ESS ERIC seeks special senior advisors to work with its Core Scientific Team


Following a series of reviews and consultations with key internal stakeholders, the European Social Survey General Assembly has endorsed a recommendation from its Core Scientific Team to plan a transition of its data collection. This will see a switch from face to face interviews to a (web first) self-completion data collection design. The design will involve web and paper self-completion surveys.

Details on precisely how and when the change will take place will be decided in early 2023. In the meantime, ESS Round 11 (starting in March 2023) will use the existing face to face data collection design. A decision regarding Round 12 (2025) is expected soon.

The move follows the use of a self-completion methodology in ESS Round 10 (2020-22), introduced as a response to the pandemic in some countries.  

Planning for the change

In order to plan for this change, ESS ERIC Director Professor Rory Fitzgerald is looking to appoint 2-3 special advisors to work with the existing Core Scientific Team (CST) to plan and prepare for this change. The ESS is looking for experts in designing and using mixed mode and especially self-completion surveys to help the CST with the change. As ESS covers a wide survey landscape across Europe the challenges are likely to be significant.

In the first instance the advisors would be engaged as consultants for a set number of days (approximately 10-15 days in the first instance).

Experts in the following areas of expertise are envisaged:

Tasks would include attending CST meetings related to the planning of the mode switch and contributing to the strategic and detailed discussions, undertaking thorough literature reviews and meta-analysis to help inform decision-making, analysing data from existing experiments / data collection and planning new ones and conducting risk assessments of proposals. The work may, by mutual agreement, provide the opportunity to publish work undertaken as part of the consultancy.

The precise tasks for each expert would be agreed as the work plan for the transition is developed.

Whilst this initial engagement is arranged on a consultancy basis, the option to become an institutional Member of the CST might be discussed at the end of the initial engagement. The CST is comprised of institutions (universities and research organisations represented by senior individuals).

The work needed will take place from Autumn 2022 until end of 2023 and candidates should confirm they are able to devote the consultancy days indicated.

Candidate profiles

These positions are open to senior academics or senior survey practitioners who are currently, or have recently been, employed in a relevant role. A practical and focused approach and ability to work in a collaborative environment is essential. Those applying should have at least 8 years’ experience of working with survey research. Applications from experts with strong statistical skills and / or comparative survey experience are especially welcome.

Applicants can be from any country and individuals in existing CST institutions not already engaged with the ESS CST are also eligible to apply. Applications from experts in regions of Europe where web and self-completion surveys have been less common are particularly welcome.

Candidates are invited to send a covering letter of up to 2 pages along with a full CV (both in English) outlining their expertise and interest in undertaking this consultancy. The letter should include a short statement about the challenges of making such a change within the ESS and how their experience / approach could benefit ESS. The letter should indicate the usual day rate (in €) that would be charged. Consultants would be required to have insurance in place. Day rate costs should be inclusive of all costs.


The ESS ERIC Director will seek to appoint 2-3 experts after assessing the applications with a small advisory panel. Interviews with potential candidates might be scheduled. Applicants are not accepted from those located in the Russian Federation. The decision of the Director shall be final.

Criteria for evaluation (weighted %)

Relevant experience (including cross-national, experimental, statistical, experience from less developed survey climates in Europe) (50%)

Statement on challenges for ESS (30%)

Value for money (20%)

To arrange an informal discussion, please contact Mary Keane.

All applications must be received in PDF format via email by Friday 22 July 2022. A decision will be made by end of July / early August and the consultants will be engaged by ESS ERIC from 1 September 2022.