Post Doctoral Research Associate in Soil Physics, Geochemistry and General Soil Science

Lincoln, United Kingdom
From £33,797 per annum
18 Nov 2020
End of advertisement period
15 Dec 2020
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

School of Life Sciences

Location:  Lincoln
Salary:   From £33,797 per annum
Please note this post is full time at 1.0 FTE and fixed term for 36 months.
Closing Date:   Tuesday 15 December 2020
Interview Date:   Tuesday 19 January 2021
Reference:  COS737A

Climate change and a growing human population represent substantial challenges for humanity and the sustainable production of food and management of ecosystems. Soils lie at the heart of this challenge for a sustainable future. This is because soils provide several critical ecosystem services including: (i) (almost) all food production; (ii) key water regulation processes for flood management; (iii) the highest levels of biodiversity on Earth; and (iv) contain the largest dynamic reservoir of carbon on Earth (larger than that stored in the atmosphere and vegetation combined). The relationship between biological, physical and chemical soil properties is the key mechanism to managing these services and predicting consequences for climate change; for example, soil microbes are capable of both releasing and retaining carbon and nitrogen and play a role in the flux of atmospheric greenhouse gasses. 

While there are studies that have looked at specific soil aspects across narrow land-use gradients, there is virtually no integrated holistic knowledge of the role that land-use change has on multiple key processes in soils. This position will conduct research that will initiate an understanding in this area and provide an evidence base to support land-use change decisions to help mitigate climate change, flood risks and biodiversity loss both locally and globally.

The aim of this research is to be able to predict the quantitative effect of land-use change (e.g. increased urbanisation or rewilding from agriculture) on integrated soil functions in terms of C and N dynamics, biodiversity and water retention, such that this can be mitigated. Such knowledge will provide the start of an evidence base upon which government, local authority, conservation and agricultural policies may be based. Since there is currently very little understanding of the effect of land-use change in these areas, the project will explore multiple soil functions among a range of land-uses. 

Specifically, this project will look to target: 

  1. sustainable methods of urban development that minimise C loss, retain the provision of natural and biodiversity services and minimise flood risk;
  2. sustainable and climate change considerate methods of agricultural production to feed a growing population; and 
  3. sustainable methods of conservation for natural capital stocks which provide essential ecosystem services which underpin global ecosystems.

We seek two enthusiastic, motivated and independent but collaborative PDRAs to drive this project and work with the rest of the science team to holistically evaluate soil biogeochemistry. Both PDRAs will work in a collaborative and integrated manner on the soil samples obtained; one PDRA will focus on soil biology, the other on soil physics, geochemistry and general soil science.

This is the advert for the soil physics, geochemistry and general soil science post.

Along-side the mail research aspects of this post, if the individual chooses, we will provide opportunities for career and CV development in the areas of student supervision, teaching and University service to prepare the PDRA for future applications for permanent departmental academic positions.

We seek an individual with a proven track record into research of physico-chemical soil processes. The ideal candidate should have a robust understanding of soil physical and chemical processes and will have experience and capability of working in field conditions, collecting in situ data and samples for future analysis. The candidate should be experienced in a range of basic soil analytical techniques and have advanced knowledge in a specific area. In particular, the candidate will have, or will be expected to gain knowledge in, soil geochemistry techniques relevant to the quantification of soil organic carbon at a chemical level.

This post sits across several schools within the university therefore the candidate will ideally be able to demonstrate that they can work within multidisciplinary teams as well as the ability to develop and maintain relationships with a number of stakeholders in agricultural, land management and/or conservation sectors. The candidate should also be able to work independently, manage their own time and set their own goals. 

The successful candidate will have a proven track record in leading and contributing to the generation and publication of quality peer-reviewed published journal articles and the dissemination of research at both specialist science conferences as well at events aimed at the general non-specialist public.

A driving license is desirable for field work.

If you have an enquiry please contact Prof Matthew Goddard PhD - Professor of Population and Evolutionary Biology e -