Sunday, April 29, 2012

Computational Ecology Research Associate

3-Year Training Appointment
Based at Wallingford, Oxfordshire

The NERC Research Associates' Programme is an initiative which is intended to offer individuals the opportunity to gain practical experience of working within a Research Institute, whilst acquiring specialist and wider skills that will be valuable in a range of careers.
The programme is aimed particularly at those who have recently completed postgraduate studies, but is open to individuals from other backgrounds and of all ages. Individuals will work on highly topical research projects, both important for future research within the environmental research community and appropriate to their backgrounds. Research Associates are given specific, measurable objectives which will be intended to develop their skills as a researcher and to demonstrate their suitability for a research career.
The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is the UK’s Centre of Excellence for research in the terrestrial and freshwater environmental sciences.

Description of work area
CEH’s research underpins our understanding of the environment and the processes that support life on Earth. We undertake large-scale monitoring and experimentation to detect and predict the causes and consequences of environmental change. Our science is managed and delivered through three integrated science programmes: Biodiversity, Water and Biogeochemistry. Study of the abundance and distribution of plants, and their interactions with their environment are central to all these areas of science.

We are offering a Research Associate opportunity within the Biological Records Centre (BRC) to work within a team of 30 ecologists researching solutions to pressing environmental challenges. The postholder will work closely with informatics teams in CEH and within the National Biodiversity Network (NBN).
Description of specific work to be undertaken and skills to be gained
This three-year training position will provide the opportunity to gain skills in developing and implementing technical solutions for applying biodiversity/ecosystem modelling techniques within an online environment.  The postholder will work with quantitative ecologists within BRC and information technology specialists within BRC, the NBN and the CEH Applications
Development Group.

Training and skills to be gained
The following skills will be gained:
 •Skills in biodiversity/ecosystem modelling for applied uses.  A broad understanding of potential modelling approaches will be developed, and you will gain skills in how to apply these techniques to meet stakeholder requirements.
•Advanced skills in the R statistical programming language, applied within a web environment.
•Knowledge of the technical infrastructure of the NBN, and CEH’s Environmental Information Data Centre.  This will include skills in relational databases, website development and web service protocols, content managements systems (Drupal) and online recording tools (Indicia).

Skills required on appointment
We are seeking to recruit a quantitative biologist with a working knowledge of statistical analyses of large-scale and long-term datasets. You will be capable of data manipulation and statistical analysis using R at the level expected in your career.
You will have a degree in biological/environmental science and either have or be nearing completion of a PhD with practical experience gained within a research environment.  You will have effective team working skills and will require the ability to rapidly acquire new IT skills though formal courses, mentoring and well-organised and prioritised self-learning.
Some practical experience in areas of IT relevant to the post will be advantageous, e.g. database design, computer programming, web development, web services.

The salary for this research associateship is £26,180 progressing to £29,410 per annum.  In addition NERC offers 30 days’ annual leave and 10½ days’ public and privilege holiday per annum.

Closing date for applications:  7 May 2012

Applications are handled by the RCUK Shared Services Centre; to apply please visit our job board at<> and complete an online application form. Applicants who would like to receive this advert in an alternative format (e.g. large print, Braille, audio or hard copy), or who are unable to apply online should contact us by telephone on 01793 867003. Please quote reference number IRC48964.

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