Department of Geography and Environmental Science

Research Assistant - Ecosystem Modeller

The Department of Geography and Environmental Science in the School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Sciences (SAGES) at the University of Reading invites applications from Ecosystems scientists with a strong, demonstrable background in numerical modelling and affinity with above- and belowground land surface processes.

This post is part of the Nordeste ("New science for a neglected biome") research consortium, funded by the Newton fund/NERC/FAPESP "Understanding & Sustaining Brazilian Biome Resources" programme. This project is led by Imperial College (Professor Colin Prentice), with various UK (Reading University (PI: Professor Anne Verhoef), Leeds University, Edinburgh Botanical Garden) and Brazilian partners.

The Nordeste project focusses on the dry Caatinga vegetation of North East Brazil, which has suffered from scientific neglect, destruction, and lack of conservation attention, despite a high level of unique (endemic) plant species that are adapted to the region's severe and erratic droughts.

The post holder's main duty will be the development of new hydro-ecological models for Caatinga forest structure and function, with a particular emphasis on between-species below-and above ground competition.

This is a 12 month fixed term post based at the University of Reading (day-to-day supervision by Professor Verhoef, with Professor Prentice in an advisory role).

You will have:

  • A PhD or equivalent in Quantative Ecology, Environmental Science, Terrestrial Hydrology, Plant physiology, or related discipline.
  • Knowledge of: numerical methods for eco-hydrological (process) models; Land surface processes, with emphasis on radiation, water, carbon and energy balance; Software development practices.
  • Experience of: working with complex environmental simulation systems; Numerical model development; Python & Fortran.
  • A proven ability to handle/post-process/analyse large data sets, e.g. as required by/produced by models mentioned above.
  • Proven research capability in a relevant discipline.
  • Willingness to work as a self-motivated individual, driven to solve problems independently.
  • Willingness to collaborate with a team of distributed scientists towards common project goals.

Informal contact details

Contact role: Line Manager
Contact name: Professor Anne Verhoef
Contact phone: +44 (0)118 3786074
Contact email:

Alternative informal contact details

Contact role: Advisor
Contact name: Professor Colin Prentice
Contact phone: +44 (0)20 7594 2354
Contact email:

Job Reference: SRF17788
Closing Date: 1st June 2017

Interviews will be held on the 7 June 2017

The University is committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce and we welcome applications for job-share, part-time and flexible working arrangements which will be considered in line with business needs.

posted: 04 May 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.