Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Geography

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £35,845 per annum
Monday, 14 September 2020
End of advertisement period
Monday, 12 October 2020
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Geography, Sociology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Geography

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £35,845 per annum
Fixed Term - Annualised Hours
Contract Duration: 31 Aug 2023
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 12-Oct-2020, 6:59:00 AM

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Department of Geography at Durham University seeks to appoint a Post-Doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) for a period until 31 August 2023.

The PDRA will develop and undertake research as part of the international Leverhulme project Circulatory Entanglements: Marine Biomaterials and Paradoxes in Ocean Governance.

The Leverhulme Circulatory Entanglements Project

The Leverhulme-funded project, Circulatory Entanglements, aims to better understand how marine biomaterials circulate as part of contradictory plans for ocean governance and paradoxical narratives of ocean futures. Focusing on three case studies of marine organisms central to both the promissory Blue Economy and marine conservation efforts—horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, and shrimp—we explore the uncomfortable tensions between unhealthy oceans and healthful futures.

The team will conduct qualitative analysis on the regulatory frameworks, techno-scientific networks, and financial circuits which collectively facilitate the regional and global circulation of these marine materials. Our research will follow these marine organisms and their biomaterials as they move within and through different epistemological, legal, and bio-ecological pathways. The key objective of this study is to understand how epistemological divides in the bio- and eco-sciences contribute to paradoxical policies of marine governance.

Within this wider objectives, the project aims to understand: (1) how governmental policy and knowledge of marine life are co-produced in the bioeconomy; (2) how marine biomaterials are transformed—discursively, materially, and epistemologically—as they move from ocean habitats into sites of production and consumption; 3) how the transformation of marine biomaterials contributes to promissory economies at the nexus of marine life and human health.

The Role

The role of the PDRA is to actively participate in the ongoing process of collective learning, thinking, and researching to execute the aims of the project. The PDRA will collaborate on research design related to the overall project with a focus on one of the core case studies.

They will carry out trans-disciplinary qualitative research on one of the core case studies of the project, including archival and field research.

The successful applicant will be expected to have a PhD in a relevant research area such as Human Geography, Science and Technology Studies, Anthropology, or Sociology. The will be expected to have a background in qualitative research and knowledge of the field.


  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and the creation of a collaborative research environment across the project.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects associated with the full project and individual case studies under the direction of the Grant-holder and in collaboration with the research team.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.   
  • To attend workshops and regular meetings as part of the research collaborative.

This post is fixed term for 33 months and it is not anticipated that the post will be extended beyond this fixed term, which will end on 31 August 2023 when the Leverhulme funding concludes.

The post-holder is employed to work on a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will ideally be in post by 01 December 2020 

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Elizabeth Johnson at Elizabeth.johnson@durham.ac.uk

All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/

As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University.

Please Note: Candidates applying via Redeployment are only eligible to apply for a post at the same Grade or lower.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out below;
  • A representative writing sample (publication or thesis chapter) of no more than 10,000 words

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include an interview including a short research presentation. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment on a date to be confirmed.

The Requirements

Essential Criteria:

  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Geography, Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies or a related subject.
  • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience working with and sustaining collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects. 
  • Demonstrated skills in qualitative field (interviews, participant observation) and archival research.
  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  • Experience in conducting research on a subject related to the bioeconomy, environmental legislation, bioscience research, and/or the Blue Economy
  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research

Realising Your Potential Approach

The Realising Your Potential Approach clarifies the behaviours expected to be demonstrated by all staff across Professional Services in the University regardless of their role. Along with the core responsibilities, role responsibilities and the person specification, the Realising Your Potential Approach behavioural indicators are used to inform the recruitment and selection process. Further information on the Realising Your Potential Approach is available here.

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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