Postdoctoral Research Associate in Marine Ecosystem Engineers

Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh (GB)
14 May 2018
End of advertisement period
08 Jun 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.

With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and practical, leading-edge research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for business and industry. We connect with industry at every level and develop programmes to match their needs – so employers get work-ready industry-fit graduates.

Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

We have an established set of values that help us to nurture innovation and leadership, and show our commitment to continuous improvement and development in all our activities.

For full details on our University please view our Careers at Heriot-Watt http://www.hw.ac.uk/about/careers-at-heriot-watt.htm

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society is one of the UK’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges.

The School enjoys facilities consistent with its location in modern, purpose-built accommodation on the Edinburgh campus. The School is well equipped in respect of laboratories for materials, structures, engineering, building services and hydraulics research and teaching. Our research and teaching facilities in Dubai and Malaysia are contained within purpose-built campuses in Dubai Academic City and Putrajaya, respectively.


The School’s undergraduate teaching on our Edinburgh campus covers civil and structural engineering, architectural engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying, geography, urban studies, interior design and the biology suite. On our Dubai campus we teach civil & structural engineering, architectural engineering, architecture, construction management, quantity surveying and interior design. On our Malaysia campus we teach civil engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying and petroleum engineering. We offer a high quality educational experience underpinned by practical and laboratory teaching, and informed by contact with professional practice. Most of our degree programmes hold the appropriate accreditation from the relevant professional body. This educational philosophy ensures excellent employment prospects for all of our graduates.

Programmes of postgraduate study are aligned to the expertise contained in each of our research institutes. Our postgraduate students therefore benefit from state-of-the-art knowledge in their chosen study area. You can find further information about the School’s postgraduate programmes at https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/po...


The School is one of the leading research centres in the UK. It has sustained a high reputation for the international standing of its research over two decades.

Research within the School is organised into six Institutes: https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/re...

All academic staff based on the Edinburgh and Dubai campuses contribute to the research activities of one of our Institutes.

These Institutes support a wide range of research activities of relevance to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society. Institute staff undertake research funded by research councils, charitable foundations, local and national government. Research outcomes are published in leading international and national journals and key findings are widely disseminated through other media and forms of output.

Detailed Description

The Institute for Life and Earth Sciences (ILES) undertakes multidisciplinary research in the areas of Environment, Health and Food Science, based both in Edinburgh and at the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) in the Orkney Isles, which specialised in renewable energy, marine science and environmental resources. Further information about ILES can be obtained at - https://www.hw.ac.uk/schools/energy-geoscience-infrastructure-society/il...

The Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology is a collaborative venture between Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey. Jointly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, Scottish Funding Council and Heriot-Watt, the Lyell Centre promotes innovative research at the core of geoscience, marine and terrestrial ecology, computing, mathematics and engineering. This multi-disciplinary research cluster brings science and technology together to tackle major issues of natural resource and energy supply in a responsible and sustainable way.

Within the Lyell Centre, the successful applicant will be based within the Benthic Ecology, Biogeochemistry and In-Situ Technology group. This multidisciplinary group investigates the biogeochemistry and ecology of a range of marine ecosystems from shallow-water coastal environments to the deep sea, as well as developing technologies to enable those investigations.

The successful appointee will be expected to undertake the following:

  • Conduct field work in Brazil to collect initial data and samples, working in collaboration with partners in Brazil
  • Run and maintain long-term culture experiments on red coralline algae
  • Conduct (photo)physiological measurements to assess key variables such as photosynthetic and respiration and growth rates
  • Prepare and analyse samples for analysis using SEM-based techniques including imaging, Electron Back-Scatter Diffraction and Energy Dispersive X-ray microanalysis
  • Document research output including analysis and interpretation of all data, maintaining records and databases, drafting technical/progress reports and papers as appropriate
  • Survey the research literature and environment, understand the research challenges associated with the project and subject area and develop/implement a suitable research strategy
  • Participating in project meetings, and working with collaborators, at the University of St Andrews
  • Disseminate research outputs using an appropriate range of media including refereed publications and conference presentations
  • Contribute to the identification of potential funding sources and assisting in the development of proposals to secure funding from internal and external bodies to support future research.
  • Contribute to team/group meetings/seminars/workshops and School research group activities to enhance the wider knowledge, outputs and culture of the Centre/Institute/School.
  • Contribute to the organisation, supervision, mentoring and training of undergraduate and/or postgraduate students and less experienced members of the project team to ensure their effective development.
  • Perform administrative tasks related to the activities of the project, including Budgets/Expenditure.
  • Contribute to the outreach and public engagement activities of the group
  • Keep up to date with current knowledge and recent advances in the field/discipline.

Please note that this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post. Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve.


A PhD (or soon to be awarded) in marine or environmental science


Competencies, Skills and Knowledge


Candidates can make informal enquiries to Dr Heidi Burdett (h.burdett@hw.ac.uk).

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on 8th June 2018

Consideration will be given to applications on a part-time and/or job-share basis.

Use our total rewards calculator: https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work/total-rewards-calculator.htm to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

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