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Research Assistant/Associate in Water Security Modelling and Simulation

Requisition ID:  5294

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date: 


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: Research Assistant: £28,331 - £30,046 per annum

            Research Associate £30,942 - £32,817 per annum


Closing Date: 5 November 2020


The Role


We are seeking a dynamic Research Assistant/Associate to develop a scalable, transferable, platform for integrated hydrological and hydraulic modelling that can be deployed and evaluated in different scaled catchments around the world.  You will have experience of developing tools for computational modelling in the water sector, handling geospatial databases, and use of High Performance and Cloud Computing technologies. 


You will join the UKRI GCRF Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub – a flagship UK funded research programme that is developing a systems approach to address the challenge of global water security and contribute to global efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6. You will develop a scalable, transferable, platform for hydrological and hydraulic modelling that can be deployed in catchments around the world.


You will have experience of developing tools for computational modelling in the water sector, handling geospatial databases, and use of High Performance and Cloud Computing technologies.  The post is based in the Water Group in the School of Engineering but will work collaboratively with researchers from many other disciplinary backgrounds from Newcastle University and with the team in the Hub’s other locations. You will join Newcastle University’s internationally leading water group in the School of Engineering, but benefit from exciting collaboration opportunities with Water Security Hub partners in the UK, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, and Malaysia.


The post is available on a fixed term basis for two years in the first instance.


For informal enquiries please contact Professor Richard Dawson (richard.dawson@newcastle.ac.uk) or Dr. Claire Walsh (claire.walsh@newcastle.ac.uk)






Key Accountabilities


  • Familiarise yourself with hydraulic and hydrological models, including in-house tools CityCAT and SHETRAN, and other software such as The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and MODFLOW
  • Develop a software stack for data management, simulation, and visualisation of results.  This is likely to involve using Python to process, upload and – where possible - automate the downloading of datasets (e.g. land use, rainfall) for other organisations and Hub researchers.  A parallel cloud computing framework to distribute processing, making use of a PostgreSQL spatial database (or similar) to store inputs, outputs and parameters.  Creation of visualisations to explore results using tools such as Leaflet and Plotly
  • Set up and validate models in all Water Security Hub study catchments, using observations from Hub researchers
  • Analyse current and future water security risks, including floods, droughts and water quality
  • In collaboration with in-country Hub teams, identify possible water security interventions and test their effectiveness using the modelling platform
  • Present information on research progress and outcomes at project meetings
  • Write up results from your own research activity and provide input into the research project’s dissemination, in a variety of forms (reports, journal articles, chapters, book)
  • 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 by the project

The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience of modelling and simulation of hydrological and/or hydraulic processes
  • Experience of high performance and/or cloud computing
  • Experience of using and developing spatial databases
  • Experience of coding, preferably to solve water security problems


  • Experience of collaborative or consortium working with academic and stakeholder partners
  • A developing track record of peer reviewed publications in internationally recognised journals and experience of presentation of work to the national/international research community
  • Knowledge of innovative ways of presenting research outputs


Attributes and Behaviour

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal; ability and willingness to communicate your research at national and international conferences, to fellow academics in other disciplines and to stakeholders
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to build trust with collaborating groups
  • The ability to work well both independently and as part of a team
  • Good planning, organisational and time management skills
  • Willingness to travel, potentially for extended periods, including to Hub partner destinations (Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Malaysia)



  • A good Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant subject e.g. Engineering, Maths, Geography, Computer Science
  • PhD (Associate level) (or close to completion, or equivalent experience Assistant level) focussed in water security modelling or a related area


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.


The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Please be advised that due to the minimum salary thresholds imposed by the UKVI, this post may not qualify for University sponsorship under Tier 2 of the points based system.


Requisition ID: 5294