Research Assistant/Associate (Agro-Eco)

Requisition ID:  26139

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Part Time
Posted Date:  18 Sep 2023



Research Assistant: £31,396 to £32,982 per annum, pro rata

Research Associate: £33,966 to £36,024 per annum, pro rata


Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.


Closing Date: 20 October 2023



The Role


We are looking to appoint a Research Assistant/Associate in the impacts of agricultural management and food supply chains on biodiversity. 


The post-holder will work on two funded research grants: (i) DEFRA-funded project on the impacts of mob grazing in cattle on biodiversity; (ii) EU funded project ‘HOLIFOOD’ linking the impacts of food supply chains on biodiversity. The successful candidate will be based at Cockle Park Farm in the research group of Prof. Mark Whittingham.


The candidate will be responsible for carrying out and supervising data collection on the university farms on biodiversity (birds, invertebrates, and plants) in mob and conventionally grazed fields and analyzing and writing up the consequent findings. She/he will also be responsible for two sub-tasks (with Prof. Whittingham) linking citizen science to early threat detection of threats to food supply chains and environmental impacts of several food supply chains. 


The candidate will be encouraged to write scientific papers and apply for future funding under the mentorship of Professor Whittingham.


The role is a part-time, fixed term position until September 1st 2024 in the first instance (employment will continue if suitable funding opportunities arise). The start date will be as close as possible to end October 2023.


As part of our commitment to career development for research colleagues, the University has developed 3 levels of research role profiles.  These profiles set out firstly the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and secondly the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level.


We are committed to building and maintaining a fair and inclusive working environment and we would be happy to discuss arrangements for flexible and/or blended working.


For informal enquiries please contact Prof. Mark Whittingham ( For further information about the research group, please see 


For further information on The School of Natural and Environmental Sciences click here

To apply, please complete an online application and upload a CV and a cover letter. Your cover letter is a supporting statement, and you should outline how you meet the essential criteria of the role and evidence this with examples. 


Key Accountabilities

  • To collect biodiversity field data (from camera traps and in field measurements of birds, invertebrates, and plants)
  • To liaise with the principal investigator to plan, organise and carry out the work programme
  • To disseminate research results through appropriate media. This will include authoring or co-authoring papers for publication in academic journals
  • To contribute to existing and new interdisciplinary collaborations
  • To train and assist undergraduate and postgraduate students linked to projects
  • Undertake relevant training and development activities in order to develop an awareness of own professional development needs
  • Maintain and develop knowledge to keep abreast of the latest findings related to the projects and other ecological and environmental areas.
  • Any other duties within the scope and general nature of the grade which may be required


The Person


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

  • Working knowledge of R and R Studio and suitable models to apply to ecological and environmental data sets
  • Ability to undertake outdoor field work at all times of year. 
  • Willingness to supervise honours and masters’ students assisting Prof. Whittingham
  • Experience in relevant ecological methods (both field and statistical) 
  • Experience of writing scientific reports and/or scientific publications
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills. 
  • High level of problem-solving capacity


  • Experience of writing scientific publications commensurate with career-level
  • Experience of successful supervision of honours and masters project students

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Comfortable working both individually and have good team working skills. 
  • Capacity for original thought
  • Enthusiasm and a strong work ethic
  • Ability to interact with researchers from different backgrounds
  • Ability to communicate scientific results to a broad or non-specialist audience.
  • Ability and willingness to work in interdisciplinary environments
  • Well-developed interpersonal communication skills that enable you to engage external and internal stakeholders and work effectively in a multidisciplinary team


  • A high mark in an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and in an MBiol or Masters in a relevant science subject, such as biology or ecology 


  • A PhD in a relevant subject area (e.g. Biology, Ecology, Environmental Science)

Newcastle University is a global University where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


We are committed to being a fully inclusive university which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all of our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from individuals who can complement our existing teams, we believe that success is built on having teams whose backgrounds and experiences reflect the diversity of our university and student population.


At Newcastle University we hold a silver Athena Swan award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  We also hold a Race Equality Charter Bronze award in recognition of our work towards tackling race inequality in higher education REC.


In addition, we are a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe. 

Requisition ID: 26139