Hutton 31-20 - Post-Doctoral Fellow – Ecosystem Modeller/Data Scientist

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Posted: 30/09/2020 08:46
Start Date: Not Available
Salary: Circa £31,365
Location: Aberdeen
Level: Hutton D
Deadline: 28/10/2020 23:59
Hours: 37.00
Benefits: Generous
Job Type: Fixed term - 2 years

The work undertaken by The James Hutton Group is right at the top of the global agenda tackling problems such as the impact of climate change and threats to food and water security.


The Information and Computational Sciences (ICS) Department brings together an exceptional combination of scientific skills and expertise. This ranges from genome scale bioinformatics to the modeling of edaphic or climate information on a geographical scale providing the Institute with a unique capacity to rise to the challenges that come from the new high-throughput data generation technologies that are revolutionising genome and diversity analysis.


Applications are invited for a postdoctoral researcher to work on a NERC funded multi-disciplinary project to develop dynamic digital platform to create a Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system to capture changes in soil carbon and GHG emissions from agricultural systems.

More information on the detail of the post and the post holder can be found below in the job description.

Main Purpose of Job

In this project, we will connect multi-scale sensors using machine learning and novel modelling approaches to detect long term changes in SOC and GHG emissions across multiple land uses. This project aims to demonstrate a novel solution for improved land carbon systems understanding by linking sensors, edge and High Performance Computing (HPC)-based data analysis, modelling and visualization to enable farmer and policy maker information needs in support of net zero GHG emissions.

You should have a PhD directly relevant to Ecosystem modelling, demonstrable experience in modelling biological systems at a range of spatial scales, and a high level of technical capability to undertake large and complex simulations. A track record of high-quality scientific publications in this area is required. You should also have experience in working and communicating with scientists from multiple disciplines. Expertise in spatial analysis would be highly advantageous.

The successful applicant will work as part of a collaboration comprising various ecosystem modellers, computational and data scientists and social scientist at the James Hutton Institute alongside researchers at the University of Aberdeen and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh.


Main duties of post holder

  • Modelling soil carbon dynamics, with a focus on developing dynamic mathematical models like Denitrification and Decomposition model (DNDC), DayCent, Roth C etc., to integrate emerging process understanding of controls on soil carbon distribution and change across multiple scales.
  • Work under Predictive Ecosystem Analyzer (PEcAn) framework development to bring new models into this platform under the guidance of senior modelling scientists.
  • Conduct site to regional-scale modelling using the PEcAn framework.
  • Extracting and collating data from various sensor networks and sources like remote sensing to run models
  • Taking the lead in writing scientific papers
  • Organizing regular meetings and communicate with research teams
  • Communicate research results to a range of audiences (e.g. policy makers, practitioners, the public) in appropriate formats






Essential Qualifications


  • PhD in a relevant subject such as soil carbon modelling, ecosystem/ecological modelling, biogeochemical or mathematical modelling or relevant subjects like mathematical biology or engineering or a comparable discipline is necessary.



Essential Experience


              A track record of high-quality scientific manuscript preparation and publication.

•              Experience of working with large datasets

•              Evidence of excellent oral and written communication skills, able to work effectively as part of a multi-disciplinary team

•              Evidence of self-motivation and the ability to work independently



Essential Skills


•              Computer programming in C++ and Python

•              Excellent quantitative research and data analysis skills, including proficiency in the statistical programme R

•              Experience with/knowledge of GIS software for data manipulation and extraction

•              Understanding of Scottish geography and agriculture.



Desirable Skills


•              Use of any existing biogeochemical models like: DNDC, DayCent, ECOSSE, Roth C etc.,

•              Evidence of the ability to publish in high-quality scientific journals.

•              Collaborative research with experimental scientists and technical support.

•              Experience of working collaboratively.



Other Skills/ Attributes


  • Integrative skills with a willingness to work as part of a team.
  • Ability to plan work and nurture project teams.
  • Ability to work at pace and to deadlines.


Additional Notes and Requirements


•              The post may require working at both Aberdeen and Dundee sites.



Note: Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions it is possible that interviewing of candidates will be held remotely. You should therefore ensure you have access to a broadband connection and ideally a PC or laptop.


We will not consider the use of 3rd party recruitment agencies for the sourcing of candidates for this position.   


The James Hutton Institute is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.


The James Hutton Institute is a: Stonewall Diversity Champion; Athena SWAN Bronze Status Holder; Disability Confident Committed Employer and a Living Wage Employer.

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