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Research Associate

Requisition ID:  24977

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  18-Jan-2023

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.


What’s in it for you? 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.


Newcastle is an inclusive global University community 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.


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global 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 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.


Salary: £32,348 to £42,155 per annum


Closing Date: 09 February 2023


The Role


We are looking for Postdoctoral Research Associate to work on a 4-year long Natural Environment Research Council funded project: Deplete and Retreat: the future of Andean Water Towers


This is an exciting opportunity for a glaciologist and remote sensor to advance their research experience and career development, working with and being mentored by leading researchers across glaciology, hydrology and climate change. You will be given scope to shape key aspects of research design as part of a talented team working together on this new interdisciplinary research project.  As part of the role, you will be supported to publish articles with other team members, develop innovative research methodologies and establish networks with scholars working on Andean glaciology, hydrology and climate.  The project includes funding for fieldwork and to support conference attendance. There are also opportunities to undertake an extended research placement in South America. You will also have time and support in developing further research proposals to take your own research ideas to their next stage.


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 Project

The food and water security of 90 million people depends on the Andean mountain water towers. Climate change is depleting the stores of water held in snow and is causing glacier retreat. These cryospheric changes are spatio-temporally complex, with fewer, and more extreme, precipitation events, and glacio-climatic feedbacks that modulate glacier mass loss. Understanding the changing role of the Cryosphere in catchment hydrology is vital for water resource management. The aim of this project is to assess the sensitivity of water resources across the Andes to the changing supplies of snow and ice.


Deplete and Retreat has been co-developed and co-produced with colleagues and partners in Chile, Peru and Bolivia, and with the World Glacier Monitoring Service. This position will involve organising and, if desired, participating in fieldwork to the Andes to deploy sensitive monitoring equipment in four mountain catchments, and remote sensing of glacier change from the last Latest Holocene Neoglaciation to the present day. These datasets will be essential for model calibration and validation, and allow a better understanding of the ongoing response of catchments to climate change.


The project is led by the Physical Geography research group within the School of Geography Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University. You would be joining a project team working closely with Dr Bethan Davies (Newcastle) and colleagues at the universities of Sheffield, Leeds, Imperial, Ulster, Kings College London and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. This means you will be working with a team with a range of expertise and disciplinary interests across the fields of glaciology, hydrology, climate change and associated areas.   


This is a full-time post, for a period of 30 months.


If you have any queries regarding this role, please contact


Key Accountabilities

  • Develop and organise fieldwork plans for four expeditions to the Andes, to deploy monitoring equipment and ground truth remotely sensed field mapping
  • Collate existing glaciological, geochronological and geomorphological data into a geodatabase
  • Undertake geomorphological mapping of glacial advances during the Late Holocene
  • Apply photogrammetric techniques to archival satellite imagery to develop new digital elevation models constraining past glacier change over the satellite era
  • Apply remote sensing technologies to reconstruct glacier area and volume change over the last 250 years, using geomorphological data, the new digital elevation models and archival satellite imagery
  • Author academic papers and conference presentations, jointly with other team members, based on the project’s research findings
  • Contribute to the development and dissemination of policy and practice recommendations to a range of different actors and organisations
  • Support the content of the project website and social media activity
  • Ensure that personal knowledge in relevant fields of study is kept up to date
  • Maintain academic standards and freedom, and work in accordance with university policies (e.g. equal opportunities, health and safety policies)
  • Undertake relevant training and development activities to develop capacity for taking on wider responsibilities


The Person


Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • A background of research within the field of glaciological remote sensing
  • Experience of planning and undertaking glaciological fieldwork
  • Research interests in line with the project - i.e., engaging with changing downstream water supply as a result of changing mountain glaciation
  • Experience of writing academic publications
  • Experience of international or national conference presentations


  • Experience of field surveys and remote sensing of glacial geomorphology and glacial change
  • Experience of applying photogrammetry for remote sensing purposes
  • Experience of Python or other scientific programming languages


Attributes and Behaviour

  • Ability to work independently and as part of an international and diverse team
  • Clear commitment to interdisciplinary research
  • Commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion



  • A PhD in Glaciology, or a cognisant discipline


The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University is also a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 24977