Research Associate (Ecological Modelling)

London (Greater)
£38,304 Per annum, Including London Weighting
Thursday, 18 February 2021
End of advertisement period
Sunday, 7 March 2021
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Geography
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

The Department of Geography at King's College London invites applications for a postdoctoral research associate (PDRA) in ecological modelling. The post will be based in the research team of Dr Jane Catford at KCL's Strand Campus in central London, and will be one of four new PDRA appointments.

The position will be funded by a 5-year European Research Council Consolidator Grant (ALIENIMPACTS). ALIENIMPACTS aims to develop an approach for predicting impacts of alien plant invasions on plant community diversity, using temperate grasslands as a model system.

This post will help to develop new models, and a modelling approach, to predict the establishment and abundance of invading plant species in a site, and the resulting impact on plant community diversity. Core research for the PDRA will include: further developing and empirically validating a mechanistic model of invasion impacts using data from field experiments; and generalising the model to predict current and future impacts of “natural” alien plant invasions in grasslands in the UK, Czech Republic and SE Australia. An initial version of the mechanistic model has been built and applied to experiments at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, one of the oldest Long-Term Ecological Research sites in the USA. The post involves: working with a wide range of data and collaborators, including practitioners; model development, coding, parameterisation and validation; and a willingness and ability to work with a wide range of modelling approaches and tools, such as mechanistic niche modelling, dynamic range models, coupled niche-population models, agent based modelling, and GIS.

Key collaborators include Dr Laura Graham (U. Birmingham), Dr Adam Clark (U. Graz), Prof. David Tilman (U. Minnesota), Prof. Petr Pysek (Czech Academy of Science), Prof. James Bullock (UK CEH) and other members of the ALIENIMPACTS team. There will opportunities for additional related research.

The Department of Geography is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, and has a vibrant, friendly and international research culture, which includes approximately 30 postdocs and 100 PhD students. The PDRA will be part of an active group of ecologists in the department, and will have many opportunities for professional development including funding to attend meetings and workshops, and opportunities to co-mentor students and collaborate with other scientists and groups.

The post will be responsible to Jane Catford. The project and position begin in April 2021, but a slightly delayed start date will be considered if required. For questions or further information, please email

Contract Type

This post will be offered on an fixed-term contract for 36 months (3 years).

This is advertised as a full-time post (100% full time equivalent), but flexible working arrangements will be considered.