Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Developing Belief and Religious Cognition


We are seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Fellow to lead on an exciting cross-cultural, longitudinal project examining the development and diversity of belief. This programme of research investigates the acquisition and transmission of religious cognition and behaviour, with a focus on within- and between-culture variation. You will join the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland research team of the Developing Belief Network, one of ten inaugural research teams funded by The John Templeton Foundation and led by Dr Jocelyn Dautel, Dr Laura Taylor, Professor Aidan Feeney (Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast) and Dr John Coley (Psychology, Northeastern University). University College Dublin and Northeastern University are partner institutions on the project. More information about the project is available here:  


This is an opportunity for a researcher interested in joining a large research network exploring the big questions in developmental science to develop an original and exciting programme of empirical work. You will be based at Queen’s University Belfast, and will lead on designing and carrying out rigorous research including: experimental paradigms with children, longitudinal surveys with children and parents, and mixed-method studies with families, including coding naturalistic conversations. The project activities will be coordinated to investigate two general research questions:

  1. How does the acquisition of religious cognition and behaviour vary within and between populations? How is the acquisition of religious beliefs and practices facilitated and constrained by child-level developmental factors?
  2. How does the transmission of religious cognition and behaviour vary within and between populations? How do processes of social learning (e.g., testimony, text, instruction, imitation) support the development of religious cognition and behaviour?


The successful candidate should have a demonstrable background in developmental or cognitive psychology, along with experience managing cross-cultural research.


Your CV/Cover letter must demonstrate you have:

  • Have or are about to obtain a PhD in Psychology, or a relevant area such as Cognitive or Behavioural Science.
  • Have a minimum of three years relevant research experience.
  • Have demonstrable experience of using quantitative research methodologies and techniques relevant to the research project, including ONE or more of the following:
    • Proven expertise in conducting reliable cross-cultural studies
    • Demonstrable expertise in longitudinal design and analysis with parents and children.
    • Experience in designing and running experimental studies with children
    • Experience with mixed-method studies with families, including coding naturalistic conversations
  • Have demonstrable experience of using statistical packages to analyse, interpret and present on quantitative data.


For full job details and criteria please visit Career Opportunities at Queen’s and view the Candidate Information link on our website by clicking ‘apply’.  You must clearly demonstrate how you meet the criteria when you submit your application. For further information please contact Resourcing Team, Queen’s University Belfast, via email .


Queen’s University Belfast is a driver of innovation based on our talented, multinational workforce. Throughout the University, our academics are collaborating across disciplines to develop new discoveries and insights, working with outside agencies and institutions on projects of international significance. We are connected and networked with strategic partnerships across the world, helping us to expand our impact on wider society locally, nationally and globally. The University is committed to attracting, retaining and developing the best global talent within an environment that enables them to realise their full potential.


The School of Psychology works hard to ensure that it provides an inclusive and supportive environment for all staff and students. Many School staff have family or caring responsibilities and the School has implemented policies which flexibly support their needs.  The School recognises and respects the diversity of its staff and students whether in relation to their ethnicity, cultural background or sexual orientation. Receiving an Athena Gold departmental award confirms our commitment in promoting gender equality and makes Queen’s a recognised leader in equal opportunities.  We are ranked 1st in the UK for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, (Innovate UK) 9th in the UK for University facilities (Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2018) and 14th in the UK for research quality (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019).


Based in Belfast, a modern capital city, our beautiful campus is surrounded by abundant acres of parkland and is renowned as one of the safest and affordable cities in the UK. The choice of local Schools from pre-nursery upwards are some of the best available, and lovers of the outdoors can enjoy any number of activities from rowing and kayaking to top class golf among many others. We are immensely proud of what our city and our University will offer you.


The University is committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes applications from all. However, our employment monitoring data tells us that individuals from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, people with a disability and those who identify as LGBT+ are currently under-represented at the University. Also male protestants are currently under-represented in this category of work. As such, we particularly welcome applications from these individuals.


As you may be aware, Queen’s is recognised as one of the most diverse organisations in Northern Ireland. We are committed to ensuring our workplace is a safe, welcoming and inclusive place to work, which is why we subscribe to Equality Charter Marks such as Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, Diversity Charter Mark NI and Athena SWAN.


It is also why we have established award winning Staff Networks such as PRISM and iRise. These networks provide an opportunity for staff to meet in a friendly, informal way to support each other.  More details on all our networks can be found here. 


We are seeking to appoint a Research Fellow for an 18 month fixed-term contract or until 31 October 2022 whichever is soonest, in the first instance with an anticipated start date, on or before 1 July 2021. This is a two-part funded project with the expectation of further funding being received up to a maximum 46 months contingent upon funder approval and research objectives being met.  Fixed term contract posts are available for the stated period in the first instance but, in particular circumstances, may be renewed or made permanent, subject to availability of funding. 


For informal enquiries contact Dr G├╝lseli Baysu at .


Candidate Information


About the School


About Jocelyn Dautel


Further information for international applicants


Name of department: School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast


Name of Supervisor: Jocelyn Dautel


Closing date: March 15, 2021