineering, systems thinking, digital technologies and architectural design with a direct, active and practical approach. 

Our partner: 

Arup is a British multinational professional services firm headquartered in London which provides engineering, architecture, design, planning, project management and consulting services for all aspects of the built environment.

The overall aim of this project is to assess the potential level of deployment of circular bio-based construction in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, and to establish a high-level route to construction delivery against maximised capacity. The project requirements can be found here in detail. 

This research project will 

  • Take a holistic view of the construction supply chain in the Region including, but not limited to, feedstocks, materials, design, commissioning and contracting, construction, monitoring and evaluation
  • Provide a quantitative analysis of the potential to increase use of bio-based materials alongside circular construction methods 
  • Provide verifiable estimates of the economic, social and environmental impact of such increases on the region (e.g. jobs created/protected, resilience of local supply chains, social value impacts, health impacts, community uplift, carbon impacts, other environmental impacts). 

Duties and responsibilities 

You will assist in managing stakeholder interviews, data collection and recording. You will also be responsible for conducting statistical data analyses, data management, and preparing presentations, reports, and papers for publication. You will be expected to travel, when reasonable and safe to do so, for meetings and interviews within the region. 

You will lead on Material Cultures’ primary objectives on this project, in summary: 

  • Mapping the existing capacity within the region,
  • Outlining the feasible potential and
  • Proposing actions to meet this potential (including identifying potential demonstrator projects)
  • Identifying existing knowledge gaps

This is a rewarding position within a team of multi-disciplinary collaborators. The results of the study will inform the policy agenda of a region leading the way towards supporting a post-carbon built environment. 

Specifically, the post holder will carry out the following duties: 


To work as part of the Project Team by participating in and contributing to: 

  • weekly team meetings; 
  • collaborative workshops; 
  • writing findings and preparing them for publication; 
  • collaborative and shared datasets; 
  • a virtual working environment; 
  • where feasible and safe, work at our Bethnal Green offices 

Research and Scholarship 

  • Keep up to date with developments in the academic subject areas of the project 
  • Contribute to the collection and entry in a shared database of academic publications related to the project and documents 
  • Organise, plan and undertake interviews; 
  • Enter, and analyse data in a shared database; 
  • Co-develop methods as may be necessary to achieve the objectives of the research, particularly regarding data collection, data management and analysis, fieldwork protocols, demonstrations and exhibitions; 
  • Co-develop innovative means of engagement, demonstration and exhibition; 
  • Travel to key manufacturers, stakeholders and archives as necessary to undertake and showcase research. 


  • Prepare monthly reports on research and interviews and reconstructions for Project Team meetings; 
  • Assist with the management and contribute to the content of project promotional material including website and social media platforms; 

Planning and managing resources 

  • Be responsible for planning and managing assigned tasks, associated costs and schedule, under the direction of the project lead 
  • Conduct assigned thematic analysis, interviews and research without direct supervision

Essential requirements

We are looking to recruit a highly motivated, enthusiastic and creative candidate who is able to deliver to deadlines, and work and communicate regularly with team members at both Material Cultures and ARUP. 

You should have an MA or MSc in one of the following areas: bio-based materials, construction economics and management, sustainable construction, sustainable building materials and structures, sustainable design and building technology, circular economies, or an alternative quantitative discipline. We are also open to suggestions of relevant alternative experience and subject expertise. 

You should have strong skills and some experience in managing complex databases, and statistical analysis. You should also have very good presentation and organisational skills and be able to liaise with the wider team and work to deadlines.

Expertise, knowledge and experience of mixed-methods research are necessary. The role includes coordination with a wide group of team members and experience of qualitative and quantitative methods. The role also involves conducting a literature review, qualitative interviews, data analysis and research paper drafting. 


Material Cultures are committed to creating a positive and inclusive environment where everyone feels respected and free to work without fear of any forms of discrimination. We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our practice. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. We welcome applications from people requiring flexible working terms and from anyone with any professional or educational background. If you’ve got any questions about our working environment please get in touch.

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More about this vacancy

Number of vacancies: 
Up to 5