Postdoctoral Research Assistant, palaeofire - Reading, UK

The University of Reading, UK, seeks to recruit a postdoctoral research associate (PDRA) in palaeofire to be part of a team of young researchers in the new Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society, a joint initiative of Imperial College, Kings College, Royal Holloway and the University of Reading.


The post is envisaged as lasting up to four years. The appointed candidate will have the opportunity to develop their own research agenda, in consultation with the Management Board of the Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society.

The postholder will be based in Reading but will be expected to spend time at Imperial College, London, UK, in order to work with the PDRAs based there.


The Palaeofire PDRA will be responsible for the analysis of changes in fire regimes in response to past environmental and climate changes, using large-scale data synthesis and fire modelling.


The main responsibilities of the PDRA will be the collation and analysis of relevant palaeodata sets, including data on fire regimes, vegetation, peat growth, land-surface hydrology and climate reconstructions.

This work will involve updating existing global datasets, through collaboration with international groups such as PAGES' Global Paleofire Working Group (GPWG2) or PAGES' C-PEAT working group. It may also involve creating and promoting new data compilations, for example for regional vegetation changes.

In addition to analysis of the palaeodata, the PDRA will be involved in the design and analysis of model experiments to test explicit hypotheses about the response of fire to environmental and climate change in the past, including running specific palaeo-experiments using state-of-the-art fire-enabled vegetation models.


The ideal candidate will have:

- Academic qualifications in physics, geography, ecology, environmental science or a related subject at MSc/MA level, and a PhD in a relevant subject by the time of appointment;
- A strong interest in palaeoclimate and palaeofire research;
- Hands-on experience of working with charcoal data to reconstruct past fire regimes;
- Demonstrated experience in working with palaeoenvironmental databases, preferably the Global Charcoal Database;
- Demonstrated programming skills in Fortran, Python and/or R, including graphical and statistical programming;
- Practical experience of advanced statistical analysis techniques, including geostatistics;
- Practical experience in the analysis and use of palaeo data sets for model evaluation;
- A proven track record of publishing research in the peer-reviewed literature and experience of presenting and communicating science to your peers;
- Good organisation skills, and self-motivation coupled with the ability to work as part of a team and coordinate with international partners;
- An intention to develop an independent research career in palaeofire.


Applications close 11 August 2019.

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