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Position: Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Tropical Hydro-Ecological Modelling
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Department: School of Geosciences
Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duties: Model development and testing using crop and forest ecosystem data. Develop and test model-data fusion system, to optimise parameter estimation and to provide parameter uncertainty and covariances. Spatial analysis of drought stress constraints on production, productivity and growth across target areas. Devise a viable system to generate robust and near-real time information to support crop and water resource management in sub-Saharan Africa for more resilient agriculture
Requirements: Ph.D. in a relevant area (e.g. ecosystem science, hydrology, biogeochemical cycling) or near completion. Experience in simulation modelling, including model-data integration
   
Text: Vacancy Details Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Tropical Hydro-Ecological Modelling Vacancy Ref: : 038510 Closing Date : 08-Feb-2017 Contact Person : Emma Blacklock Contact Number : 0131 650 5851 Contact Email : Emma.Blacklock@ed.ac.uk We are looking for a postdoctoral research associate to research the effects of climate variation on crop yield and forest production across Africa. The work is funded by two research projects. The first is the UK Space Agency funded research project, Forests 2020. This is a large consortium project involving partners from six tropical forest countries (Brazil, Mexico, Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia and Colombia) with the aim of dramatically improving the uptake and usefulness of satellite data products in these countries. The second is a Royal Society challenge grant, with the aim to develop a soil moisture and crop yield diagnostic system for sub-Saharan Africa. This PRDA will focus on analysing and modelling the effects of climate and soil moisture on crop and forest water use, photosynthesis and production. Competitive candidates will have experience in hydrological and/or biogeochemical modelling, model-data fusion, well developed numerical analytical skills, and a proven capacity to publish scientific outputs. The appointee will combine earth observations, field data and modelling to determine the current and future states of tropical production and plant growth, and their controlling processes. We have a well-developed model-data fusion system that will be used to meet project objectives. This post is full time, fixed term for 24 months and is available from 01 April 2017; or as soon as possible thereafter. 1. Job Details Job title: Postdoctoral Research assistant in in tropical hydro-ecological modelling School/Support Department: School of Geosciences Line manager: Prof. Mathew Williams 2. Job Purpose The overall goal is identify and diagnose water limitations on plant processes across Africa. Using models and observations, we will map and quantify the effects of soil moisture variation on forest growth and crop yield. The purpose of this post is to combine remote sensing data on phenology, temperature, fires and land use, with modelling of coupled carbon and water cycling, to generate consistent analyses of biomass dynamics, photosynthesis and crop yield. The work will involve data assimilation, using analytical outputs to guide model development and improvement. 3. Main Responsibilities Model development and testing using crop and forest ecosystem data [15%]. Develop and test model-data fusion system, to optimise parameter estimation and to provide parameter uncertainty and covariances [15%]. Spatial analysis of drought stress constraints on production, productivity and growth across target areas [10%] Devise a viable system to generate robust and near-real time information to support crop and water resource management in sub-Saharan Africa for more resilient agriculture [20%] Work with and visit local partners to provide specific outputs relevant to conditions and requirement for decision support [20%] Prepare reports and submit scientific papers related to the research topics, and present results at project and scientific meetings [20%]. 4. Planning and Organising ? Interact with Ecometrica, the Edinburgh-based SME that is leading the Forests 2020 project, for organising data flows. ? Work closely with the other Edinburgh University PDRAs and academics to efficiently produce outputs and tools ? Work with international partners to develop relevant outputs for local conditions. 5. Problem Solving ? Develop framework for model-data fusion ? Interpret analyses and test hypotheses based on results ? Ability to resolve problems constructively as they occur 6. Decision Making Key decisions will be made collaboratively with inputs from the PI and others involved in the project. The post-holder will undertake day-to-day decision making on model development, applications and analyses. S/he will need to exercise good judgement as to which decisions must be referred to the PI and which should simply be implemented and documented. 7. Key Contacts/Relationships The postholder will interact with the investigators and other project staff, PDRAs and students within the PI?s group. Close links will be required with the Forests 2020 lead at Ecometrica, and also with NCEO. More generally, the postholder will discuss the work, and other questions of scientific interest, with other members of the School. The postholder will be expected to represent the University externally, by presenting their work at specialist meetings or workshops in the relevant research area. He/she may also be required to provide advice and support to relevant students. 8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job The following are essential: ? Ph.D. in a relevant area (e.g. ecosystem science, hydrology, biogeochemical cycling) or near completion. ? Aptitude and motivation to use models to test hypotheses and add value to data ? Experience in simulation modelling, including model-data integration ? Experience and skills in computer programming (FORTRAN, R, python especially). ? Excellent written and oral communication skills in English, team-working and interpersonal skills ? Enthusiasm and personal initiative for research ? Proven track-record in publishing in academic journals Desirable ? Familiarity and experience with working in tropical ecosystems ? Excellent organisational skills ? Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary research environment while also being able to work and solve problems independently ? Experience with data assimilation ? Experience with remote sensing data collection and processing ? Experience in manipulating large data sets, including remote sensing datasets. ? Some fluency in one or more of Spanish, Portuguese, or Bahasa Indonesian 9. Dimensions There are no line management responsibilities associated with this post. 10. Job Context and any other relevant information This post is associated with a UK Space Agency funded project, Forests 2020, and with a Royal Society Challenge Grant. This PDRA will join a vibrant group of ecologists, modellers, remote sensing scientists, and social scientists studying tropical ecology, carbon cycling, land use and land use change within the Global Change Research Institute, providing a great opportunity for career development and a highly supportive working environment. The Global Change Ecology group of Prof Williams include ten PDRAs and PhD students, with projects across the tropics and globally. Prof Williams is an investigator in NCEO, a research centre funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. Forests 2020 is a strategic ?15m investment, matched by partner contributions, to advance the application of Earth Observation to tropical forests. Forests 2020 addresses technical barriers to implementing forest monitoring systems that can measure forest change and provide information on the risks and drivers of forest loss. We will work in six tropical countries relevant to the UK?s International Climate Fund (ICF) investments of approximately ?200 million per year, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forest loss, promoting better forest governance and rural livelihoods. The University of Edinburgh and the UK National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) are major partners in the project. There are three staff involved in Edinburgh: Prof Mat Williams (PI), Dr Ed Mitchard (co-I) and Dr Dan van der Horst (co-I). Three other PDRAs are being appointed at Edinburgh under this grant. The Royal Society Challenge Grant is motivated by the challenge of a growing population, climate change and resource limitations confounding efforts to improve food security in Africa. Here we will map soil moisture, fluxes of water, and soil moisture constraints on production and yield. These maps will serve as a proof of concept to identify areas of crop yield at risk, and as a pilot project for subsequent effort to construct an operational system. The long term goal is to provide information on soil moisture, evapotranspiration and moisture limits on plant growth and crop yield at high resolution for areas at greatest risk in Africa, thereby supporting more resilient agricultural systems. Application Procedure All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments. You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not. The closing date is 5pm GMT on 08 February 2017. Eligibility to Work In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK). To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview. For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website If you are not currently eligible to work in the UK, the University has the authority to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa) in accordance with current UK Visas and Immigration rules. For applicants interested in sponsorship information is available on our Working in the UK website However, if you have previously been sponsored by an employer within the UK but your leave has expired or lapsed and you are no longer in the UK, according to Home Office Visa Immigration rules you cannot apply for sponsorship under any category of Tier 2 for a period of 12 months after the date your visa expired and/or you left the UK. If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts and come from outside the EEA, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa route offers a greater flexibility in your employment compared to other UK immigration routes, meaning you can, for example, move organisation, location and/or job role. By contrast with, a Tier 2 visa where you are ?tied to a UK sponsor?. Tier 1 provides greater flexibility in undertaking additional engagements, such as collaborations and is intended as a route to settlement. Allowed absences from the UK are up to 180 days per year without losing the eligibility to qualify for settlement, with no restriction on the reason for absence (unlike Tier 2, where any absences from the UK must be for a purpose consistent with the person?s employment or economic activity, including paid annual leave, or for serious or compelling personal reasons). You would initially need to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK). Tier1 (Exceptional and Exceptional Promise) Endorsement Criteria Once successfully endorsed, you are able to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. More information on this entry route is available at UKVI Website . Conditions of Employment Pension Scheme This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme. For further information please visit our Pensions website . Salary The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of ?32,004 to ?38,183 for 35 hours, each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week. The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual. The School of GeoSciences Who we are: In the School of GeoSciences we explore the factors and forces that shape our world. We aim to develop a better understanding of the coupled Earth System, that is, the interactions between the Earth?s geosphere, atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and cryosphere, the drivers of variability and change, and the roles and responses of humans in this complex interplay. With over 370 academics, researchers and research students, we are the largest grouping of geoscientists in the UK. Research activity is currently coordinated within three main Research Institutes ? Global Change, Earth and Planetary Science, and Geography and the Lived Environment ? and within many smaller research groupings that may reach beyond the School. The School of GeoSciences holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. Distinctive features: A distinguishing feature of the School is the combination of breadth, relevance and strength of our research and teaching. For example, our teaching and research embrace issues relating to equality and vulnerability, development and sustainability, climate and environmental change, energy, food and water security, mitigation of anthropogenic environmental change, natural resources, waste management, and natural disasters. By creating and supporting an intellectual environment that explicitly strives to remove barriers between disciplines, engenders ambition, and encourages internal and external collaboration, we are ideally placed to help lead in addressing some of the most compelling issues of our time. We are addressing many current ?grand challenges? effectively though: building on strong core disciplines that include ecology, environmental sciences, geography, geology, geophysics, meteorology and oceanography; utilising approaches that range from whole-system-scale modelling to process studies and critical analysis; and actively fostering collaboration with academic and non-academic stakeholders within and beyond the University. http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/geosciences College of Science and Engineering ( http://www.ed.ac.uk/science-engineering ) The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor Lesley Yellowlees, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy). Informatics is located in the University?s Central Area near George Square, with the other six 2 miles further south at the King?s Buildings. The College has over 2,700 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, 800 taught postgraduates and 1,500 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research collaborations. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 In the 2014 REF over 95% of our staff were submitted. Of our seven submissions, four of which were as a joint research school in combination with a strategic research university partner through pooling, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings. The University of Edinburgh For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They?ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do. The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs. As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 35,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 13,000 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles. As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided. The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment. See our University Initiatives website for further information. University Initiatives website The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
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