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Research Associate/Senior Research Associate

Requisition ID:  5195

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: £30,942.00 - £55,750.00 

Closing Date: 21 October 2020

The Role


The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology seeks a researcher with an interest in methane emissions from lakes in relation to past, present and future environmental change. You will have experience in limnology or palaeolimnology, measuring greenhouse gas fluxes, and stable isotope analysis / isotope mixing models.


This 24-month fixed-term role is part of the NERC-funded project “Past methane from lakes in Alaska: Integrating proxy records and models”, which is a collaboration among Newcastle University, University of Southampton and Bournemouth University, with project partners in the USA, Sweden and Switzerland.


The project will combine data from proxy-records (lake sediment cores) and numerical modelling to understand changes in lacustrine methane emissions in Alaska during the Holocene, with the aim to better predict future methane emissions from high-latitudes under warmer-than-present climatic conditions.


You will be expected to do fieldwork in Alaska and collect sediment cores and perform methane emission measurements together with PI and Co-Is.  You will also undertake Pb-210, Cs-137 and radiocarbon dating of sediment cores and analyse invertebrate remains. Stable isotopes of invertebrates and specific compounds will be analysed together with colleagues at the University of Southampton.


You will work closely with a second postdoctoral researcher at Bournemouth University who will use the proxy-data to test a process-based model for lake methane emissions under different climate scenarios.


Key Accountabilities


  • Sediment coring (fieldwork), and sediment processing (labwork)
  • Analysis of lake methane emissions
  • Interpretation of results and leading dissemination via peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and outreach activities.




  • Collect sediment, water, and methane samples from lakes in Alaska during fieldwork in summer 2020, as part of a team.
  • Prepare samples for analysis of C-14, Pb-210 and Cs-137 and create chronologies.
  • Undertake XRF analysis, loss-on-ignition, invertebrate identification, and sample preparation for stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. If required, additional training will be provided by the PI. 
  • Manage their time effectively and work independently on a day-to-day basis, but also work closely with the PI, Co-Is, other PDRA and RAs of the project.
  • Take the lead with preparing publication materials for journals, presenting results at conferences, workshops, outreach activities or other appropriate events, in collaboration with the PI and Co-Is.
  • To ensure correct safety processes are followed during fieldwork and laboratory analyses in accordance with School Safety Policies and legal requirements (COSHH).
  • Use of standard office software and specialist discipline specific data analysis software as appropriate to duties.
  • Occasionally travel to Southampton to bring samples to collaborators and attend project meetings.
  • Attend seminars and other departmental meetings as required.
  • Carry out other duties, which may arise commensurate with the grade of the post, as requested by the PI.



The Person 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Confident in using R, Matlab or other software suited for data manipulation and statistical analysis of large, complex data sets.
  • Proficient in IT, including extensive use of Microsoft Office packages, including Word, Powerpoint and Excel.
  • Experience with collection of sediments (coring) and water samples.
  • Experience with field sampling and laboratory analysis to estimate methane concentrations and fluxes.
  • Experience with creating age models using C-14, Pb-210 and Cs-137.
  • Experience with identification of invertebrates and their remains.
  • Experience with sample preparation for stable isotope analysis and interpretation of stable isotope data and isotope mixing models.
  • Highly numerate and confident in data manipulation and analysis.
  • Awareness of Health and Safety issues as related to fieldwork and laboratory work (COSHH).  
  • Full, clean driving license      


Attributes and Behaviour


  • Ability to organise own high-quality research activities.
  • Demonstrated ability to disseminate research results in leading peer-viewed journals.
  • Communicate new and complex information effectively, both verbally and in writing, engaging the interest and enthusiasm of the target audience.
  • Work effectively in a team, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of others to help teamwork development.
  • Proven ability to take own initiative, prioritise effectively, manage own workload, and to meet deadlines.      
  • Positive attitude to colleagues and students.




  • PhD or equivalent professional qualifications in geography, environmental science/chemistry, palaeoecology, limnology, or related subject


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 School holds a bronze Athena SWAN award in addition to the University’s silver 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: 5195