Research Assistant (A9799) & Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Landscape Evolution Modelling (A9798)

Two research positions are available at the University of Plymouth (UK) 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.

The successful applicants 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. You will additionally work closely with Drs Zoë Mildon and Martin Stokes at Plymouth, 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).

Position 1: Research Assistant (A9799)

Salary/Grade: £28,759 - £32,982 per annum/Grade 5 for 30 months full-time.

The role:

In this role you will work with a variety remote-sensed datasets to map and characterise landslides across multiple years and in different regions. You will also draw upon published literature and maps to expand the geological and geomorphological databases for each study area. You will be responsible for the timely and accurate delivery of these landslide inventories and will be supported by the more senior researcher.

The person:

You must have a minimum of a Bachelors degree in Geology, Physical Geography, Geophysics or similar, with an interest in the fields of landslides, geohazards, and quantitative geomorphology. Some experience in using ArcGIS Pro or another GIS programme is essential. You must have experience of completing a dissertation or research project using a range of methods and datasets. Experience of statistical analysis of scientific datasets is desirable. You must be able to work collaboratively and inclusively as part of a team, be able to meet deadlines and present your work in a range of formats.

A full role profile and job description can be found here

Position 2: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Landscape Evolution Modelling (A9798)

Salary/Grade: £34,804 - £40,322 per annum/Grade 7 for 36 months full-time.

The 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 susceptibility 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.

The person:

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.

A full role profile and job description can be found here

The successful candidates 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 either role then please contact Dr Sarah Boulton by email at

The application closing date is the 26 November and interviews are likely to take place week commencing Monday 11 December 2023.

You will be notified if you have been shortlisted or not. Applications are made online through the Job profile pages.

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+.

published: 20 October 2023     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.