Honorary Research Assistant Scheme

The School has commenced a scheme of Honorary Research Assistants (HRAs) appointed to engage in research in biblical studies and theology, in relation to other disciplines in the arts, humanities and social sciences, towards the pursuit of defined projects relevant to the mission of the Bible and the Contemporary World programme. This mission is currently described in the programme specification as “how culture shapes, and has been shaped by, Christian belief, practice and theology.”

The HRAs, all of whom will be alumni of the Bible and the Contemporary World MLitt programme, will have numerous personal and professional responsibilities beyond their role with St Mary’s so the expectations of outputs is indicative and limited. There is no financial numeration attached to these honorary appointments.

Application Process

[update: now closed]

Applicants are invited to apply in writing to Eric Stoddart by Friday 8 March 2019 indicating the intellectual contribution they anticipate making. This need not be in the formal style of a research proposal but, in not more than 1000 words, applicants should explain their research interests and anticipated outputs.  (This scheme is available only for alumni of the MLitt Bible and the Contemporary World programme.)

Further Details 

Four HRAs were appointed in 2018, with a further two appointments available to be made in 2019. You can read about the work of the current HRAs by following these links:

The activities of HRAs include the conduct of research either independently, or, where appropriate, as a member of a team but without academic supervision by School of Divinity staff. Outputs may be in the form of, for example, articles in peer-reviewed journals or blog entries to reputable non-peer-reviewed outlets. Access to library electronic resources will be available but no study or other office space will be allocated. It is anticipated that in almost all cases HRAs will conduct research and associated work at their own locations around the world. There is no expectation of visits to St Andrews.

There is scope for HRAs to assist in the development of a limited amount of research-related material for teaching or other purposes with appropriate guidance from the School. Occasional contributions to teaching, or presentations, in relation to her/his research project(s) may also be possible. Occasional online colloquia (distinct from the regular learning activities of the MLitt programme and the School’s research seminar programme) may be held via Skype. The creation of a ‘Bible and the Contemporary World’ blog – to which HRAs, and others, contribute is also under consideration.

Given the very different personal circumstances of potential HRAs, individually tailored agreements on the quantity or nature of outputs will be agreed in conjunction with the Director of the Bible and the Contemporary World programme. Such initial agreements will be finalized in writing and reviewed every year. HRAs will be managed by the Director of the Bible and the Contemporary World programme.

Honorary Research Assistants will normally be appointed for periods of three years at a time, renewable by mutual agreement. HRAs shall be bound by all relevant University Policies pertaining to research and intellectual property. All honorary appointments require to be approved by the Principal’s Office and it is anticipated that the second cohort of HRAs will commence their role in late summer 2019.