Research Associate in Plant Trait Ecology and Carbon-Nitrogen Cycle Interactions

Imperial College London Department of Life Sciences

United Kingdom

Job summary

The REALM project, led by Professor Colin Prentice FRS and funded for five years by the European Research Council, aims to revolutionize the way numerical models are developed for the land biosphere and its interactions with the changing climate. The new approach depends on analysing data of many different kinds – from measurements on single leaves, to remote data from satellites – with a view to understanding patterns in nature and...

Job listing information

  • Reference NAT00726
  • Date posted 28 July 2020
  • Closing date 27 August 2020

Key information about the role

  • Location Silwood Park Campus (map)
  • Position type Full time, fixed term
  • Salary £40,215 – £47,579 plus benefits
  • Department Department of Life Sciences
  • Category Academic & Teaching / Non Clinical Academic & Teaching

Job description

Job summary

The REALM project, led by Professor Colin Prentice FRS and funded for five years by the European Research Council, aims to revolutionize the way numerical models are developed for the land biosphere and its interactions with the changing climate.

The new approach depends on analysing data of many different kinds – from measurements on single leaves, to remote data from satellites – with a view to understanding patterns in nature and testing predictions, based on hypotheses about how natural selection has shaped these patterns.

This Postdoctoral Research Associate role will focus on the coupling of the carbon and nitrogen cycles via plant nitrogen uptake and/or fixation, and on the collection and analysis of large plant trait data sets to analyse patterns and processes related to the nitrogen economy of plants and the nitrogen exchanges of ecosystems.

Duties and responsibilities

    • To lead the REALM project’s activities in the field of carbon-nitrogen cycle interactions, including data compilation and analysis using state-of-the-art graphical, statistical and multivariate methods.
    • To engage actively with other REALM team members and associates, and with international collaborators, in developing ideas, analyses and publications in plant trait ecology and its interface with global vegetation and ecosystem modelling.
    • To progress the project’s use of remotely sensed data on vegetation properties, and their relationship to the functional biology of plants and to atmospheric aspects of the global nitrogen cycle.
    • To interact with scientists involved in the Earth Systems Fire Group on matters of common interest, including the role of fire in the global nitrogen cycle.
    • To be an active participant in the interpretation and publication of results arising from your research.
    • To co-supervise Masters student projects related to your research, and to assist Masters students with data manipulation and analysis in R.
    • To document data and data analyses to the standard required by high-profile journals.
    • To ensure that all results to be published are reproducible and written up in a way that will help others to understand and replicate them.

Essential requirements

A PhD (or equivalent) in a natural science subject.

You must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Extensive research experience in the context of plant and environmental sciences
  • Extensive experience of statistical and graphical programming in R
  • Substantial experience with the scientific publication process
  • Knowledge of the nature, strengths and limitations of different sources of data on plant traits, ecosystem properties and soils, including carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes
  • Knowledge of the processes involved in the global nitrogen cycle and plant nitrogen uptake
  • Knowledge of the fundamentals of ecophysiology and ecosystem science

In addition, ‘hands-on’ experience with field measurements on plants and ecosystems would be valuable.

You must also be able to demonstrate:

  • Good general quantitative skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with the confidence and diplomacy to interact with all levels of staff
  • Operational excellence – excellent attention to detail, accuracy and professionalism

Further information

This is a full-time, fixed term post for 3 years.

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as a Research Assistant within the salary range £35,477 - £38,566 per annum.

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Colin Prentice via email at c.prentice@imperial.ac.uk

For technical queries when applying online, please contact: recruitment@imperial.ac.uk  

Committed to equality and valuing diversity, we are an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published. For more information, see https://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-evaluation/

The College believes that the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research


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