Senior Research Officer (Thriving Learners)

Do you want to work for an organisation that believes that prevention is fundamental to addressing the mental health crisis? If so, the Mental Health Foundation is recruiting for a Senior Research Officer post to lead our Thriving Learners study.   
This new research study into student mental health in Scotland aims to better understand the landscape of provision, ‘what works’ for promoting wellbeing, and what students want to enhance and promote their wellbeing.  This is a mixed methods study which will include a large-scale survey, qualitative interviews and participatory approaches including the development of a Learner Advisory Panel.  It is being delivered in partnership with Universities Scotland with funding from the Robertson Trust.    
Salary: starting salary £35,143 rising to £39,000 (pro-rata 0.8) 
2 year fixed term - secondments considered 
The Mental Health Foundation is a financially strong and expanding organisation. Our vision is good mental health for all, and prevention is at the heart of what we do. We place particular focus upon those who have greatest need. We use our knowledge, informed by rigorous research, to inform and work with policymakers, practitioners, communities, companies, and the media. We have pioneered change for 70 years and are not afraid to challenge the status quo. Come join us! 
This exciting and senior new research post is based in Glasgow and will take forward this exciting new study.  Reporting to the Head of Evidence and Impact and working closely with the Associate Director, you will work collaboratively with a range of partners to ensure the successful delivery of this ground breaking study.     
What are we looking for? Someone: 
• with strong research skills, particularly in quantitative data collection and analysis  
• ‎with excellent communication skills and credibility with stakeholders and partners 
• who understands public mental health and the role of research in influencing policy and practice  
• And who is passionate, focused, self-motivated and positive 
Why should you join our Mental Health Foundation?  
• 25 days annual leave, rising to 27 after 5 years of service  
• 9 days bank holiday (plus 3 discretionary Christmas leave days) 
• 3 annual wellbeing days 
• Generous non-contributory pension plan, up to 10% employer contribution  
• Various flexible working options  
• Enhanced Maternity pay 
• Season Ticket Loan 
• Cycle to work scheme 
The Foundation is fully committed to safeguarding all. Please note that all our roles require a Disclosure Scotland check.  
We are unable to provide sponsorship for this post.  In order to apply for this post, you must demonstrate your eligibility to work in the UK.   
Applications will close at 5:00pm on Wednesday 5 August 2020. Interviews are planned for w/c 17 August 2020.  
How to apply: Please send your application form to [email protected] with a completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form. Please note that all sections of this form should be completed as CVs will not be accepted.
Diversity is valued at the Foundation and is important in the work that we do. Applications from all sections of the community are welcome and will be considered on merit. Should you have a disability and require any additional support or if you have any questions regarding the above role, please contact us at [email protected]
For informal enquiries contact Julie Cameron at [email protected]   

Due to Covid-19 and until further notice, we are currently operating digital recruitment and on-boarding processes. The successful candidate may be required to work from home until such time as our offices re-open. We are open to consider flexible working and we are currently working on a proposal, based on staff consultation, about how a return to the office, planned for September, could look like. This may include having a blend of working in the office and working from home, to allow for social distancing to be put in place, as well as supporting staff wellbeing in longer term.

Job description

• To lead the Thriving Learners Study and meet key milestones on time and to budget.
• To take a leadership role, in supporting and reporting to the Thriving Learners Advisory Group and connecting to senior management within Scottish Universities and Colleges. 
• Support the Senior Management Team in Scotland to drive forward the Foundation’s Strategic Plan and Research Strategy.    
• Lead the analysis of data and co-ordinate and act as first author / editor for reports (substantive or technical).This Includes developing clear recommendations that will enable action to be implemented using a whole systems approach to the prevention, early intervention and support of learners mental health and wellbeing.
• Disseminate research outputs through a range of methods and channels including publications, peer reviewed articles, presentations and through social media to a variety of stakeholders. Present findings from Thriving Learners Study through dissemination and influencing activities to achieve policy and practice change. 
• Build, manage and support research team for Thriving Learners Study Including development and ongoing support for Learners Advisory Panel.
• Build and maintain excellent and collegiate working relationships with key staff within Scottish Universities and Colleges, Universities Scotland, Colleges Scotland, Robertson Trust and wider HE/FE system.
• To contribute to ensuring financial procedures are followed professionally, including supporting senior staff to develop and manage budgets and identify risks.
• To ensure all fieldwork is conducted in a timely and ethical way.  This will include finalising the design of the large-scale survey, leading the ethical approval process and undertaking mixed method research as well as supporting the wider team, including Learner Advisory Panel.  
• To ensure that the Thriving Learners Study is informed by the views and experiences of learners including those with lived experience of mental health problems and achieves significant impact.
• To ensure that Foundation policies and processes are followed in relation to project management,  including budget management, GDPR and ethical research practices.
• To manage the delegated budget and management accounts for own area 
• To work with external affairs and communication colleagues to help tell a persuasive story of the Thriving Learners evidence and research to engage and Influence a diverse range of audiences. 
• To act as a positive ambassador for the Foundation in all opportunities, including through presentations, teaching, media engagements and partnerships.
• To represent the Foundation at conferences, working groups, coalitions and at Scottish Parliament.
• Write content, articles and blogs on key issues and help in the development of external facing print and digital material around the Thriving Learners findings.
• Present and disseminate research including written reports, academic publications, and presentations to achieve policy and practice change.
• To promote and support the achievement of the Foundation’s mission, goals and values. 
• To maintain a high standard of probity in professional, personnel and financial matters, maintaining good relations with colleagues and external partners and to act in accordance with the foundation’s Code of Conduct and Dignity at Work policy.
• To uphold and promote the Foundation’s commitment to equality and diversity and the value of lived experience.
• To have due regard to safeguarding and health and safety issues for self, wider team and research participants. 
• To undertake any other duties as may reasonably be required.
This job description is not contractual and is liable to change over time.

Equal opportunities information

As an equal opportunities employer, we encourage applications from all sections of the community, whatever your background.

We value each and every person in our team and are very good at working with people. Our workforce is made up of talented individuals from all sections of the community and we are committed to providing a working environment that encourages, and is supportive of, workers with mental health problems. We therefore welcome applications from anyone with personal experience of mental distress or learning disabilities, and positively encourage people with experience of using mental health services to apply.

We believe the way in which we effectively work together will enable our charity to fulfil its mission.

This commitment to equality and diversity means that we benefit from the widest range of experience and talent, and are fully representative of the world in which we live. We aim to create a working environment in which everyone is treated in a non-discriminatory manner.

Recruitment agencies may be employed as appropriate. We ensure that all such agencies operate an equal opportunities policy comparable to that used by us.

Benefits of working for us

The Mental Health Foundation is a great place to work and offers generous benefits.

All our members of staff are entitled to the following benefits. Please note that some of the benefits are available after a qualifying probation period.


We consider it important to encourage people to save for their retirement and therefore we provide staff (after successful completion of a probation period) with a 10% pension contribution paid into an Age on Personal Pension. Contributions can be invested in a variety of funds according to your investment preference, or alternatively a default fund is available. Staff will also receive death in service life cover at four times salary.

Annual leave

Staff receive 25 days annual leave plus bank holidays.

Maternity/parental leave

Enhanced maternity/parenthood leave entitlements are in place, including extended maternity leave and benefits. Available after a qualifying period.

Flexible working/work life balance

The right to request flexible working is available to all employees. There are a number of different flexible working arrangements available throughout the organisation, which can be arranged by mutual consent.


We are required to make statutory sickness payments (SSP) where staff qualify. We also have our own sick pay scheme, including full pay for a period subject to certain conditions.

Employee Assistance Service

At times staff members may face and need help with a variety of issues throughout their lives. As part of our commitment to staff members we provide a 24/7 independent and confidential counselling and information telephone service, free of charge. Support is available on a range of issues including legal, financial, emotional, health issues and work-related concerns.

Season ticket loan

Interest free loans are available to purchase season tickets for the journey between home and work.

Cycle to Work Scheme

The Cycle to Work scheme is a UK Government tax exemption initiative introduced in the Finance Act 1999 to promote healthier journeys to work and to reduce environmental pollution. It allows employers to loan cycles and cyclists' safety equipment to employees as a tax-free benefit.

Through the scheme, employees will be able to purchase a bike of a value of up to £1,111, repaid over 18 months through deductions from your gross monthly salary. The loan will be interest free and the benefit will be offered after successful completion of the probationary period.