Hutton 03-21 - Environmental Social Scientist

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Posted: 20/01/2021 14:22
Start Date: Not Available
Salary: £31,521.83
Location: Aberdeen
Level: Hutton D
Deadline: 17/03/2021 23:59
Hours: 37.00
Benefits: Generous
Job Type: Fixed term - 3 years Tenure Track

Main Purpose of Job           

Working within an interdisciplinary group including sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, psychologists and economists, this post contributes to the development of social scientific research on person-environment relationships. 

The postholder will be expected to contribute to a portfolio of work in the SEGS department and will be encouraged to develop their own theoretical approach to understanding people-environment relationships as part of a group of researchers working on ‘People and Places’. 

Current funded work within the department includes projects focusing on greenspace and woodland use and management, climate-related behaviours, and food systems. Our research takes a range of perspectives including e.g., looking at governance arrangements, community initiatives, and individual and group-related values and behaviours. A range of qualitative (interviews, focus group discussions, workshops) and quantitative (survey design and data analysis) methods are used, and there are ample opportunities to explore the application of more specific methods such as participatory video, social network analysis, behavioural economic experiments and others. 

Initially the postholder will design and undertake empirical research within ongoing work, including projects focused on people’s use of and attitudes towards greenspaces and woodlands, food behaviours during and after Covid-19, citizen social science and community action related to climate change. 

This postholder will contribute to all aspects of the research cycle including the development of research proposals, and the collection, analysis and presentation of data through peer reviewed publications and other knowledge exchange channels. 

Main duties of post holder

  • To contribute to ongoing projects looking at the role and value of nature and greenspaces for different populations and in different places (e.g., urban, rural, national parks)
  • To contribute to and develop work on food systems including farmer and consumer decision-making, behaviour changes during Covid-19, power relations in food supply chains, effects of socio-technical changes on food systems, and food nutrition and security
  • To develop areas of work around climate change behaviour at community and individual scales, and develop ideas relating to the circular economy.
  • To develop a portfolio of work relating to human-nature relations, and pro-actively seek opportunities to collaborate on proposals for future research funding



  • PhD in a relevant discipline (e.g., psychology, geography, politics, sociology, anthropology, etc.)
  • Demonstrable interest and experience in people-environment relationships
  • Strong team working skills
  • Experience in questionnaire-based empirical social science
  • Potential to publish high quality, peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to design and undertake research with limited supervision
  • Excellent skills in developing accessible materials to support communication
  • Fit with the ethos of the department and the Institute


  • Experience working with both academic and non-academic stakeholders
  • Experience working in an interdisciplinary team
  • Track record of publication in academic journals
  • Experience in supporting funding bids for income generation
  • An awareness of the open science movement, and an interest in applying open science principles within the social sciences

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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