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Selection Process

Selection Process

SPaRK seeks to attract the best early career researchers across all disciplines to join Queen’s University Belfast. To realize this ambition, the selection process for SPaRK ESRs will comprise a number of stages:

Stage 1: Eligibility Check

The Eligibility Committee will check each application against the eligibility criteria as detailed in Section Three. If ineligible, applicants will be informed by 11th May 2018.  

Stage 2: Evaluation of Academic Merit and of Research Experience and Research Ambition

Each application will be reviewed independently by three evaluators, one of whom will be the principal supervisor for the project, one of whom will have a level of externality to the project (i.e. from another research cluster) and one of whom will be from a partner institution). All reviewers will mark the applications against the evaluation criteria and produce a short evaluation report per applicant. The process of evaluation of academic merit, research experience and research ambition will be scrutinised by an Evaluation Committee and a short-list of candidates will be selected for interview based on scores to date. Shortlisted candidates will progress to the interview stage and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of the outcome of the stage two evaluation process by 22nd June 2018. 

Stage 3: Leadership Video and Interview

Shortlisted applicants will be required to create and submit a 3 minute video which evidences their leadership potential. The ability to evidence leadership potential will be measured through applicants understanding of the concept of leadership and through their ability to self-reflect on their own leadership experience and leadership strengths and weaknesses.

Shortlisted applicants will also be interviewed by the Evaluation Committee. Interviews will be carried out through Skype Video. If, due to internet connection difficulties, it is difficult to hold a Skype Video interview with an applicant, a conference call will take place instead. At the interview, applicants will be required to communicate the potential societal impact of the SPaRK research project they are applying for, to an audience of both academic and non-academic members of staff. 

The Evaluation Committee will review evaluation scores with the benefit of the additional scoring provided by the leadership videos and interviews and make final decisions on successful and unsuccessful applicants. Applicants who have progressed to stage 3 of the selection process will receive communication regarding whether they have been selected for positions on the SPaRK Programme by 20th July 2018.       

Stage 4: Appointment of Successful Applicants

The recommendations of the Evaluation Committee will be ratified by the Appointments Committee. Successful candidates will receive a letter of offer from the Human Resources Department. Contracts of employment will be conditional upon satisfactory references, satisfactory medical report, the fulfilment of any conditions specified in the offer of a place on a PhD programme from the Admissions and Access Service, confirmation of right to work in the United Kingdom and the ability to secure a valid visa and work permit, if required, from UK Visas and Immigration.

Full details of the evaluation process are in the Application Pack, which can be downloaded from the front page of the SPaRK website.

Contact Us

For any questions relating to the SPaRK Programme, please contact, SPaRK Project Coordinator Adele Ward on or 00 (44) 28 9097 3290.