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Student Vacation Research Assistant: Unpacking the 'Liability of Refuge-ness': An Investigation of Refugee Nascent Entrepreneurs - Open to current University of Worcester students only*

Research Assistantships provide undergraduates and recent graduates with ‘hands on’ experience of working on a research project over the summer vacation, enabling them to gain insight into a research career, as well as enhancing their CV.


Current Research Aims and Objectives

The various recent conflicts in different countries meant that the world has seen a massive influx of refugees, the highest since World War Two. While some refugees need government support, others are determined to lead an independent life through self-employment (Betts et al., 2015; Dijkhuizen and Berkhout 2015; UNHCR 2015). However, we know very little about the economic lives of refugees (Betts et al. 2014), let alone their entrepreneurial activity. Refugee entrepreneurs represent a special case of migrant entrepreneurs given the forced rather than voluntary nature of their migration and the impact that has on refugees financially and emotionally (Wauters and Lambrecht 2006; 2008). To compound matters, refugees face greater barriers than those encountered by other migrants, particularly in terms of obtaining refugee status and associated right to work (Bearn 2017), as well as limited links to host nations and the increasing stigmatisation of refugees by sections of host societies (Amnesty International 2017).

The proposed research supervisor is currently undertaking a research that aims to explore refugee entrepreneurship in the UK. In particular, the research objectives are:
- Examine how the refuge experience preconditions refugees’ subsequent experiences and attitudes; and whether it leads to an increased perception of vulnerability or, to the contrary, strengthened resilience.
- Investigate how this liability, or advantage, of refuge-ness influences the motivations, ambitions and the behaviours of refugee’s self-employment as a means of self- sufficiency.

The project supervisor has previously published an extended abstract on the conceptualisation of key business decisions made by refugee entrepreneurs in the conference proceedings of the Migration and Diaspora Entrepreneurship 2016 Conference.

How the project fits with current research

Adopting a grounded-theory approach, the project supervisor is currently conducting interviews to collect data and meet the research objectives outlined earlier having gained ethical approval to do so from Worcester Business School Ethics Committee. It is expected that data collection will be completed by June 2017. The project supervisor is planning to submit an abstract (deadline 31st of March 2017) and then a working paper to the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2017 conference, in collaboration with an external colleague. Following the ISBE conference in November 2017, the working paper will be developed for submission to the Journal of Small Business Management by early 2018. It is envisaged that the research assistant will support the development of these publications.

Closing date: Wednesday 31 May 2017

Reference number: STUVRA1712 - 2011

Job details

Job details

£8.44 per hour, plus £1.18 per hour holiday pay
37 hours
4 weeks
Responsible to
Dr Laila Kasem
Responsible for
Interview date

Worcester Business School

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The University of Worcester is funding 20 Vacation Research Assistantships for the summer of 2017. These Research Assistantships will provide undergraduates and recent graduates with ‘hands on’ experience of working on a research project over the summer vacation, enabling them to gain insight into a research career, as well as enhancing their CV. These are prestigious awards, marking out a student as a future researcher and potential academic. In addition, this scheme provides UW staff leading on a research project with invaluable support in taking the project forward and experience of supporting and developing a young researcher.
On completion of the project, the supervisor and student must complete a report providing the following information:
• Objectives set
• Objectives met
• Methods employed
• Results
• Conclusions
• Outputs
• Benefits to the student including training undertaken, skills developed, etc.

Main duties

Main duties

1. Qualitative data analysis: thematic analysis of some interview transcripts using Nvivo
2. Providing a written summary of qualitative results
3. Searching databases and locating relevant literature.
4. Conduct a review of the relevant literature to identify key themes and research gaps.
5. Provide a written summary of the literature review findings
6. Draft a discussion section of the qualitative research findings.

*Maintain personal and professional development to meet the changing demands of the job; participate in appropriate training activities and encourage and support staff in their development and training.

*Take steps to ensure and enhance personal health, safety and well being and that of other staff and students.

*Carry out these duties in a manner that promotes equality of opportunity and supports diversity and inclusion, and takes into account the University's commitment to environmentally sustainable ways of working.


Person specification

Person specification

Please provide evidence of how you meet each of the essential criteria.


1. Good analytical and critical thinking skills.
2. Excellent written & verbal communication skills.
3. Familiarity with gathering data from University of Worcester online library and web sources (although training could be provided if necessary).
4. Ability to work proactively.
5. Time management skills.


1. Subject relevant knowledge (e.g. Entrepreneurship, Sociology, Migration Studies).
2. Prior experience in doing literature reviews.
3. Familiarity with Nvivo (although training and guidance will be provided).

Applications from Non EEA Workers:

Prospective applicants are advised to ensure that they are eligible to work in the UK without restriction.

Prospective applicants in points-based system immigration routes should assess their circumstances against the published criteria, which are set out on the GOV.UK website at

Visit for more information on how you can use a qualification from outside the UK to meet the requirements of the immigration rules.

Unspent convictions, cautions and bind-overs

The University is strongly committed to the fair treatment of its staff and potential staff, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibility for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background.

In line with the University's policy on the Recruitment of People with a Criminal Record, shortlisted candidates are required to provide information of any unspent convictions, cautions and bind-overs. Applicants are advised to seek independent advice if there is any doubt about the status of a previous conviction, caution or bind-over. Disclosures will only be considered at the point when an offer of employment is made. The existence of a criminal record will not in itself prevent you from gaining employment.

This is a description of the job as it is presently constituted. This job description is intended to enable a flexible approach to be offered working across the University as required. It is subject to review and amendment in the light of changing needs of the University and to provide appropriate development opportunities. Members of staff are expected to participate fully in discussions about changing requirements and it is the University's aim to reach agreement to reasonable change. If agreement is not possible, it reserves the right to require changes to the job description after consultation with the individual concerned.

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