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Research Fellow in Soil Science

Cranfield, United Kingdom
37,337 per annum
Closing date
12 Jan 2024

Job Details

School/Department: School of Water, Energy and Environment
Based at: Cranfield Campus, Cranfield, Bedfordshire
Hours of work: 37 hours per week, normally worked Monday to Friday. Flexible working will be considered.
Contract type: Fixed term contract
Fixed Term Period: Fixed Term Contract until 4 December 2026
Salary: Full time starting salary is normally in the range of £37,337 per annum, pro rata.
Apply by: 12/01/2024

About the Role

The role will take day-to-day responsibility of a project that will investigate the impact of a new mineral fertiliser on the resilience/susceptibility of soils to aggregate breakdown and erosion risk. This will be achieved through undertaking a series of laboratory and field-based experiments investigating soil aggregate breakdown at a sub-process level.  This will entail manual labour.

The project will also investigate the impact of mineral fertiliser addition on the resultant degree of structural sealing (and upon de-hydration, crusting), infiltration rates and runoff generation. It is envisaged that the outcomes of the laboratory trials will feed into field trials undertaken at selected agronomic trials sites globally to quantify the impact of mineral fertiliser addition on runoff and soil erosion at a field scale. You will collate, analyse and interpret the results and present the findings in high quality technical reports and academic papers.

Rainfall or irrigation induced structural crusts can significantly impede seedling emergence, delay stand establishment and reduce plant populations particularly in high-value small seeded horticultural crops. In some cases, final low plant densities will necessitate replanting. Non-uniform emergence of seedlings has a direct influence on final yields as well as the proportion of yield meeting marketable specification. This has direct financial impacts on growers. Significantly reduced infiltration rates associated with soil crusts dictate the hydrological response of the soil profile increasing both runoff and erosion risks. This research is critical to understand the impact of this new mineral fertiliser on soil aggregate stability, surface crust formation, runoff generation and soil erosion risk optimising its application in global agricultural production systems.

About You

You will be educated to doctoral level in soil science and have experience in planning, setting up and managing replicated experimental work in the laboratory and in the field, and an ability to develop and apply new methodologies. You will have experience in complex data collection, analysis and interpretation, and a track record of writing high quality technical reports and academic publications. With excellent project and time management skills, you will ensure that milestones and deliverables are achieved on time and to a high quality. You will have a sound knowledge of soil science in the context of both soil management and runoff and erosion control.

About Us

As a specialist postgraduate university, Cranfield’s world-class expertise, large-scale facilities and unrivalled industry partnerships are creating leaders in technology and management globally. Learn more about Cranfield and our unique impact here.

About the School of Water, Energy and Environment/Cranfield Soil and AgriFood Institute

Cranfield’s excellence in Water, Energy and Environment is recognised internationally. Industrial-scale facilities underpin our research and development in applied environmental science. The School is focused across the themes of Energy and Power, Water, and Environment and Agrifood, where the post will be located. The School is leading the University’s response to the green economy agenda in the areas of clean growth, climate adaptation and infrastructure renewal.

Within the School, the Cranfield Centre for Soil, Agrifood and Biosciences (SABS) has internationally-recognised expertise in agricultural and environmental sciences, with particular strengths in soil science, applied soil and water management, soil conservation and provision of ecosystem services. Our plant and microbial scientists link to our soils research through understanding rhizosphere processes and root trait genetics, using our unique, cutting-edge experimental facilities. We work closely with the Centre for Environmental and Agricultural Informatics (CEAI) to deliver multidisciplinary research, consultancy and postgraduate teaching.

Our Values and Commitments

Our shared, stated values help to define who we are and underpin everything we do: Ambition; Impact; Respect; and Community. Find out more here.

We aim to create and maintain a culture in which everyone can work and study together and realise their full potential. We are a Disability Confident Employer and proud members of the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme. We are committed to actively exploring flexible working options for each role and have been ranked in the Top 30 family friendly employers in the UK by the charity Working Families. Find out more about our key commitments to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and Flexible Working here.

Working Arrangements

Collaborating and connecting are integral to so much of what we do. Our Working Arrangements Framework provides many staff with the opportunity to flexibly combine on-site and remote working, where job roles allow, balancing the needs of our community of staff, students, clients and partners.

How to apply                                   

For an informal discussion about this opportunity, please contact, Rob Simmons Reader in Sustainable Soil Management on (E):

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further details on E: Please quote reference number 4685.

Interviews to be held: In is envisaged that interviews will be held in early February 2024.


Cranfield is world-leading in its contribution to global innovation. With our emphasis on the aerospace, agrifood, defence and security, environmental technology, leadership and management, manufacturing and transport systems sectors, we have changed the way society thinks, works and learns.

We generate and transform knowledge, translating it to the benefit of society. Our partners, from micro SMEs to the largest blue-chip multinationals, from governments across the world to NGOs and charities, tell us this is what they value about Cranfield.

Innovation is part of Cranfield’s ‘corporate DNA’, evolved over 60 years of commitment to this agenda.

Our work informs policy for governments and produces new technologies and products for the world of commerce. We draw on this pool of research and consultancy to provide our students with a distinctive ‘real-world’ learning environment, allowing them to develop as professionals and transfer their new knowledge to the global economy. This has always been the ‘Cranfield way’ but it has never been more important than in today’s world.

People are key to our competitive advantage and so we need to attract, develop and retain the best talent for our business. We aim to create a culture where you can flourish and succeed and, in turn, contribute towards Cranfield’s success.

Company info
+(44)01234 750111
MK43 0AL
United Kingdom

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