We are seeking a 36-month PDRA to work on a joint NERC-NSF funded project ‘Sensors Under Snow: Seasonal Processes in the Evolution of Arctic Soils (SUN SPEARS)’. The PDRA will develop a novel microbial-biogeochemical model for Arctic soils. The overall aim is to improve the understanding of how seasonal processes contribute to the long-term development of Arctic soils, by linking soil biogeochemical, microbial, geophysical and hydrogeological processes in a mechanistic model. The model will address how soils form following glacier retreat, quantify ecosystem and biogeochemical dynamics, and simulate the future fate of Arctic soils following large-scale ice retreat and climate warming.

These activities are linked to the main SUN SPEARS project, which will monitor High-Arctic glacier forefield soils year-round via geophysical sensors and measurement of soil microbial and biogeochemical processes. Model development and calibration will make use of field datasets that will be collected during fieldwork campaigns throughout 2021 and 2022. The PDRA will therefore work within a multidisciplinary team (biogeochemistry, modelling, geomicrobiology, geophysics) and thus develop an interdisciplinary skill set. There may be opportunities for the PDRA to participate in fieldwork in Svalbard.

About You

Applicants must have a PhD (by time of appointment) in a relevant natural science discipline, and a track-record of research productivity, including peer-reviewed publications. Candidates should have experience in numerical/biogeochemical modelling, and good understanding of the functioning of high-latitude or high-altitude soils and ecosystems. Candidates should demonstrate initiative and the ability to work independently.

About the School and Queen Mary

The School of Geography is internationally recognized for its theoretically informed, empirically grounded and politically engaged research, and remains one of the top departments for Geography and Environmental Sciences in the UK (REF 2014).


We offer competitive salaries, access to a generous pension scheme, 30 days leave per annum (pro-rata for part-time/fixed-term), a season ticket loan scheme and access to a comprehensive range of personal and professional development opportunities. In addition, we offer a range of work life balance and family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, and campus facilities including an on-site nursery at the Mile End campus.

This is a full time (35 hours per week), fixed term appointment for 3 years, starting in March 2021 (or as soon as possible after that date), based at the Mile End Campus in London. The starting salary will be at Grade 4, £36,098 per annum, inclusive of London Allowance.

Queen Mary’s commitment to our diverse and inclusive community is embedded in our appointments processes. Reasonable adjustments will be made at each stage of the recruitment process for any candidate with a disability. We are open to considering applications from candidates wishing to work flexibly.

For further information please contact Dr. James Bradley (james.bradley@qmul.ac.uk).

To apply for the role, please click the ‘apply’ button below.

Applications should include:

  • A cover letter (max. 2 pages) stating your motivation for applying to this position, research interests, relevant skills, training and experience.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Copy of official transcript(s).
  • Contact information for at least two and up to 3 references.

Please also email Dr. James Bradley (james.bradley@qmul.ac.uk) to confirm your intention to apply.

The closing date for applications is 15th January 2021.

Interviews are expected to be held in February 2021.



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