Job description


  • Entry level
  • No Education
  • Salary £30,395.00 gross per year
  • Reading


Start date: 01/11/2019

Interview date: 11/09/2019

Post type: Full-time, Fixed-term up to 24 months

The PDRA will be employed on the ERC-funded project “Unlocking the past for a clearer future (GC2.0)” which examines the two-way interaction between the terrestrial biosphere and climate on palaeo-timescales in order to realize the full potential of palaeoclimate research to improve our understanding and modelling of climate and environmental change. The post involves the design and application of novel approaches to reconstructing past climates, by combining multiple data sources (pollen, tree rings, speleothems, lake histories) with process-based modelling of these records, and data assimilation methods and/or model inversion. Key scientific questions include diagnosis of the relative importance of seasonal climate controls on different types of record, investigating the influence of CO2 changes in modulating the response of vegetation records to climate, and determining the optimum approach to combining information from environmental sensors and climate-model simulations. The work will involve improving and using several in-house palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic databases, as well as the use of in-house process-models of different levels of complexity. The post-holder will be expected to work as part of an existing team in Reading and to play a role in ongoing analyses within the Palaeoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project.

The ideal candidate will have:

- Academic qualifications in physics, mathematics and statistics, 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 research;
- Hands-on experience in using palaeoenvironmental databases;
- Hand-on experience with climate reconstruction, using statistical, inversion or data assimilation techniques;
- High-level programming skills in Fortran, Python and/or R, including graphical and statistical programming;
- Practical experience in the analysis and use of palaeoclimate 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.

Informal contact details

Contact role: Supervisor

Contact name: Sandy P. Harrison

Contact phone:+44 (0)118 378 5258

Contact email:

  • ms project