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Physical Geography Research Technician (UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Hub)

Requisition ID:  1241

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Posted Date:  25-Nov-2019


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Salary: £25,941.00 - £33,797.00 

Closing Date: 9 December 2019


The role

The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology are seeking to appoint a highly motivated and enthusiastic Physical Geography Research Technician to join the UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Hub as part of our wider Professional Services team.


You will report to the Living Deltas Hub manager and will work under the direct supervision of the project investigator, working closely with academics and technical staff across Physical Geography.  You will provide laboratory support in palaeoenvironmental research activities as part of the international, multi-institutional UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Research Hub (www.livingdeltas.org). In addition, you will provide broader research support to palaeo-facing Physical Geography research and teaching academics.


The research technician post requires laboratory experience in techniques routinely employed in the palaeoenvironmental sciences, including the determination of carbon contents, biogenic silica, and grain size distribution. In addition, sample preparation for stable isotope analysis from a range of minerals and sediments will also be undertaken.


This is a fixed term post available for 36 months.


For informal enquiries regarding this role, please contact Dr Andrew Henderson at Andrew.Henderson@ncl.ac.uk.


The UKRI GCRF Living Deltas Hub


The Global Challenges  Research  Fund  (GCRF)  is  a  £1.5  billion  fund  to  address  the  global  issues  faced by developing countries. GCRF harnesses expertise of the UK’s world-leading researchers to promote  the  dignity  and  prosperity  for  some  of  the  most  disadvantaged  and  hardest  to  reach  people  on  our  planet.  Their  sheer  scale  and  ambition  is  what  makes  them  so  exciting,  with  researchers  working  in  partnership  with  governments,  community  groups  and  international  agencies  across  85  countries.  Each  Hub  has  the  potential  to  transform  the  quality  of  life  for  significant  numbers  of  people  across  the  world  and  help  safeguard  our  planet  for  future  generations. The Living Deltas Hub has the overarching aim to safeguard delta futures through more resilient communities and sustainable  development.  River  deltas  comprise  just  one  per  cent  of  global  landscapes  yet  support  over  half  a  billion  people.  Deltas  are  vital  social-ecological  systems  and  regional  food-baskets,  but  the  terrain  and  the  livelihoods  of  those  who  rely  on  them  are  under  threat from human exploitation, environmental degradation and climate change. Focusing on the Red River and Mekong deltas in Vietnam and the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta  in  Bangladesh  and  India,  the  Living  Deltas  Hub’s  core  aim  is  a  significant  contribution  to  better  sustainable  development  outcomes  for  developing  countries  in  the  region,  transforming  policy and practice on the basis of new approaches to understanding delta change. The Hub will address the significant social-ecological challenges currently confronting these delta systems in a transdisciplinary  manner  that  responds  to  the  interlinked  agenda  of  the  UN  Sustainable Development  Goals.  The  Hub  is  coordinated  in  Newcastle  University  and  has  over  20  partners  across the deltas regions and the rest of the world.


Key Accountabilities

  • Undertake routine analysis of lake and wetland sediment samples, including total organic carbon, inorganic carbon, grain size analysis, biogenic silica.
  • In collaboration with project staff, support field trip logistics and field tasks in Living Delta countries including Vietnam, Bangladesh and India. 
  • Prepare samples for stable isotope analysis, including sieving samples to isolate microfossils and purification of samples for isotope analysis.
  • Sub-sample sediment core material for distribution to UK and international collaborators.
  • To catalogue collected samples in an orderly archive for processing.
  • Develop, or augment, existing methods and processes in collaboration with projects, techniques and work practices within the analytical laboratories or in the field.
  • Contribute to the general smooth running of laboratory facilities and monitor and maintain stocks of reagents and other laboratory consumables.
  • Ensure correct storage, handling and disposal of hazardous chemical waste in accordance with University Safety Policies and legal requirements (COSHH).
  • Comply with University policies, including financial regulations, equal opportunities policy, Health & Safety policy, promoting race equality policy, information systems security policy, data security, intellectual property rights and safeguarding policies.
  • Engage in personal, professional and career development, to enhance both specialist and transferable skills in accordance with desired career trajectory.
  • Carry out other duties, commensurate with the grade of the post, as requested for the project or the wider department.


The Person (Essential)

  • Be enthusiastic with good interpersonal skills and be able to work flexibly and co-operatively as part of a team or on own initiative.
  • You will be an effective problem solver with excellent organisational skills and the ability to pay close attention to detail.
  • Good verbal and written communication skills are essential.
  • Willingness to travel, including overseas for field courses and conduct field tasks in difficult conditions is advantageous to this role.


Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Significant practical experience of laboratory analysis.
  • Experience of sedimentological analysis, including grain size distributions and total organic carbon.
  • Knowledge of maintaining accurate research laboratory records, and interpretation of complex data sets.
  • Knowledge of Health and Safety procedures in a research laboratory environment.
  • Significant experience using MS Office, and management of spreadsheets.
  • Experience of other geochemical analysis and preparation of bulk sediments for isotope analysis and/or microfossil is beneficial to this role.
  • Experience of light microscopy would be advantageous to the role.
  • Experience of (and an interest in) fieldwork in challenging and varied conditions is desirable.  
  • Knowledge of safeguarding policies in a development context would be desirable.

Attributes and Behaviour


  • Works collaboratively with others, plays a positive role in teams and establishes and grows relationships across the organisation where different skills, expertise and opinions are valued.
  • Shares relevant and useful information with others.
  • Respects the expertise and contribution of others even if own opinion is different.
  • Willing to help others and share workloads.

Finding Solutions

  • Is proactive in dealing with analytical problems.
  • Keeps an open mind to alternative ways of doing things.


  • Plans communication methods to add impact to messages.
  • Clear and concise; gets the message across to others.
  • Is factually correct and gives consistent verbal and non-verbal messages.
  • Chooses communication tools appropriately.

Planning and Organising

  • Plans and co-ordinates workload in a structured way.
  • Set own priorities in conjunction with team and area objectives.
  • Flexible approach to working including working irregular hours on occasion.
  • Ensures that all activities are completed on time.

Delivering services

  • Pays attention to detail.
  • Has a positive attitude for doing things better.
  • Takes responsibility for achieving own targets.
  • Strives to deliver high quality results.
  • Is enthusiastic in getting the job done on time.



  • First Degree in Geography, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences or equivalent experience.
  • A qualification in chemistry (GCSE or higher) or equivalent experience would also be advantageous.

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


Requisition ID: 1241