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Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow - Forest Responses to Elevated CO2

University of Exeter
University of Exeter
Commensurate with education and experience
Closing date
Sep 24, 2022

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Physical Sciences, Geology/Soil Science/Geography
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Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow - Forest Responses to Elevated CO2


Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy

This new full-time position is available for 18 months on a fixed term basis from 1st October 2022. We welcome applications from candidates interested in working part-time hours or job-sharing arrangements.


The post

The faculty wishes to recruit a Postdoctoral Research Associate or Fellow to participate in the NERC-funded large grants-QUINTUS project which is investigating whether nutrient availability limits the potential of a mature deciduous temperate forest to take-up carbon in response to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Fieldwork will be based at the BIFoR free-air carbon dioxide (FACE) facility in Staffordshire, UK (, a globally unique experiment that is exposing mature temperate oak dominated forest to elevated atmospheric CO2QUINTUS is a collaborative project involving the Universities of Exeter, Birmingham and Bangor, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and multiple overseas project partners.

The successful applicant will lead, coordinate and execute key field campaigns at the BIFoR FACE facility and complete sample analyses in Exeter’s laboratories, including phosphorus and cations by ICP and fluorimetric potential enzyme activities by plate reader.  The post-holder will also bring together new and existing large datasets, and lead publications on below-ground responses to elevated CO2. The current position will build on the three full field-season of QUINTUS sampling and wider BIFoR nutrient and carbon monitoring since CO2 fumigation began in 2017. Therefore, this PDRF/PDRA position represents a major opportunity for developing high-profile outputs on the effects of elevated CO2 on root and soil processes, based on large-scale and long-term measurements within a world-leading research facility.


About you

The successful applicant will be able to develop research objectives, projects and proposals; identify sources of research funding and contribute to the process of securing funds and make presentations at conferences and other events.

Applicants will possess a relevant PhD (or nearing completion) or equivalent qualification/experience in a related field of study. The successful applicant will be a nationally recognised authority in below-ground carbon and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, and possess sufficient specialist knowledge in the discipline to develop research programmes and methodologies. The successful applicant will also be able to work collaboratively, supervise the work of others and act as team leader as required. Applicants must be able to lead teams of researchers in the field and laboratory, have relevant experience of measuring carbon and nutrient stocks and processes in soils and plant samples, demonstrate advanced data analysis skills, and have experience of leading the publishing of scientific papers in international journals.

Please ensure you read the Job Description and Person Specification for full details of this role by clicking on the attachment.


What we can offer you

  • Freedom (and the support) to pursue your intellectual interests and to work creatively across disciplines to produce internationally exciting research;
  • Support teams that understand the University wide research and teaching goals and partner with our academics accordingly
  • An Innovation, Impact and Business directorate that works closely with our academics providing specialist support for external engagement and development
  • Our Exeter Academic initiative supporting high performing academics to achieve their potential and develop their career
  • A multitude of staff benefits including sector leading benefits around maternity, adoption and shared parental leave (up to 26 weeks full pay), Paternity leave (up to 6 weeks full pay), and a new Fertility Treatment Policy
  • A beautiful campus set in the heart of stunning Devon.


The University of Exeter

We are a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities and in the top 150 universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022 and QS World University Ranking 2022). We combine world-class teaching with world-class research, achieving a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework Award 2017.

Our research income in recent years means we’re the fastest growing UK Research University with some of the world’s most influential scientists, and we seek to answer some of the most fundamental issues facing humankind today through this. 98% of our research is of international quality (2014 Research Excellence Framework). We encourage proactive engagement with industry, business and community partners to enhance the impact of research and education and improve the employability of our students. Read about our world leading research – Green Futures and how we are transforming education for a changing world. We are located in a beautiful part of the country and Exeter (a fast growing tech hub) is one of only a few UK cities to have been designated as a UNESCO Creative City


Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commitment

With over 27,000 students and 6,400 staff from 180 different countries we offer a diverse and engaging environment where our diversity is celebrated and valued as a major strength. We are committed to creating an inclusive culture where all members of our community are supported to thrive; where diverse voices are heard through our engagement with evidence-based charter frameworks for gender (Athena SWAN), race equality (Race Equality Charter Mark), LGBTQ+ inclusion (Stonewall Diversity Champion) and as a Disability Confident employer. Whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, we particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented within our working community. Reasonable adjustments are available for interviews and workplaces.

For further information please contact Prof. Iain Hartley, e-mail or telephone (01392) 724362.


Please note that as of 1st September 2022 our colleges and schools will be moving into a new structure which will consist of the following three Faculties – Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, (to include the Medical School),  Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy, and Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. 

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