Job Alert: PFL Research Assistants

Role: TemporaryResearch Fieldworker

Location: UCD & communities in North Dublin

Closing date: 5pm 16th September 2023

Position Summary:

The Fieldworker will support data collection for the age 14 follow-up study of the Preparing for Life programme which is being conducted by the Early Childhood Research Team at the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy.

Preparing for Life is an early intervention programme designed to combat low levels of school readiness among children living in several communities of North Dublin. The programme intervenes during pregnancy and works with families until the children start school. The programme was evaluated extensively between 2008-2016 using a Randomised Control (RCT) to examine the impact of the programme up to school entry. The results indicated significant improvements in children’s cognitive development, health, and behaviour (see for summary report). To date, the PFL evaluation has produced a series of 9 reports, 25 academic publications, and attracted extensive media coverage. This follow-up study will examine the medium term impact of the programme now that children are approximately 14 years old. The follow-up study will gather data from children and schools.

We are seeking applications from motivated individuals with appropriate experience and an interest in child development and developmental psychology to assist with fieldwork and data processing between October 2023-January 2024. As the work programme involves a field experiment, candidates from a clinical background seeking to engage with social science research are also welcome. The position will primarily involve engaging with schools to conduct data collection activities with adolescents including a cognitive assessment, executive functioning tasks, and administering a self-completion questionnaire. The position will also involve gathering administrative data from schools, and height, waist measurement, and saliva sampling, as well as data entry and management. We are specifically looking for individuals who have previous experience conducting cognitive test batteries or neuropsychological assessments with adolescents. Full training and support will also be provided by the Preparing for Life evaluation team.


  • A postgraduate degree in Psychology, Education, or a related field. Those who have completed an undergraduate degree and have experience working with this age group will also be considered.
  • As the position involves active fieldwork with families and adolescents, strong interpersonal skills and the desire to interact with adolescents is essential.
  • Travel to and within North Dublin will be essential so candidates must be flexible and willing to engage with this.
  • Candidates will have a strong and demonstrable knowledge of research methods and excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Be available to participate in fieldworker training at the start of October 2023.
  • Be available during the school day throughout the data collection period. As data collection may be scheduled at any point during the school week, a high level of flexibility will be required.


  • Experience and/or training in conducting cognitive test batteries or neuropsychological assessments with adolescents (e.g. British Ability Scales with children approximately 14 years of age)
  • Experience of fieldwork and survey processes
  • A full, clean driving license is also desirable

The post is located within the UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, see for information on the institute. See for more information on the study.

Salary: Hourly paid – €30,740 PA pro rata (point 4 on the IUA) ~€15 per hour.

Work hours: Flexible, with an average of 15 hours per week, but this will vary depending on the needs of the project.

Garda vetting will be required prior to commencement.

Please be advised the closing dates for receipt of all applications for this post is 5pm 16th September 2023.

We would envisage that the position would commence early October.

Applications should be e-mailed to and include:

1) a covering letter

2) a CV with contact details of two referees

In your cover letter, please indicate your availability for work during the period of data collection.

Informal enquiries can be emailed to the same address.