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Vacancy Details
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Islamic Civilisation
Vacancy Ref: :     032676     Closing Date :     25-Mar-2015
Contact Person :     Catherine Rutter     Contact Number :     0131 650 3638
Contact Email :
The Alwaleed Centre at the University of Edinburgh ( seeks to appoint a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, to implement its Research activities and Outreach Programme, to commence on 1st June 2015 or as soon as possible thereafter. The successful candidate will be in the field of Islamic Civilisation (broadly understood, so that it could include Art, Architecture, Science, Medicine, Philosophy, or another aspect of Islamic Culture). Applications would be particularly welcome from candidates with expertise on contemporary Islamic art.

We anticipate interviews will be held on Wednesday 22nd April 2015. You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview; if you have not heard from us by Friday 3rd April 2015 you can assume your application has been unsuccessful.

This is a full time and fixed term post.

Salary: £31,342 – £37,394 per annum

The closing date is 5pm (GMT) on Wednesday 25th March 2015.
1. Job Details

Job title: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

School/Centre: LLC – Al Waleed Centre

Line manager: Director of Al Waleed Centre

2. Job Purpose

This three year fixed term appointment would be ideal for a recent PhD graduate (recent is taken to assume within the last 3 years). The successful candidate will be expected to contribute both to the development of the Centre’s Research Profile as well as its successful Outreach Programme. This currently runs in schools, among the general public, among policy-makers and the media and takes the form of lectures and presentations at study days, in conferences and symposia, and in summer schools, both within and beyond the university. There is also an expectation that the successful candidate will do up to 5 hours per week of teaching within Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies.

3. Main Responsibilities (Approx. % of time)

The post holder is expected to:

1. undertake research, leading to the publication of at least three articles over the three-year appointment period – 55%
2. organise and participate in Outreach events, to a variety of audiences, both within and beyond the University – 30%
3. teach one 20 credit semester-long course per year – 10%
4. assist with administration as required, such as updating the Centre’s website – 5%

4. Planning and Organising

The postholder is expected to:
• contribute to long-term projects, as part of a project team
• lead short-term projects such as conferences on a particular theme
• provide assistance with events (locally, nationally and internationally) with minimal supervision

5. Problem Solving

The postholder is expected to:
• identify gaps in knowledge and searching for sources of information to fill these
• use professional expertise and judgement
• employ diplomacy (including religious, cultural and political sensitivity)
• exercise good judgement of possibilities and risks

6. Decision Making

The postholder is expected to:
• demonstrate independent and autonomous decision-making, in consultation with the Centre’s Director
• have confidence in setting priorities and taking responsibility for decision-making
• provide specialist advice and recommendations to support effective decision-making
• participate in monthly team meetings within the Centre to determine future priorities and activities

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

• Primarily with the Director of the Centre and IMES colleagues, and the wider school community
• Academic units across the university, including Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, History of Art, Divinity, Politics and International Relations, Sociology, Social Anthropology, History, the Centre for South Asian Studies, and the Centre for African Studies
• Media organisations, the Scottish Government, local religious communities and their leaders
• Other Alwaleed Centres in the UK, the USA, and the Middle East

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


• Appropriate degree, with relevant postgraduate research and/or teaching experience. Normally a PhD or equivalent professional qualification on a relevant topic

• Excellent presentation and communication skills

• Good organisational skills

• Ability to work in a team

• Enthusiasm for communicating to a wide variety of audiences

• Diplomacy, including religious, cultural and political sensitivity

• Ability to work to deadlines

• Excellent time management skills

• Ability to prioritise tasks and conflicting deadlines


• Experience in explaining research to a wide variety of audiences, both within and beyond a university context.

• Knowledge of a relevant language (e.g. Arabic, Persian, Turkish, or Urdu)

• Experience in designing material for websites

• Experience of working with the media

• Ability and willingness to travel internationally, potentially at short notice

9. Dimensions

The postholder will be a member of the Al Waleed Centre team, of 5 colleagues, consisting of the Director; the Outreach Projects Manager; the Administrative and Outreach Officer; and the holders of the Centre’s two Post-Doctoral Fellowships (the other in the field of Muslims in Britain).

10. Job Context and any other relevant information

The HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World ( is a Centre within the University of Edinburgh, established in 2010, devoted to research, and outreach and knowledge transfer, in the field of Islamic Studies. It is part of a network of Centres established by the HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Foundation, currently two in the United States (Harvard and Georgetown), two in the United Kingdom (Edinburgh and Cambridge), and two in the Middle East (the American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo), which are devoted to the improvement of mutual understanding between the Muslim World and the West. Further details of the Objectives, Staff, and activities of the Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre can be found at

The aim of this post is to provide an early career opportunity for a person recently qualified to PHD level, in a relevant subject. The external funding for this post aims ‘to produce on a self sustaining basis, a world class cadre of researchers at post-doctoral levels, by providing fellowships designed to feed into the next generation of academics’. For this reason, the post is time-limited to 3 years and an extension will not be possible.

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. This enables you to submit an up to date CV and supporting documents (ideally in the form of one PDF document). The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

We anticipate interviews will be held on Wednesday 22nd April 2015. You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview; if you have not heard from us by Friday 3rd April 2015 you can assume your application has been unsuccessful.

The closing date is 5pm (GMT) on Wednesday 25th March, 2015.

Eligibility to Work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website

If you are not currently eligible to work in the UK, it may be possible for the University of Edinburgh to sponsor you to obtain a Tier 2 (General) visa to enable you to take up the appointment should you be successful at interview.

For applicants interested in sponsorship information is available on our Working in the UK website

However, if you have previously been sponsored by an employer within the UK but your leave has expired or lapsed and you are no longer in the UK, according to Home Office Visa Immigration rules you cannot apply for sponsorship under any category of Tier 2 for a period of 12 months after the date your visa expired and/or you left the UK.

If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts and come from outside the EEA, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa route offers a greater flexibility in your employment compared to other UK immigration routes, meaning you can, for example, move organisation, location and/or job role. By contrast with, a Tier 2 visa where you are ‘tied to a UK sponsor’. Tier 1 provides greater flexibility in undertaking additional engagements, such as collaborations and is intended as a route to settlement. Allowed absences from the UK are up to 180 days per year without losing the eligibility to qualify for settlement, with no restriction on the reason for absence (unlike Tier 2, where any absences from the UK must be for a purpose consistent with the person’s employment or economic activity, including paid annual leave, or for serious or compelling personal reasons).

You would initially need to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK).

Tier1 (Exceptional and Exceptional Promise) Endorsement Criteria

Once successfully endorsed, you are able to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. More information on this entry route is available at UKVI Website.

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme

This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

For further information please visit our Pensions website.


The role is grade UE07 and the salary range for this post is £31,342 to £37,394 per annum for 35 hours each week. (Salary placement is usually dependent on the candidate’s experience). Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month.

The aim of this post is to provide an early career opportunity for a person recently qualified to PHD level, in a relevant subject. The external funding for this post aims ‘to produce on a self-sustaining basis, a world class cadre of researchers at post-doctoral levels, by providing fellowships designed to feed into the next generation of academics”. For this reason, the post is time-limited to 3 years.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.
Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
IMES runs a diverse number of taught postgraduate programmes. Its MSc programmes in Arab World Studies and (with Social and Political Science), International Relations of the Middle East with Arabic combine innovative disciplinary training with world-leading Arabic language pedagogy.

The research interests of IMES staff range from Umayyad kingship and Islamic holy places in Early Islam, to Safavid Shi‘ism, contemporary Syria, Persian literature and cinema, modern Egyptian social history and Middle Eastern Diasporas. This breadth of scholarship is reflected in a dynamic programme of research seminars, cultural events and a diverse and international PhD student body. IMES enjoys productive connections with the Universities of Durham and Manchester (as part of the CASAW consortium) and internationally with the University of Baghdad, Bir Zeit University, and Bogazici University along with a diverse range of personal research contacts.

IMES works in close collaboration with partner institutions within the Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World (CASAW), established in 2006. This Centre is formed from a tripartite consortium of the Universities of Edinburgh, Durham and Manchester. The appointed person will also participate in the life of the Centre, which brings together world-class scholars in Arab World Studies from each of these three universities.

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies is a dynamic department committed to excellence in teaching and research, with a long history of prominence in Islamic Studies and the interdisciplinary study of the Middle East. The department offers a wide variety of both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across Arabic, Persian and Turkish. In the recent REF, Area Studies (Asian Studies and Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies) saw 73% of the submission rated as World Leading (4*) and Internationally Excellent (3*). This puts Edinburgh at the top of the league in Area Studies in Scotland and reflects an improvement of 19% over our submissions for RAE2008. 74% of our publications were classified as World Leading and Internationally Excellent, an improvement of 22% over RAE2008. This is the best result in Scotland. 80% of our Research Environment was classified as World Leading and Internationally Excellent, an increase of 23% over RAE2008 and the best result in Scotland by number of people submitted. IMES operates in partnership with the new Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World and CASAW.

View more information about Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

The School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC)
LLC is one of the largest schools in the College of Humanities and Social Science and is situated in the heart of the main University of Edinburgh campus, in a number of buildings around George Square.
It offers a vibrant and dynamic work environment for colleagues and is committed to excellence in teaching and research across the wide range of languages and cultures it studies. It comprises five subject areas:
– English Literature
– Celtic and Scottish Studies
– European Languages and Cultures
– Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
– Asian Studies

LLC delivers over half the College’s undergraduate degree programmes. LLC also has a Graduate School which hosts a large number of postgraduate programmes and oversees the School’s community of postgraduate students. The Graduate School’s activities complement the research activities of LLC’s five subject areas, all of which run regular research seminars and symposia, with international speakers, as an integral part of the training of postgraduates.

The Graduate School provides a dynamic and productive home for several hundred postgraduates on taught and research programmes. We oversee the administration and delivery of graduate teaching within the five subject areas of the school, and are also responsible for the delivery of innovative transdisciplinary programmes in Film, Media, Translation Studies and Comparative Literature. Our students come from all over the world, and they study topics of equally global scope. Situated at the crossroads between teaching and research we are involved in almost all areas of the school’s activities, so can offer a vibrant and stimulating work environment.

LLC also hosts a number of associated research centres – the Princess Dashkova Centre, the Confucius Centre, the Al Waleed Centre and CASAW – which oversee research and which complement the School’s outreach and public engagement initiatives.

In the 2014 REF over 70% of the research activity in the School was rated world leading or internationally excellent (3* or 4*). We provide an excellent standard of facilities for colleagues in a recently refurbished and new building, at the heart of George Square.

College of Humanities and Social Science (
The College of Humanities and Social Science is the largest and most diverse of the three Colleges in the University. Led by Vice-Principal Professor Dorothy Miell, it has 12,600 undergraduates, 4,500 taught postgraduates, 2,000 research students and more than 3,100 academic and support staff. The College incorporates 11 Schools (Business; Divinity; Economics; Edinburgh College of Art; Education; Health in Social Science; History, Classics and Archaeology; Law; Literatures, Languages and Cultures; Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences; and Social and Political Science), the Institute for Academic Development, the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and the Office of Lifelong Learning. The College is located on multiple sites across Edinburgh, with the majority of Schools and College Offices based in the central George Square area. The College, which is recognised as one of the world’s leading centres for the arts, humanities and social sciences research and teaching, has been investing strongly in recent years.

Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF2014)

The College operates at the highest levels of international quality across a very wide range of disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences and submitted the work of more than 750 staff to 23 Units of Assessment in the Research Excellence Framework 2014. The College achieved a superb result, combining a large-scale, broad and diverse submission with very high quality outcomes: 86% of its research impact and 76% of the overall quality profile were assessed as world-leading (4*) and internationally excellent (3*). Using the widely used Research Power index (which combines the submission’s overall score for 3* and 4* work with the volume of staff submitted), 12 Units which were ranked within the top five in the UK, and 18 Units which were ranked first in Scotland are located in the College. With an assessment of more than 95% at 3* and 4*, we’re particularly proud of the outstanding research environment we create for staff and research students.

The University of Edinburgh
For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible.

We still do. The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence.

As a member of staff you will be part of one of the world’s leading universities, with 22 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 500 undergraduate and 160 postgraduate courses to over 35,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 12,000 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 1905 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of 1 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a world-changing, world-leading university we are an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. We are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions actively promoting LGBT equality.

The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment. See our

University Initiatives website

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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