Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Geography

Durham, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £40,322 p.a
12 Aug 2020
End of advertisement period
08 Sep 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Geography

Grade 7: - £33,797 - £40,322 p.a
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 31-Mar-2021
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 11-Sep-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 comprises 68 academic staff (approximately equally divided between physical and human geography), a graduate school of around 100 research students, around 40 taught postgraduate students and more than 650 undergraduates. The Department is well supported with technical staff, including a cartography unit, and administrative staff.

The most recent QS rankings for Geography placed Durham 7th overall in the world, its 5th year in the top ten, and 1st for citations in the discipline. The department is recurrently ranked in the top handful of programmes in the UK by various league tables; in 2016, we were ranked 2nd in the Times Good University Guide and 3rd in both the Complete University Guide and the Guardian University Guide. The Department was graded top for research power (quality weighted by volume) in UK geography in REF 2014 and 3rd for iGPA (average score scaled by proportion of staff submitted). With 43% of work assessed as being in the highest category, it produced the largest number of world-leading (4*) publications in the country

The Role

The Department of Geography at Durham University seeks to appoint a Post-Doctoral Research Associate, this post will form part of the research team working on the DFID-funded project: Earthquake and rainfall-triggered landsliding in Nepal. In collaboration with the project PI and team, the position holder will conduct research using GIS and remote sensing on landslide hazard and risk in Nepal.

Areas of work:

  1. Undertake GIS-based analysis of landslide hazard in Nepal using mapped time-series landslide inventories.
  2. Oversee the generation of new mapped landslide inventories in collaboration with colleagues at NSET Nepal.
  3. Collate information on rural road network development through time and integrate this mapping data with landslide hazard data to explore linkages.
  4. In collaboration with the project PI and team to generate mapped outputs and analysis to feed into the generation of guidance on landslide risk reduction in Nepal.
  5. Dependent on the ability to travel at the time, conduct fieldwork on key landslides sites hit by landslides in the 2020 monsoon, in collaboration with project team and colleagues at NSET Nepal
  6. Feed into the provision of training on landslide mapping for stakeholders in Nepal, either remotely, or in person.
  7. Contribute to the presentation of project outputs at international conferences, and to stakeholders.
  8. Contribute to the development of publications and high quality outputs, including papers for submision to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentations at conferences and workshops, under the direction of the project PI.


  • 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 assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • 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.

This post is fixed term for period of the project, which is time limited and will end on 31st March 2021. There may be an additional 6 months of funding available, subject to contractual agreement, which may be available to extend the duration of this post to the end of September 2021.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/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 as soon as possible.

How to Apply

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

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Nick Rosser (n.j.rosser@dur.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.

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;  

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include the opportunity to give a short presentation, and an interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment in a week to be confirmed.

The Requirements


  1. Qualifications
    • A good first degree in physical geography, geology, engineering geology, GIS, or geoscience.
    • A PhD (or be close to submission) in relevant fields of geoscience or a related subject.
  2. Experience
    • 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 in GIS, remote sensing, and hazard and risk analysis
  3. Skills
    • 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.


  1. Experience
    • 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 S Asia, GIS based hazard and risk modelling, geospatial analysis​ 
  2. Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research. 

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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