Work with us

Work with us

There are various opportunities to become involved in the work we do. 

Job vacancies

We currently have the following job opportunities available:

Research Fellow (Full time) : Making it Work™ and CRIISP

We are seeking to appoint a Research Fellow within Epidemiology Group to deliver an exciting portfolio of mixed-methods studies. The Reseach Fellow will be specifically engaged in the Chief Scientist Office-funded Making it Work™ - Scotland study and the URKI-funded Consortium to Research the Interpersonal, Individual and Social influences in Pain (CRIISP). 

You can watch a short video about the work of the Epidemiology Group here.

Making it Work™ is an online programme developed in Canada which provides support for people working with inflammatory arthritis, to help them to stay in work for as long as they wish to do so. Our current project aims to expand the Making it Work™ programme so that it is relevant for people with a wider range of musculoskeletal conditions in Scotland, including non-inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic pain. The successful applicant will work with a map of existing programme components which has identified the aspects which require modification to address the study remit. Working closely with content experts, the Research Fellow will coordinate the development of any new content or modify existing content as required. Once the programme has been modified, the post holder will coordinate the evaluation of the modified programme’s acceptability, relevance and usability using questionnaires and a series of one-on-one interviews with patients, and will then lead a final workshop with key stakeholders to discuss and agree any final changes.

CRIISP seeks to understand which psychosocial factors make pain start, stop, get better or get worse.

The Research Fellow will work on projects including reviews of existing evidence; empirical work informed by review results involving primary and/or secondary data analyses, and whether existing longitudinal datasets can further our understandings of psychosocial mechanisms implicated in the experience of persistent pain and pain state transitions.

The successful applicant will be highly motivated and will have significant experience of qualitative and quantitative research in healthcare settings and will have experience of working with both patients and staff at various levels of the NHS. They will also have familiarity with the organisation of the NHS.

As this position is funded by external funders it will be available until 31 May 2025.

Our preference is for the successful candidate to be office-based but we would consider hybrid or remote working options within the UK.

For more details and to apply for the Research Fellow role, click here.

Closing date for applications is 06th February 2023.

PhD degrees

We currently have the following funded PhD studenships available:

Chronic pain: from public health impact to impact on public health policy

This PhD will address issues around chronic pain as a public health priority, including a focus on:

  • What evidence exists on factors which contribute to health conditions becoming a public health priority?
  • To what extent is chronic pain a public health priority at a local, national and international level?
  • What specific strategies could aid chronic pain to become a public health priority, and how could these be supported by existing or new evidence?

You can read more about this studentship, including details of how to apply here.

Doubly disadvantaged: How can we support young people with chronic pain to access and retain high quality work?

This research seeks to understand the employment practices and long-term prospects of young people with chronic pain, and find out how can we support this important cohort to access and retain high quality work, including: 

  • Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the long-term employment prospects of youth and identify differences between youth with chronic pain and healthy youth;
  • Identifying the impact of employment type and status over time on the psychological wellbeing of youth;
  • Working with key stakeholders including healthcare professionals, occupational/vocational advisors in employment settings, employers, policy-makers and young people, in identifying priorities for supporting them to obtain and retain valued employment.

This studentship will contribute to these aims via a systematic review and longitudinal, mixed-methods study involving surveys with youth with chronic pain and healthy youth, and qualitative interviews with a subset of each cohort.

Find out more about this project and details of how to apply here.

The role of adversity in early life in developing chronic pain in adulthood

This PhD will focus on one aspect of the quantitative or qualitative work being undertaken as part of the Advance Pain and Discovery Platform's CAPE (Consortium Against Pain InEquality) project, which aims to determine whether exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), contributes to inequalities in chronic pain, its treatment, and adverse outcomes of opioid analgesics, influenced by vulnerabilities to early life stress.

Within this consortium, work within the Epidemiology group seeks to identify large population cohort studies worldwide in order to examine associations between ACE exposure, adverse events in adulthood, chronic pain and opioid analgesic treatment in those exposed to ACEs. We also seek to enrich the data which some of these cohorts collect on ACEs and chronic pain. 

You can find out more about this research, including details on how to apply for this studentship here.

Utilising UK-wide registry data (rheumatology and/or antimicrobial resistance)

This exciting PhD opportunity is now open for students looking to analyse data from one (or more than one) of our disease registries, including our existing rheumatological registries (covering axial spondyloarthritis and psoriatic arthritis) and our upcoming register in the field of anti-microbial therapies. These registries cover a vast amount of data from participants, at multiple timepoints, including information on symptom history and duration, physical measurements, comorbidities, treatment, quality of life and employment.

The precise direction of the PhD can be tailored to suit the successful candidate’s skills, experience and interest, and may be clinically focused, for example:

  • What is the prognostic value comorbidities, as a predictor of treatment response?
  • Can we identify patients early, who are at high risk of leaving work?

Alternatively it may have a more of a focus on methodology, for example:

  • Are there disparities between physician global and patient reports of disease activity?
  • What methods can improve participant recruitment / retention in disease registries?

You can find out more about this studentship, including details of how to apply here.

Additional PhD opportunities

We are always keen to hear from well qualified and highly motivated potential PhD students. If you are interested in joining our PhD programme, please send us an email including your curriculum vitae. We receive many contacts per year and will only consider those who fit well within at least one of our research themes - so make clear that you do so in a covering letter. Potential students should be aware, however, that most of the sources of funding for our PhD students only provide fee support at the level for UK and/or European Union based students.

You can read about some of the training available to students and testimonials from previous PhD students here.

Interested persons should contact the head of group, Professor Gary Macfarlane, on


We are currently welcoming applications for our internship programme. 

We have a small number of internships available annually to work within our research programmes. These give students the opportunity to work on a research project, contribute to publications and participate in training events. Our internships generally require a six-month commitment, and begin at the start of each academic yearApplications are considered on a rolling basis, and those interested are encouraged to apply at the earliest opportunity as we only have a small number of internship places available.

Interested students should apply with a CV and cover letter to The cover letter should underline your interests, academic achievements and why you wish to undertake an internship at Aberdeen.

You find further details, including testimonials from previous interns here


Scientists or clinicians who are interested in joining us for a defined period of sabbatical study and whose research interests are linked to those of the group should contact us to discuss possibilities. There are a limited number of fellowships available within the Institute of Applied Health Sciences and the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition and we support applications for fellowships of mutual benefit.

You can read about people who have recently spent a sabbatical with us here.

Interested persons should contact Professor Macfarlane on

Patient & public involvement and engagement

Get involved!

The group recognises that collaborating with patients, carers, community and charitable organisations, and individuals with relevant experience positively impacts on all stages of research. Patient and public involvement in our work helps to identify the most relevant research priorities, allows for better design, management and undertaking of research projects and improves interpretation and dissemination of our findings.

If you would like to get involved please complete our Expression of Interest form here