Research Associate post- Spatial Data Analyst

Spatial Data Analyst, based at Penicuik Edinburgh (UK)

3-year research training opportunity

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is the UK’s Centre of Excellence for research in the terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere. Working in partnership with the research community, policy makers, industry and society, CEH undertakes cutting edge research to deliver world class solutions to the most complex environmental challenges facing humankind. CEH has an annual turnover of £35 million and employs staff across four sites; the headquarters is at Wallingford with further sites at Bangor, Edinburgh and Lancaster.

Description of work area

As part of CEH’s Science Strategy “Integrated Science for Our Changing World”, a core work area is to determine risks of exposure of humans and ecosystems, and identify strategies and measures to mitigate impacts of pollution and environmental change. This involves the development of tools, datasets and advice to manage threats to the environment and health, and includes inventories, maps, databases and models to support UK and international policy. CEH is involved in several major UK inventory projects, such as the UK National Atmospheric Emission Inventory and Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and leads on spatial inventories of ammonia and greenhouse gases from agriculture, landuse and landuse change and other sources. In addition to national scale modelling and mapping of emissions at a 1-5 km grid resolution, CEH also carries out detailed work on emissions at a landscape scale (individual fields and farms), such as under the ÉCLAIRE project.

Description of specific work to be undertaken and skills to be gained

The primary focus of the placement will be to gain a wide range of skills required for generating the UK inventory maps and datasets. Throughout the training programme, the Research Associate will be part of the inventory team and will be able to practice and apply the newly acquired skills using real data, through engagement in the annual process of data collection-preparation-modelling-mapping-reporting-reviewing for ongoing inventory projects. As this work needs to be carried out to the highest standards, due to the data feeding into national and international policy requirements, the RA will acquire sound working practices including data auditing skills. The RA will be expected to contribute to the ongoing process of developing the inventory methodology and related work into atmospheric pollution modelling, as part of a vibrant group at CEH’s Edinburgh site.

Training provided

At the end of the 3-year training programme, the Research Associate will have gained in-depth skills in spatial analysis, data manipulation tools, database design, GIS, visualisation of spatial data for effective communication, spatial statistics and trend analysis, and producing and reports. This post holder will gain an understanding of a wide range of scientific background knowledge as well as practical skills in the analysis, interpretation and visualisation of spatial and temporal data at the environment/ agriculture/ air pollution interface. The RA will also have benefitted from working at the science-policy interface in a research institute with a strong portfolio of policy and stakeholder relevant projects.

Skills required on appointment

The candidate will have a scientific background e.g. in environmental science, geography or agriculture and should hold a relevant degree (BSc or equivalent). Key requirements are a high degree of numeracy and computer literacy, attention to detail, and a methodical approach to problem solving. Some experience with data manipulation tools, computer programming, GIS or databases would also be an advantage. Demonstrated previous experience of working with scientific datasets and working effectively as part of a team as well as independently are desirable. The ideal candidate should be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person, at an early stage of their science career (e.g. recent graduate), with good organisational and interpersonal skills.

Terms of employment

This is a full-time appointment requiring 37 hours per week. In addition to salary as above, NERC offers a public sector pension scheme, 30 days’ annual leave and 10.5 days’ public and privilege holiday per annum. We offer a flexible and supportive working environment and will encourage your continuing professional development as part of our career support.

Applications are handled by the RCUK Shared Services Centre. To apply, please visit their job board at searching for IRC95850.

Salary: £19,740 – £23,390

Band: 7

Contract Type: 3-year research training programme

Hours: Full Time

Closing Date: 14 June 2013

Interview Date: 16 and 17 July 2013

Reference: IRC95850