Research Associate - Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences

Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear (GB)
£35,844 - £40,322
Oct 21, 2020
End of advertisement period
Nov 18, 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at Northumbria University seeks to appoint a full-time Grade 6.1 Research Associate to work with Dr Katie Oven and a wider consortium team on an interdisciplinary project titled ‘Sajag-Nepal: Planning and Preparedness for the Mountain Hazard and Risk Chain in Nepal’ ( The project is funded by the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), and aims to improve decision-making and preparedness in Nepal in order to mitigate the impacts and reduce the risks from the mountain hazard chain, including earthquakes, monsoon rainfall, and landslides. The project involves close collaboration between social and natural scientists, and a wide range of partner organisations in Nepal including government ministries and departments, national and international NGOs, and the UN.

The objectives of the project are to: (i) contextualise the contemporary multi-hazard and systemic risk landscape in Nepal in order to understand how risk is produced, experienced, and negotiated by households and communities, and to embed this understanding in hazard and risk reduction and management; (ii) transform the earthquake planning process into national-scale preparedness planning for catastrophic multi-hazard events triggered by rare damaging earthquakes; (iii) transform the monsoon planning process into seasonal planning for monsoon-related multi-hazard events at a scale that is appropriate for local government decision-making; (iv) develop new protocols for embedding local, natural and social scientific knowledge of the mountain hazard and risk chain in preparedness and response.

The successful candidate will contribute primarily to objective (ii), and focus on developing current understandings of population exposure and vulnerability to earthquakes and secondary hazards in Nepal. Existing approaches to exposure modelling rely largely on outdated population data, with limited understanding of how exposure changes hourly, daily, weekly and seasonally. Further, there is a pressing need to understand the vulnerabilities of the exposed population, with the aim of informing local and national risk reduction and preparedness activities. This is likely to involve a combination of innovative analysis of anonymised mobile phone data at the national scale to characterise spatial and temporal population movements, and participating in research with rural residents to better understand individual, household and community-level exposure and vulnerability to the mountain hazard chain.

The successful candidate will be based in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, and affiliated to the Centre for International Development and a new cross-university multi-disciplinary initiative on global challenges-oriented research at Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK. They will be expected to work closely with team members at other institutions including Dr Tom Robinson at the University of Canterbury and Prof JC Gaillard at the University of Auckland both in New Zealand, along with Flowminder, the Government of Nepal and the UN Humanitarian Country Team in Kathmandu. Excellent knowledge of Nepal would be beneficial. 

The successful candidate will have a PhD in quantitative social science or in a related discipline. The post is available from January 2021.

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Dr Katie Oven at

To apply for this vacancy please email, and attach a completed Personal Details and Equal Opportunities Form, Covering Letter, your CV, including a full list of publications where relevant and any documents specifically requested in the Role Description and Person Specification, such as a sample of written work or journal article.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Please note this vacancy will close on 18/11/2020