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Researcher - Social Justice (Disability Focus)

About GDI Hub

The Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub) is a research and practice centre driving disability innovation for a fairer world that has grown rapidly to now operate in 40+ countries with more than 70 partners. We are the WHO Global Collaborating Center on AT, based at UCL.

Our vision is of a world without barriers to participation and equitable opportunity for all. We believe disability innovation is part of a bigger movement for disability inclusion and social justice. More than a product, a service or policy, disability innovation is a way of thinking to address disability challenges by co-designing solutions and sharing knowledge. We are solutions-focused experts in, Assistive & Accessible Technology, Inclusive Design, Inclusive Education Technology, Climate & Crisis Resilience and Cultural Participation. We stimulate entrepreneurship by developing bold approaches, partnerships and ecosystems to accelerate change.

We work across 5 domains, disrupting current ideas and practice by bring together new partnerships to overcome the barriers that exclusion and poverty creates in relation to disability. This role will be the lead for the highlighted aim, more can be found in the Disability Innovation Strategy:

  • Research: creating new knowledge, solutions and products
  • Innovation: growing inclusive innovation ecosystems
  • Programmes: testing what works
  • Teaching: learning and sharing knowledge
  • Advocacy: evidence-based outreach

Based in East London and a legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, we deliver world-class research, ideas and inventions, creating new knowledge, solutions and products, and shaping policy through co-creation, participation and collaboration. GDI Hub is composed of an Academic Research Centre (ARC) led by University College London (UCL) and a Community Interest Company (CIC) and is guided by an Advisory Board of disabled people. We currently have a diverse portfolio of work with a value of around £50million, are operational in 35 countries having reached 22 million people since we started counting in 2018.

GDI Hub values inclusion as a core business success factor. We actively seek to attract employees from diverse backgrounds and particularly welcome applications for this role from disabled people and people from all cultural and faith backgrounds. The role is offered on flexible terms, including location and hours of work (though right to work in the UK is required), and the accommodation of reasonable adjustments is business as usual for us.

Role Purpose

This role will undertake research (including research management; design; ethics; facilitation of participatory methods; other data collection activities; analysis; writing of reports and papers; and dissemination of research findings) within the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) funded ‘AT2030’ programme. The role will focus on a new research theme seeking to understand more about the links between access to Assistive Technology, Poverty and Disability Justice.

The aim of this 18 month research initiative, is to build on initial studies to seek to build a framework for Disability Justice which is operationally viable at a global and local level, and which seeks to address AT access within the conditions of precarity that many of the poorest disabled people find themselves living within. It is anticipated that this work will involve both secondary study and primary investigation; focused (mostly) on qualitative methods. The post would suit a post-grad / post-doc researcher with some practice based experience and a strong background in social justice/social development and a good grasp of qualitative research methods. However we also need a candidate with good project management skills, who can work autonomously and with a good sense of utilising research findings in real time programmes and projects. Candidates with Global South and Disability experience – both lived and work – are encouraged to apply.

‘AT2030 – Life Changing Assistive Technology for All’, is GDI Hub’s flagship programme and aims to test ‘what works’ to improve access to Assistive Technology supporting solutions to scale with a focus on innovative products, new service models, generating new insights and approaches and building global capacity.

Role Responsibilities

  • Support the design and planning of the research programme, with the programme lead (CEO)
  • Project manage the project and research process in line with the AT2030 programme requirements
  • Design and plan research methods
  • Conduct qualitative research (semi-structured interviews, observations, surveys) with participants (for instance AT users and disabled people living in the Global South); stakeholders (for instance global partners and academics);
  • Organise and hold workshops with stakeholders and partners
  • Ensure all data is conducted in line with ethical conduct of research, including informed consent collection and appropriate data handling
  • Analyse data using relevant analytical frameworks (e.g., Thematic analysis) to a rigorous academic standard
  • Write up key findings primarily for an academic audience through the writing of academic journal and conference papers
  • Contribute to and edit white papers, blogs and case studies
  • Develop and share communication materials with the Comms Team
  • Identify lessons learned and share with the wider team.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. The need for flexibility, shared accountability and team working is required and the role-holder is expected to carry out any other related duties that are within the employee's skills and abilities whenever reasonably instructed.

This is a description of the role as it is at present. It is the practice of GDI Hub to review role profiles regularly to ensure that they relate to the role being performed. These reviews will be carried out by the line manager in consultation with the role holder.

Role Competencies

Knowledge and experience

    • Post grad / PHD within social development, international development, disability, or social justice expertise
    • 3-5 years’ experience as a researcher within the social sector (ideally in focused on LMICs) or NGOs.
    • Experience collecting and analysing qualitative data
    • Track record of publishing qualitative or mixed methods papers and presenting finding at conferences or other fora.
    • A keen interest in disability / justice / AT with experience networking with stakeholders in these sectors.
    • An ability to build, develop and maintain relationships with a variety of stakeholders, showing diplomacy, sensitivity and decisiveness.
    • Experience working in small but complex teams is desirable, as is experience of working with academic institutions.
    • Experience working with international partners and stakeholders is desirable.
    • Experience working in global south is desirable.
    • Working knowledge of Disability, Assistive Technology, Inclusive Design and/or Social Development; sector networks is an advantage.

Skills and abilities

    • Excellent qualitive research skills including participatory methods
    • Able to collect data to an academic standard in-line with institutional ethical and data management procedures
    • Natural intuition to ‘look beyond the interview guide’ to explore unexpected topics as they appear during data collection
    • Skilled in many qualitative analytic methods
    • Ability to write up findings into academic journal and conference papers
    • Pre-existing knowledge of relevant academic literature
    • Ability to write up findings into blogs and whitepapers
    • Excellent communication skills, with an ability to convey key findings to technical and lay audiences alike
    • Participant management and impeccable organization skills
    • Proactive, self-motivated, committed and enthusiastic
    • Excellent ICT skills (Office365, incl. Excel, SharePoint, Teams, etc.)
    • High degree of integrity and ability to operate in a politically sensitive environment 

Personal style and behaviour

    • Bright and dynamic with a can-do attitude but careful attention to detail
    • Approachable and amiable
    • Practical and pragmatic
    • Likes working as part of a small, energetic team
    • Integrity and inclusive behaviours
    • Able to work independently, prioritise and work to tight deadlines
    • High degree of professionalism
    • Excellent presentation and communication skills

Responsible To


Position Type

18 months, full-time (flexible terms considered)


£30,000 – £40,000 p.a. depending on experience, plus other Benefits.


Flexible (our offices at UCL Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park but team members work in various locations). Must have right to work in UK.

Application Procedure

To express interest in this opportunity please submit your CV and 300-word covering note here no later than midnight (GMT) on 15th September 2022. We have made every effort to make this process accessible, however if for any reason you find it is not, please let us know and we will make an adjustment. We will review candidates on a rolling basis and the vacancy may be filled before this deadline. We encourage early applications. Please be advised that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

For an informal discussion about the role, please contact: Vicki Austin (after 1st September)

Applicants must have the right to work in the UK.

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