Research Fellow - Sea ice and New Zealand ESM modelling

Our Department

The Department of Physics at the University of Otago has a vibrant research environment, with strength in sea ice physics and geoscience research as well pure and applied physics, electronics and energy studies.

The University of Otago is located in Dunedin, the wildlife capital of New Zealand, with sandy beaches 10 minutes drive from campus, and penguin, sea lion, and albatross viewing an hour's drive from campus. Dunedin is the largest city in the scenic Otago province.

The Role

This position is an exciting opportunity for an early career climate modeller to join one of the world's leading sea ice observational research groups to collaborate on the development of the New Zealand Earth System Model.

As a Research Fellow, you will be joining a multidisciplinary, international research team of physicists, climate modellers, oceanographers, and atmospheric scientists working at the cutting edge of Earth System Model development for the Southern Ocean. The Principal Investigators are Dr Inga Smith, Dr Jeff Ridley, Professor David Stevens, and Professor Cecilia Bitz.

Your Skills and Experience

The successful applicant must have:

  • Minimum of a PhD (or equivalent) already awarded, with the thesis and/or international peer-reviewed publications in a physical sciences discipline such as climate modelling, oceanography, remote sensing, or meteorology.
  • Excellent computing skills.
  • The ability to engage with and work with a wide variety of researchers and stakeholders in the development and analysis of climate modelling for New Zealand.
  • The ability to work without direct supervision, set priorities and manage their own time effectively in order to achieve the goals of the project whilst maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
  • A willingness to engage in two-way discussions related to Vision M?tauranga through participation in hui/discussions organised by The University of Otago's Te Koronga: Indigenous Science Research Theme. Taiao (environmental sustainability) is a core part of Vision Matauranga: Participation in training sessions run by the University of Otago Office of Maori Development is also expected.
  • A willingness and the ability to support PhD, MSc, honours, and/or summer research students who may be involved with the project.

Preferred qualities for the successful applicant are:

  • Familiarity with Southern Ocean and high latitude sea ice and ocean modelling in Earth System Models and/or global climate models.
  • The ability to program in Fortran. Candidates with good programming skills and the ability to learn Fortran quickly will also be considered.

There are no restrictions on applicants with regards to the number of years since completing their PhD.

Further Details

This position is jointly funded through the Deep South National Science Challenge and the Antarctic Science Platform as a full-time fixed-term appointment for 2.3 years, ending on 30 June 2022. Applications for the position as a job share arrangement are also welcome.

Appointment will be on the Research Fellow scale (currently starting at $82,416 per annum). Some additional funding is available may be available to assist with visa costs if the successful applicant does not have New Zealand residency or citizenship. Relocation costs assistance may also be available if the successful applicant currently lives in a location other than Dunedin, New Zealand.

Specific enquiries may be directed to Dr Inga J. Smith, Department of Physics via the contact details below.


To submit your application please click the apply button below and include:

  • A copy of your full CV including a list of publications and the names and contact details of two referees.
  • A one-page cover letter detailing how your skills and experience match those required for the position and why you are interested in the position.

Additional material may be requested for short-listed applicants, but should not be submitted at the initial application stage.

Applications quoting reference number 2000128 will close on Wednesday, 19 February 2020.


To see a full job description and to apply online go to:

Equal opportunity in employment is University policy.

E tautoko ana Te Whare Wananga o Otago i te kaupapa whakaorite whiwhinga mahi.

posted: 22 January 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.