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Research Assistant / Fellow in Nature Based Solutions to Land Degradation

Cranfield, United Kingdom
£34,450 - £37,337 per annum
Closing date
29 May 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: For 27 months
Salary: Full time starting salary for Research Assistant (if close to completing PhD) is normally £34,450 per annum or for Research Fellow (if PhD obtained) is normally £37,337 per annum
Apply by: 29/05/2024

Role Description

Research Assistant or Research Fellow in Nature Based Solutions to Land Degradation in East Africa

We welcome applications from multidisciplinary researchers to join our team of passionate and motivated academics working in sustainable natural resource management.

About the Role

You will support the co-development, testing and implementation of equitable, local ‘nature based solutions’ (NbS) to control land degradation and enhance climate resilience in east African agropastoralist and farming communities. Specifically, the role will take day-to-day responsibility of the evaluation of land management practices that incorporate local knowledge with better scientific evidence. You will work with project partners in the UK and Africa, including local smallholder farmers and agropastoralists in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya to select and evaluate nature-based land management practices on community-managed field plots.

About You

You will be educated to doctoral level (or close to completion of a PhD), ideally with multidisciplinary experience that integrates environmental, agricultural, economic and social sciences. You should have a sound knowledge of agricultural practices, in particular land degradation processes, and soil and water conservation techniques (including those used in east Africa). You should also demonstrate knowledge of recent research in natural resources resilience/ susceptibility in the light of climate change. As the fieldwork component of the project is based in east Africa, you should be willing and able to travel to field sites overseas.

You will have experience of working with farmers and other rural stakeholders, ideally using participatory methods and collection of field data (e.g. environmental parameters), applying both qualitative and quantitative methods. You will have worked in large, multidisciplinary research teams. With excellent oral, written and presentation skills, you will be able to convey complex information clearly. You will have experience in training delivery and the preparation of high-quality technical reports and research outputs. With excellent project and time management skills, you will ensure that milestones and deliverables are achieved to time and to high quality.

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 Jane Rickson, Professor of Soil Erosion and Conservation on  +44 1234 75 4355: or (E):

Closing date for receipt of applications: 29 May 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

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