Research Associate in the School of Mathematical Sciences

Adelaide, Australia
29 May 2018
End of advertisement period
26 Jun 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time
  • Prestigious international university
  • Wide range of employee benefits
  • Interdisciplinary research in open data and illegal wildlife trade networks

The University of Adelaide is one of Australia's leading Group of Eight, research-intensive universities and is consistently ranked among the top 1% of universities in the world. Established in 1874, it is Australia's third oldest university with a strong reputation for preparing educated leaders and delivering research outcomes that contribute to local, national and global wellbeing.

This exciting, interdisciplinary role is funded through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, working across the School of Biological Sciences (A/Prof. Phill Cassey) and the School of Mathematical Sciences (Prof. Joshua Ross and Dr. Lewis Mitchell). In it you will help develop new surveillance methods for mining open source information from both the open and “dark” web, to identify social, temporal and geographic predictors of the distribution of exotic pet keeping and illegal wildlife trade. The project will model the trade information networks constructed from these datasets to best inform the surveillance, compliance and disruption of global illegal pet trade sales and networks.

The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is currently one of the largest and most prolific global black markets, with a conservative estimated value of US$20-200 billion. Not only does this trade drive unsustainable harvest of wildlife from their native range, but also facilitates global pathways for invasive species and zoonotic diseases. Approximately 9000 wildlife related products are listed for sale on Australian websites per week, many of which do not comply (deliberately or otherwise) with legislation. This project will develop novel surveillance approaches to monitor and characterise online market-place and trade networks, leading to an improved understanding of the drivers of wildlife trade in Australia.

The postdoctoral research position will be based in the School of Mathematical Sciences, in the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Adelaide. The successful candidate will join the Stochastic Modelling and Operations Research Group (SMORG), which provides a unique setting that fuses theory, computation, and data, to address exciting and important problems in network and social science, across ecology, epidemiology and evolution.

The Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences is one of five faculties at the University of Adelaide. It is a centre for learning, teaching and research in a vast range of engineering disciplines, computer science and the mathematical sciences. Academic staff are world leaders in their fields of consulting, and advanced fundamental and applied research. Graduates are highly regarded by employers. The faculty offers an intellectually exciting and innovative environment in which to work, within seven Schools, including the School of Mathematical Sciences.

The School of Mathematical Sciences has a long history of achievement in research and a reputation for providing a stimulating and supportive environment. The School is highly respected for its research strengths in geometry, statistics, stochastic modelling and operations research, and dynamics, modelling and computation. It is one of the leading schools in the mathematical sciences in Australia, with award-winning staff and attainment of the top rating (ERA-5) in the most recent national evaluation of research.

Salary: Level A, Step 6 to Step 8 (depending upon experience) corresponding to $85,307 – $91,425 per annum.

Superannuation: An employer contribution of 9.5% applies.

Term of position: This fixed-term contract is available immediately for a period of up to 2 years.

Position requirements

To be successful you should have:

  • a PhD or equivalent qualification (or PhD thesis submitted) in Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, or a related field;
  • proficiency in computer programming as relevant to mathematical modelling;
  • a record of research achievements, evidenced by publications in leading scientific journals;
  • an ability to communicate clearly and effectively in English;
  • an ability to work effectively as part of a team.

Preference would be given to candidates that also have experience in network science, data mining, natural language processing, and/or experience in statistical methods.

Please address and upload your responses to the selection criteria within the online application. If you have any queries regarding this position, please contact Dr. Lewis Mitchell, Lecturer in Applied Mathematics, telephone: +61 8 8313 5424 or email:  

Please note if the selection criteria link is not appearing, you will need to view on another device.

To obtain a copy of the Selection Criteria, please visit the University of Adelaide Job opportunities page via this link:

Closing date: 26 June 2018

The University of Adelaide is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. Women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who meet the requirements of this position are strongly encouraged to apply