NUIG-049-19, Research Assistant/Research Associate in Public engagement, Cell EXPLORERS Outreach Programme, School of Natural Sciences
NUI Galway

NUIG-049-19, Research Assistant/Research Associate in Public engagement, Cell EXPLORERS Outreach Programme, School of Natural Sciences NUI Galway

NUI Galway

Galway, Ireland

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time, fixed term position as a Research Assistant/Research Associate with the Cell EXPLORERS outreach programme in the School of Natural Sciences at the National University of Ireland, Galway. This position is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and is available from 28th May 2019 to 31st December 2020 (19 months).


Cell EXPLORERS is a science education and outreach programme ( delivering science activities regionally and nationally. Coordinated by the research team at NUI Galway, the Cell EXPLORERS programme operates as a network of partner teams based at 13 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Ireland. All partner teams in the network use the same unique model for sustainable STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) public engagement in HEIs where local scientist volunteers (undergraduate/postgraduate students and/ or staff researchers) deliver outreach activities to school children and the Irish public in the community. It has the dual benefit of engaging the public in science whilst also developing key graduate student attributes and researchers’ public engagement skills in a way and at a scale unique in Ireland.


The Cell EXPLORERS teams in local HEIs act as informal science education providers by bringing engaging science activities and information on science careers to children at an age where they make decisions about their interest in STEM (primary school age) or make their choice of STEM as a career (secondary school age).The national expansion of the Cell EXPLORERS programme started in 2015 with 3 teams, and is now in its third round of expansion (from 10 teams to 13). Through cyclical evaluation and improvement, the programme has established a network coordination structure that provide partner teams content and support to disseminate STEM engagement activities in the local community. Key aspects that allow the model to work for different teams are determined through collecting feedback and data from all stakeholders and evaluating its impact on school children and teachers, the volunteer team members themselves as well as on coordinators.


Job Description:

The successful candidate will be involved in the running and evaluation of the Cell EXPLORERS national expansion project as a national coordinator. S/he will coordinate and organise all national partner teams set up, training and perform data collection. An important part of the project is the measurement of the success of national expansion of the programme and the impact of participation on volunteers of all teams. The national coordinator will then collect data from existing evaluation tools and analyse results. Results will be used to generate guidelines, reports and publications. The successful candidate will be integrated into the NUI Galway Cell EXPLORERS research team based in Biochemistry at NUI Galway and directed by Dr Muriel Grenon (Principal investigator and Director of Cell EXPLORERS). The researcher will both contribute to the coordination and the evaluation of the national network activities as well as the delivery of some of the public engagement activities run by the programme during the year.


Main duties and responsibilities:


  • Coordination of the National network

    • Keep communication and track of the activities of the national partners (includes training of teams, transport, tracking team budget; development of communication documents)

    • Organise partner training and coordinate with these partners to allow project delivery and data collection

    • Contribute to quick and effective solving of technical problems raised by students and staff participating on the project

    • Coordination of data collection from partner teams (includes making sure that data collected from schools (children and teachers), volunteers, and coordinators is received and completed in due time; Training of a team of volunteers to input data into our online system).

    • To complete any required administrative work to support the programme


  • Coordination of the local team

    • Contribute to the coordination of the local team of activities (includes management and delivery of science festivals, summer camps, and other special events)

    • To manage the specific programme resources (specialist equipment, laboratories).


  • Evaluation study:

  • Refine, in collaboration with the project leader, evaluation methodology according to scope, goals and deliverables of the project

  • Collection of data and subsequent data analysis

  • Compile and analyse data required for progress reports, presentations and publication.

  • Improve data collection tools for use within the project


  • Dissemination:

  • Contribute to the Cell EXPLORERS presence in social and traditional media

  • Engage in the dissemination of the results of Cell EXPLORERS programme under any suitable forms (website, write up reports or articles, present at conferences…) with the support of and under the supervision of the Principal Investigator.

  • Communicate results to all relevant groups (partners, peers, institutions, policy makers…) nationally and internationally

  • Contribute to writing of funding grant proposals in line with the group research interest


  • Project Supervision, Teaching & Training

  • Contribute to teaching /tutoring/mentoring taking place within the framework of the Cell EXPLORERS programme

  • Acquire generic and transferable skills (including project management and undergraduate mentoring/supervision).

  • Mentor, assist or supervise, as appropriate and as directed, the undergraduate placement/intern/project and research graduate students of the Cell EXPLORERS group

  • Develop their own career reputation and career development


Qualifications/Skills required:

The ideal candidate should have experience coordinating and delivering project to completion. Applicants must possess sufficient breadth or depth of specialist knowledge/practice in the field of public engagement/outreach/informal science education as well as an interest in research and evaluation methods and techniques. Experience in program evaluation in these fields is important. The applicant should be creative and enthusiastic, with excellent organization and communication skills and proven ability to work independently, on its own initiative and in a team environment.


Essential Requirements:

  • Third Level Qualification in Sciences or in Science education or equivalent relevant experience

  • Demonstrable experience in delivery of STEM public engagement/outreach activities

  • Evidence of experience in measuring impact of STEM public engagement/outreach activities.

  • Teaching experience/qualification and/or experience of working with students

  • Fluency in IT skills including word processing, Power Point and spread sheets

  • Demonstrable track record of excellent project management skills


Desirable Requirements:

  • Excellent writing skills

  • Excellent oral presentation skills

  • Knowledge of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biomedical sciences

  • Experience in designing science outreach activities for young people (primary/post-primary school students)

  • Evidence of experience with social media, website design and/or press relations

  • Experience in volunteering programmes 

  • Conducting research studies; quantitative and qualitative data analysis (use of SPSS, NVIVO or similar platforms);

  • Experience of applying for research funding and/or reporting for funders, peer reviewed publications (conferences presentation, research article or equivalent)

  • Full Driving Licence.


Salary: Depending on qualification an experience

€23,310 to €34,612 per annum (Research Assistant salary scale)

€39,530 per annum     (pt.1 Research Associate Salary scale)


Start date: Position is available from 28th of May 2019


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.  


Further information on research and working at NUI Galway is available on Research at NUI Galway

For information on moving to Ireland please see


Further information about Cell EXPLORERS and Biochemistry is available at and


Informal enquiries concerning the post are welcome and can be made to Dr Muriel Grenon (


NB: Gárda vetting is a requirement for this post


To Apply:

Applications to include:

 1/ a covering letter summarising the applicant’s relevant experience for the post and her/his motivation in joining the project

2/ a CV outlining experience relevant to this position and the contact details of three referees.


Application should be sent, via e-mail (in word or PDF only) to 

Please put reference number NUIG-049-19 in subject line of e-mail application.


Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm 1st of April 2019


Interviews are planned to be held on 16th of April 2016


All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment


National University of Ireland, Galway is an equal opportunities employer

Apply with CV and Cover Letter

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NUIG-049-19, Research Assistant/Research Associate in Public engagement, Cell EXPLORERS Outreach Programme, School of Natural Sciences NUI Galway