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A day in the life of… an Associate Research Advisor

26th Dec 2017

My typical day…

I arrive in the office between 8:30am and 10am, depending on what I have planned for the day. I grab a coffee, check through my emails and get back to anything that’s urgent, have a quick check-in with my manager, then make a to-do list for the day.

On Mondays we have an all-staff touchdown meeting where our CEO David Halpern talks through any major events of the coming week over some pastries. To keep up to date we share what’s gone well recognising the team members who contributed to the achievements, and learn from what’s gone not so well. After that a typical morning might include a couple of internal meetings to check-in on projects.

We eat lunch together in our communal office area, and once a week a guest speaker comes into the office to share their work. After lunch, I might head to our library to read papers relevant to the projects I’m working on, work on a proposal  or some data. The research team works together collaboratively, sharing interesting articles we’ve read over the week or helping each other out when analysis gets complicated.

The afternoon might wrap up with a partner meeting to scope out a potential project or partnership, then clear my desk and finish up for the day.

I’m responsible for…

It very much depends on the project. If I’m helping one of my policy colleagues I’m responsible for designing the trial and planning the analysis. Everything from power calculations, to secure data transfers and randomisation is my responsibility.

On the other hand working on an evaluation will require researching outcome measures and managing relationships with intervention delivery teams, trial funders and evaluation partners.

The research team also owns its own projects that we run from beginning to end. If you work on one of those you might visit the partner’s site as part of our explore phase work, coming up with ideas for interventions (which sometimes involves pizza), thinking through how the intervention will be implemented all the way through to how best to communicate complex results to the partner.

My favourite piece of work…

Currently, my favourite piece of work is a study we’re running in Moldova that’s trying to increase welfare and adherence to the treatment of Tuberculosis. The intervention is testing whether allowing people to administer treatment via videocam at home, instead of having to go to the doctors, increases adherence to the programme. My involvement is really varied, ranging from the trial design to some web development to build a tool that automatically randomised our participants.

The most challenging part of my job…

We all work on multiple projects at any given time, this is particularly true for the research team. We help policy teams with trial design and data analysis, but also work on projects owned by our team, like trying to increase the number of young people participating in social action and evaluating programmes for the Education Endowment Foundation. In one day you might be working on a confidential dataset with the Met Police, helping with interviewing social workers, and researching how to encourage people to complete their census. It can be challenging to stay on top of everything, but you can always count on your colleagues to help you out.  

The best part of my job…

To me, the day-to-day variety, although it can be challenging, is what keeps the job interesting

We also have the freedom to pursue our own interests. I like that not everyone is expected to be an expert at all of our methodologies and we are given the opportunity to both develop our own niches and upskill in areas less familiar to us.

The best part though, has to be the people we work with. BIT has a friendly and collaborative atmosphere, and the nature of the Research & Evaluation team’s work means I get to interact with people across the organisation.

After work…

We usually finish around 6pm and when there is appetite we head to one of the local pubs for a drink or two. The team is quite sociable, and often when someone sees a new film, exhibition or a restaurant they want to check out, they invite anyone who might be interested to come along.

Once a month we have drinks and snacks in the office with the whole team. It’s a great opportunity to find out what others are working on and catch up with colleagues in other teams.


Sound like the job for you?