Research Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics

Sydney, Australia
18 Jun 2019
End of advertisement period
18 Jul 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time
  • One of Australia’s leading research & teaching universities
  • Vibrant campus life with a strong sense of community & inclusion
  • Enjoy a career that makes a difference by collaborating & learning from the best

At UNSW, we pride ourselves on being a workplace where the best people come to do their best work.

The role will be situated within the School of Mathematics and Statistics at UNSW, Sydney, and involve close interactions with UNSW’s Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC). UNSW is number one in Australia for Mathematics and is currently ranked 23rd worldwide for Oceanography. The School of Mathematics and Statistics is a central hub for both coastal to blue water oceanography at UNSW. The CCRC is a multi-disciplinary research centre comprising one of the largest university research facilities of its kind in Australia. Investigators at the School and the CCRC employ advanced scientific methods, models and analysis tools to address pressing questions relating to climate dynamics, oceanic and atmospheric processes, climate change, and climate variability.

The Research Associate will address the challenge of understanding recent oceanic change and improving projections of its role in future climate. They will work with Dr Jan Zika and Professor John Church as part of the project Ocean heat content change and its impact on sea level, recently funded by the Australian Research Council. The project will involve using novel methods to attribute changes in ocean temperature and salinity to different physical processes using historical observations and the latest generation of global coupled atmosphere ocean climate models. The Research Associate will work within a team of researchers working together on related topics across UNSW, Australia and Internationally. The role reports to the Senior Lecturer and has nil direct reports.   

About the role

  • $107K - $119K plus 17% Superannuation and annual leave loading
  • Fixed Term – 2 years.
  • Full time (35 hours)

Specific responsibilities for this role include:

Level A:

  • Analyse a range of ocean observational products with a focus on changes in ocean temperature and using novel analysis methods.
  • Carry out simulations using the ACCESS global climate model as part of an international model Intercomparison project.
  • Compare the models to observations to identify changes that can be robustly attributed to specific physical processes and thus used to improve projections of future global and regional change.
  • Draft scientific reports and international peer-review journal papers on the project findings.
  • Maintain a strong focus on communicating research findings by publishing in highly ranked journals and presenting to peers at local, national and global conferences.
  • Work jointly with other scientists, postdocs and PhD students in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, the CCRC and internationally.
  • Cooperate with all health and safety policies and procedures of the university and take all reasonable care to ensure that your actions or omissions do not impact on the health and safety of yourself or others.

Level B:

  • More significantly contribute to the project and lead areas of the project where the opportunity arises.
  • Supervision of PhD and research students.
  • Create a scholarly impact in the discipline which is recognised by peers in advancement of disciplinary knowledge.
  • Achieve a citation rate or proportion of research outputs in most prestigious outlets (e.g. A/A* or equivalent) in line with discipline and leading universities.

About the successful applicant

To be successful in this role you will have:

Level A:

  • PhD or equivalent qualification in physical oceanography, physical climate science, or ocean or climate modelling or related field.
  • Have a track record of research output in areas such as physical oceanography, large-scale ocean-atmosphere dynamics, global climate modelling and model development or a related field (for example fluid dynamics, astrophysics or applied mathematics).
  • Demonstrated experience in analysing ocean dynamical processes and/or fluid processes.
  • Expertise in the analysis and interpretation of observational data sets and/or model output.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and experience in working on projects with multiple partners.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct research under limited supervision.
  • Demonstrated programming skills in a Unix/Linux environment (e.g. a subset of Fortran, shell scripts, python, NCL, R and Matlab).
  • Knowledge of health and safety responsibilities and commitment to attending relevant health and safety training.

Level B:

  • Demonstrated ability to conduct research under limited supervision.
  • Excellent communication skills and experience in working on projects with multiple partners.
  • Demonstrated ability to supervise postgraduate and honours students.
  • Proven research and publication track record, particularly in high quality peer-reviewed journals.

You should systematically address the selection criteria listed within the position description in your application. For informal queries, please see the below contact details. 

Otherwise, please apply online - applications will not be accepted if sent directly to the contact listed.

Jan Zika

Applications close: July 18th, 2019

Find out more about working at UNSW at

UNSW aspires to be the exemplar Australian university and employer of choice for people from diverse backgrounds. UNSW aims to ensure equality in recruitment, development, retention and promotion of staff and that no-one is disadvantaged on the basis of their gender, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation or identity or Indigenous heritage. We encourage everyone who meets the selection criteria to apply.

UNSW partners with Australia’s leading diversity organisations, networks, and campaigns. Please refer to UNSW’s diversity offerings for further information on our flexible work and leave options, and support for carers (childcare, parent rooms, parental leave).