Assistant Professor - Geoscience

Job Description

Salary: Grade 7/8 (£34,308 - £51,805)
Contract: Full-time (35 hours per week), Open Ended. Plus 33 days of annual leave and 9 buildings closed days. A pension option with HWU contributing 21.6% of salary.

Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and leading-edge, relevant research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for innovation, business and industry.

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages. Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society is one of the UK’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges.

The School enjoys facilities consistent with its location in modern, purpose-built accommodation on the Edinburgh campus. The School is well equipped in respect of laboratories for materials, structures, engineering, building services and hydraulics research and teaching. Our research and teaching facilities in Dubai and Malaysia are contained within purpose-built campuses in Dubai Academic City and Putrajaya, respectively. The School has a presence on the Orkney campus in Stromness, where we undertake teaching and research focused around renewable energy and marine resource management.

Institute of Geoenergy Engineering

The Institute of Geoenergy Engineering (IGE) was founded in 1975 and is widely recognised as one of the internationally leading centres of excellence for learning, teaching, and research in petroleum engineering and petroleum geoscience.

IGE provides specialist training through its MSc programmes in Petroleum Engineering, Reservoir Evaluation and Management, Petroleum Geoscience, Mature Field Management and Subsurface Energy Systems, which are offered on Heriot-Watt University’s campuses in Edinburgh, Dubai, and Malaysia and/or through Heriot-Watt Online. IGE also partners with Schlumberger to deliver an MSc in the Management of the Oil & Gas Industry. To-date, over 5000 students have graduated from IGE, many of them now holding leading positions in the energy industry or academia.

IGE’s industrially focused research involves over 60 academics and researchers and 100 PhD students and covers the full range of activities related to the upstream oil and gas industry, from exploring hydrocarbon provinces to characterising the reservoirs and providing robust uncertainty envelopes for future hydrocarbon production to developing new chemical and engineering solutions that ensure that production wells operate efficiently. More recently, IGE has extended its capabilities to develop and manage other subsurface forms of energy such as geothermal energy and CCUS through new collaborations with the Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology to support the transition to a low-carbon energy future. IGE leads several major UK-wide and interdisciplinary research centres, such as the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil and Gas, the International Centre for Carbonate Reservoirs, or the Centre for Energy Economics Research and Policy.

In 2015, IGE received the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize, recognising its sustained pioneering work in innovation and research excellence. The prize recognised how the IGE’s research and innovation activity spans hydrocarbon exploration to production technology, and also harnesses its findings to enhance interdisciplinary work, with some of its inventions now used in medical and biological research. It was the second time that IGE was awarded with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, which is the highest award in U.K. higher education.

During REF2014, IGE has provided four highly ranked impact case studies and was a central component of the Edinburgh Research Partnership in Engineering (ERPE), which was the largest submission in the UK to the General Engineering assessment panel. 94% of ERPE’s overall research activity was classified as world-leading or internationally excellent, and ERPE had the highest research power rating of all general engineering submissions in the UK. Previous REF and RAE exercises have awarded IGE’s research the highest possible ratings as well.

For further information visit

Key Duties & Responsibilities

We seek a candidate for the position of Assistant professor of Applied Geoscience within the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering, School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society. The individual is to provide significant and committed support to our expanding departmental initiatives including accelerating the energy transition and sustainable oil and gas resource management. We are looking for people who are motivated, energetic, interested in developing further their skills, and have a well-established track record in a specialism and teaching within the broad area of applied Geoscience and Engineering.

Suitable applicants should have an industry-based mindset, with a primary focus on subjects within Geoscience, and/or multi-disciplinary hybrid. You must have a proven track record of research and publication in a blend of applications across both the oil and gas and renewables sectors, particularly focussing on energy transition . Topics of relevance include, but are not limited to carbon capture and storage, hydrogen storage, and geothermal energy. Knowledge and understanding of current technical trends such as data science is also desirable.

It is essential that you have a proven track record in growing and sustaining a major research effort within your specialty, and recognised ability to communicate and disseminate the findings to a wide international audience and industry companies via publications, presentations, company-sponsored research and high-level boards and committees.

The successful appointee will be expected to undertake the duties below.:

Research and Knowledge Exchange

  • Identify and develop their own research agenda, focussing on research that is valuable and relevant to industry, government, and society.
  • Identify sources of funding for research, then successfully win funding through submission of effective proposals and support production of proposals elsewhere within IGE and the School as appropriate.
  • Regularly publish high impact research findings in recognised scientific and industry-leading journals; share findings at conferences and internally.
  • Further disseminate research activity using an appropriate range of media for example through external reports, conference presentations, exhibitions of research activity or via short courses for knowledge transfer.
  • Recruit and supervise PhD students through to successful qualification and supervise MSc student projects.

Learning and Teaching

  • Undertake teaching duties in relation to courses appropriate to your area of expertise (e.g. through lectures, seminars, tutorials) on the Edinburgh campus.
  • Contribute to the teaching, management and to IGE’s strategy.
  • Contribute to the continued development of postgraduate studies in consultation with the Course Directors and the Director of Studies.
  • Undertake scholarly activity related to the effective delivery of the curriculum and maintain the level of your subject expertise in line with the latest developments in the field.
  • Contribute to the design and delivery of the curriculum in consultation with colleagues and within the structures and mechanisms established by the School and University;
  • Conduct assessment and moderation across the discipline area, ensuring this is rigorous, fair and clear and undertaken within the policies established by the School and University.
  • Contribute to the monitoring of the quality of learning and teaching through course monitoring and contribute to quality management and enhancement activities across the programme, School and University.
  • Design, prepare and develop a range of learning materials appropriate to the subject area in support of teaching.
  • Provide appropriate pastoral support recognising the varied cultural backgrounds of the student cohort.
  • Stay abreast of developments in Geoscience and Geoenergy education and ensure that these developments are reflected in the evolution of the learning and teaching methods employed on the programme.
  • Develop productive working relationships with other members of staff to facilitate effective team working for the benefit of the subject area.

Academic Management and Administration

  • Undertake administrative tasks associated with programme planning, preparation for examination and progression boards, course development teams etc.
  • Engage in team working and work with others to the benefit of IGE and the University.
  • Take a proactive role both internally and externally in promoting and marketing programmes of study, ensuring the effective and efficient recruitment of students and the achievement of home and international recruitment targets.
  • Contribute to the effective recruitment, admission and induction to the courses with which you are involved, ensuring compliance with the School and University targets. This will include involvement in School and University open days and interview processes.
  • Contribute to the resource planning for the academic year.

Please note that this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve.

We will assess applications based on the criteria stated below, not by the key duties.

Essential and Desirable criteria


  • First degree in Geoscience or a related discipline
  • PhD in Geoscience or a related discipline
  • Knowledge and experience in topics related to Geoscience.
  • A track record of high-quality research publications
  • A developing track record of generating external research income
  • Experience of teaching in a higher education environment
  • Ability to supervise research students
  • Evidence of motivation and determination to succeed
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Demonstrable oral and written communication skills


  • Experience in seismic and log analysis
  • Experience in organisational management systems including equal opportunities issues.
  • Proven ability of research growth.
  • Experience in working in and contributing to a multi-disciplinary research team,
  • Exercise academic leadership for all subject area teaching and scholarly activities.

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on 12th of February 2023.

Please submit your application via the Heriot-Watt on-line recruitment system. Add: (1) Cover letter describing their interest and suitability for the post; (2) Full CV that includes the list of publications; (3) Research and teaching statements, showing their strengths in one or more of the research areas above.

For informal discussions about the position or the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering please contact Professor Mehran Sohrabi, Director of the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering –

Heriot-Watt University is committed to securing equality of opportunity in employment and to the creation of an environment in which individuals are selected, trained, promoted, appraised and otherwise treated on the sole basis of their relevant merits and abilities. Equality and diversity are all about maximising potential and creating a culture of inclusion for all.

Heriot-Watt University values diversity across our University community and welcomes applications from all sectors of society, particularly from underrepresented groups. For more information, please see our website and also our award-winning work in Disability Inclusive Science Careers

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options.

Use our total rewards calculator: to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

posted: 19 December 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.