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Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Palaeofire
Whiteknights Reading UK

Job reference: SRF33010

Location: Whiteknights Reading UK

Closing date: 15/08/2020

Job live date: 30/06/2020

Salary: £30,942 per annum

Employment type: AR-Research

Department: School of Archaeology Geography & Environmental Science

Division: Geography & Environmental Science

Hours per week: 1.00 FTE

Employment Basis/Type: Full-time, Fixed-term up to 4 years

We are seeking to recruit a PDRA in Palaeofire to be part of a team of researchers in the new Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, a joint initiative of Imperial College, Kings College, Royal Holloway and the University of Reading. The Palaeofire PDRA will be responsible for the analysis of changes in fire regimes in response to past environmental and climate changes, using large-scale data synthesis and fire modelling.

The main responsibilities of the PDRA will be the collection and analysis of relevant palaeodata sets, including data on fire regimes, vegetation, peat growth, land-surface hydrology and climate reconstructions. This work will involve updating existing global data sets, through collaboration with international groups such as the PAGES Global Palaeofire Working Group or the PAGES C-peat project. It may also involve creating and promoting new data compilations, for example for regional vegetation changes. In addition to analysis of the palaeodata, the PDRA will be involved in the design and analysis of model experiments to test explicit hypotheses about the response of fire to environmental and climate change in the past, including running specific palaeo-experiments using state-of-the-art fire-enabled vegetation models. The appointed candidate will have the opportunity to develop their own research agenda, in consultation with the Management Board of the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society. The postholder will be based in Reading but will be expected to spend time at Imperial College in order to work with the PDRAs based there.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • - Academic qualifications in physics, geography, ecology, environmental science or a related subject at MSc/MA level, and a PhD in a relevant subject by the time of appointment;
  • - A strong interest in palaeoclimate and palaeofire research;
  • - Hands-on experience of working with charcoal data to reconstruct past fire regimes;
  • - Demonstrated experience in working with palaeoenvironmental databases
  • - Demonstrated programming skills in Fortran, Python and/or R, including graphical and statistical programming;
  • - Practical experience of advanced statistical analysis techniques, including geostatistics;
  • - Practical experience in the analysis and use of palaeo data sets for model evaluation;
  • - A proven track record of publishing research in the peer-reviewed literature and experience of presenting and communicating science to your peers;
  • - Good organisation skills, and self-motivation coupled with the ability to work as part of a team and coordinate with international partners;
  • - An intention to develop an independent research career in palaeofire.


Informal contact details

Alternative informal contact details

Contact role:


Contact role:

Leverhulme Centre Director

Contact name:

Sandy P. Harrison

Contact name:

Colin Prentice

Contact phone:

+44 (0)118 378 5258

Contact phone:


Contact email:

Contact email:


Interviews will be held on 25 August 2020


The University is committed to having a diverse and inclusive workforce, supports the gender equality Athena SWAN Charter and the Race Equality Charter, and is a Diversity Champion for Stonewall, the leading LGBT+ rights organisation.  Applications for job-share, part-time and flexible working arrangements are welcomed and will be considered in line with business needs.



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