RA Water Resources Modeller - Fixed term appointment (3 years) - Full time (37 hours p/w) - Based in Wallingford

Are you looking for a challenging and rewarding role where you can build on your skills, and develop a career within a fascinating and globally important field of science? If so, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) is looking for an enthusiastic person to join its Water Resources Systems Group, researching and applying hydrological models and tools in the UK and internationally.

You will focus on water resources management from field to global scales, applying a range of CEH models to understand the hydrology of catchments in the UK and abroad. Within the role, you will develop broad hydrological expertise with a specialisation in water resources modelling.

The NERC Research Associates' Programme is an initiative which is intended to offer individuals the opportunity to gain practical experience of working within a research institute, whilst acquiring specialist and wider skills that will be valuable in a range of careers.

The programme is aimed particularly at those who have recently completed postgraduate studies, but is open to individuals from other backgrounds and of all ages. Individuals will work on highly topical research projects, both important for future research within the environmental research community and appropriate to their backgrounds. Research Associates are given specific, measurable objectives which will be intended to develop their skills as a researcher and to demonstrate their suitability for a research career.

Description of specific work to be undertaken and skills to be gained

You will contribute effectively to a variety of current and planned projects that involve hydrological modelling, including those in the UK (for example, under the NERC funded DRY project investigating drought) and India (as part of the UPSCAPE project focusing on the Cauvery basin in southern India) and sub-Saharan Africa.

You will work on developing and applying some of CEH's hydrological models, with a focus on our DiCaSM catchment scale model and GWAVA (Global Water Availability Assessment) model. You will tackle issues such as integrating climate and hydrological data to better understand water availability and improving estimation of water demands and abstractions from both surface water and groundwater sources.

You will gain in-depth knowledge and practical experience in areas such as the application of climate change scenarios to understand future water availability, estimation of the gap between water supply and demand, and evaluation of the impact of human intervention on surface and groundwater river basins.

Training and skills you will acquire:

  • water resources hydrology (including advanced knowledge of catchment water balance components, hydrological process understanding, hydrological estimation)
  • hydrometeorological data processing,  management and analysis (automated and manual quality control methods, data visualisation, statistical data analysis using scripts, handling and interpretation of large, high-frequency datasets)
  • application of software programming languages (Visual Basic, Python or Fortran), GIS, R statistics and relational database management systems, to development and implementation (calibration and validation) of stochastic and deterministic hydrological models at a variety of temporal (from near-real time to long-term average) and spatial-scales (from field to regional-scale)
  • the evaluation of uncertainty and error propagation in hydrological models
  • improved research skills in communication, stakeholder engagement, networking and scientific project planning.

Skills and qualifications required on appointment:

  • an MSc in a related subject (for example in physical/environmental sciences, maths or engineering), or a good degree (2.1 or higher in a related subject) with some years of relevant experience
  • knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of environmental modelling, with some experience in applying mechanistic models
  • strong IT skills with proven ability in computer programming (preferably in FORTRAN, Python or R) and be able to give examples of application of those skills in an environmental context
  • familiarity with (one or more of):  relational database management systems (e.g. ORACLE, SQL Server, MySQL), geographical information systems (e.g. ArcGIS, QGIS/GRASS), or statistical packages (e.g. R, SAS)
  • knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of hydrology and water resources management would be an advantage
  • good written and oral communication skills
  • good team working skills and an ability to develop effective internal and external collaborations within the scientific area
  • good organisational and  time management skills, with an ability to work independently and to deadlines
  • ability to travel to study sites in the UK and internationally (for example, in Africa and Asia) is essential.

Appointments above the minimum salary would be based on the appointee’s skills and experience.

Towards the end of the Research Associate traineeship consideration is given to availability of open ended employment opportunities with CEH. We have successfully appointed most of our recent Research Associates to open ended roles.

How to apply

Apply for this position through RCUK iRecruitment Employee Candidate

Closing date: 11/12/2017

Interview date: 17/01/2018

Additional Details

In addition NERC offer a public sector pension scheme, 30 days’ annual leave and 10½ days’ public and privilege holiday per annum. We offer a flexible and supportive working environment and will encourage your continuing professional development as part of our career support.NERC has an equal opportunities policy and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. People with disabilities and those from ethnic minorities are currently under represented and their applications are particularly welcomed. Guaranteed interview scheme for applicants with disabilities.

To enable us to hire the very best people we will conduct a full and comprehensive background and pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process.

From April 2018, UK Research and Innovation will bring together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England. The vision for the new organisation is to be the best research and innovation organisation in the world. From 1 April 2018 your employer will be UK Research and Innovation. More information can be found online http://www.ukri.org/.

Closing Date: 



£22,224 - £24,000 per annum depending on experience