Human Resources

Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Biogeochemical Modelling - QMUL21261

Department: School of Geography
Salary: £36,098 per annum (Grade 4)
Reference: QMUL21261
Location: Mile End
Date posted: 28-Jan-2020
Closing date: 12-May-2020

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The Earth Surface Science group at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) are seeking a 36-month PDRA to work on a joint NERC-NSF funded project ‘Sensors Under Snow: Seasonal Processes in the Evolution of Arctic Soils (SUN SPEARS)’. The project is a collaboration between QMUL’s School of Geography, the British Geological Survey (BGS), the University of Utah (USA), Montana Tech (USA), and the University of Colorado, Boulder (USA).

Glacier retreat is exposing pioneer Arctic soils that host a dynamic ecosystem and act as biogeochemical reactors. The aim of this project is to improve the understanding of how seasonal processes contribute to the long-term (i.e. multi-decadal) development of Arctic soils. The PDRA will develop, implement and apply biogeochemical-geophysical models for Arctic soils to address large-scale questions of ecosystem and biogeochemical dynamics. These activities are linked to a larger project whose wider ambition is to achieve continuous year-round monitoring of dynamic processes using a network of buried geophysical sensors in a High-Arctic glacier forefield, and repeated field monitoring of soil biogeochemical processes via state-of-the-art molecular techniques.

Numerical modelling will be instrumental in forming mechanistic linkages between seasonal variations, and soil biogeochemical, geophysical and hydrogeological processes over multi-decadal timescales, as well as to capture and explore year-round dynamics of Arctic soils, and conduct predictive modelling of the future fate of Arctic soils following large-scale ice retreat and climate warming. Model development and calibration will make use of field datasets that will be collected during year-round fieldwork campaigns throughout 2020 and 2021, There will be opportunities for the PDRA to participate in project-related fieldwork activities in Svalbard.

The PDRA will work within a multidisciplinary team with significant strengths in environmental-biogeochemistry, modelling, geomicrobiology, and geophysical sensing – and thus develop an interdisciplinary skill set, and collaborate nationally and internationally.

This is a full time, fixed-term appointment for 36 months, starting on 1st May 2020 or as soon as possible after that date. The starting salary is £36,098 per annum, inclusive of London Allowance. The benefits package includes 30 days annual leave, pension scheme and an interest free season ticket loan.

Candidate specifications

Applicants must have a PhD (by the time of appointment) or equivalent in a relevant natural science or engineering field, and have a track record of research productivity, including peer-reviewed publications in international journals. We are looking for candidates who can demonstrate skills and experience in numerical/reactive-transport modeling and biogeochemistry, with proven ability to work independently and take the initiative. The position is open to international candidates.

How to apply

To apply, please click on the link below. Applications should include:

  • A cover letter (max. 2 pages) stating your motivation for applying to this position, your research interests, and relevant skills, training and experience.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Copy of official transcript(s).
  • Contact information for at least two and up to 3 references.

Please also email Dr. James Bradley ( for confirmation of your intent to apply.

Apply before 20th March 2020 for full consideration. The position will remain open until filled.

For further information regarding this position, please contact Dr. James Bradley (

The School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London is internationally recognized for its theoretically informed, empirically grounded and politically engaged research, and remains one of the top departments for Geography and Environmental Sciences in the UK (REF 2014).

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