Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Landscape Evolution Modelling

University of Plymouth
November 26, 2023
Offerd Salary:£38,205 - £44,263
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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£38,205 - £44,263 per annum - Grade 7

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Fixed-term, Full-time

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Landscape Evolution Modelling


Environmental Sciences comprises four distinct areas across the subjects of chemistry, earth sciences, environmental sciences and geography, each delivering exceptional teaching, support and research. All our degree programmes are professionally accredited and designed with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in mind. Staff and students work and study in the stunning natural landscape of south west England. Our national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, characterful towns and cities, and 650 mile-long coastline provide the backdrop from which we address global sustainability challenges on land and at sea. An interdisciplinary team of world-class academics undertake teaching and research focused on challenges including climate change, natural hazards, social justice, pollution, energy transitions, land- and seascape conservation and the sensitive development of natural resources. The School holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award demonstrating the University's ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.

This position is funded as part of the NERC UKRI Pushing the Frontiers project ‘EXCESS: Exploring the role of excess topography and peak ground acceleration on earthquake preconditioning of landslides'. A new project that aims to develop an innovative approach for the investigation of time-dependent landslide hazard in tectonically active regions, by integrating multi-year landslide inventories with state-of-the-art numerical modelling to simulate earthquakes, landscape response and evolution over many millennia.

You will work as part of a team led by Dr Sarah Boulton in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, a large, interdisciplinary School with a record of success and a strong research profile in the physical processes underlying natural hazards. The School comprises nearly 60 academic staff and enjoys excellent support from well-resourced laboratory facilities (including 16 technicians). As well as depth and breadth in and across our subject areas, we have strong academic links across the institution with for example the University's Sustainable Earth and Marine Institutes.

In this role, you will use physics-based numerical modelling to explore how rates of landsliding vary over time after significant earthquakes, how this signal decays over time and the implications for landslide suceptability modelling. You will be responsible for developing landscape evolution modelling codes to incorporate landsliding and combining with dynamic rupture models to simulate ground motions. Local and national High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities will be utilised in this role and it will be important to ensure that the modelling conducted is efficient. This modelling will be combined with multi-year landslide inventories to simulate long-term landslide hazard after major earthquakes.

Training will be provided in the existing software for dynamic rupture and landscape evolution modelling, and using High Performance Computing facilities (depending on the skill set of the applicant). This is likely to involve travel to the Netherlands for a few weeks. Alongside your responsibilities to the position, you will be supported to develop your own independent career and research interests.

As a post-doctoral researcher, you will work closely at Plymouth with Dr Boulton, Drs Zoë Mildon and Martin Stokes, and a research assistant on the project, along with Dr TC Hales (Cardiff), Dr Georgie Bennett (Exeter), and project partners Dr Benjamin Campforts (VU University Amsterdam), Drs Josh Jones and Michael Whitworth (both AECOM – a multinational engineering consultancy).

You must have or be close to completing a relevant PhD in a field such as geophysics, geocomputing, quantitative geomorphology, earthquakes/seismic hazard or physics. You must have experience of either utilising landscape evolution models (e.g., CHILD, Hylands, etc) to model landscape processes or experience of dynamic rupture modelling to simulate earthquakes. You must be able to work collaboratively and inclusively. You must have a demonstrable interest in improving our understanding of landslides and associated hazard. Experience in using or developing code for High Performance Computing is desirable. Experience of publishing and presenting work to a range of audiences is desirable.

The successful candidate may be required to obtain an ATAS Certificate prior to this research being undertaken.

Please demonstrate how you meet the essential criteria outlined in the knowledge, qualifications, training and experience elements of the job description in your supporting statement.

For an informal discussion to find out more about the role then please contact Dr Sarah Boulton by email at [email protected].

Interviews are likely to take place week commencing Monday 11th December 2023 and you will be notified if you have been shortlisted or not.

This is a full-time position working 37 hours per week on a fixed-term basis for 3 years due to funding.

Flexible working options including job share will be considered.

We offer a competitive salary package and a generous pension and holiday scheme. We also offer a range of other benefits, including ongoing development opportunities.

The University of Plymouth has a strong interdisciplinary research ethos which is supported by our three strategic Research Institutes; the Marine Institute, the Sustainable Earth Institute, and the Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research. As a member of our academic community, you'll be expected to contribute to our recognised research strengths. Working holistically across the University, you will be challenged to innovate, collaborate and deliver impactful research contributions as part of a systems thinking approach to addressing today's global challenges.

The University of Plymouth is a diverse, welcoming community where everyone makes a difference and is encouraged to bring their whole selves to work. To find out more about our inclusive community, initiatives such as Athena Swan and the Race Equality Charter and our range of benefits / support mechanisms such as flexible working, staff networks and enhanced maternity, paternity & adoption leave please visit our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion webpages

We particularly welcome applicants from under-represented groups such as BAME/BIPOC and LGBT+.

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