Research Fellow Earth Observation

University of Stirling

Stirling, United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Post Details

Full time
Fixed term for 32 months

The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 11 October 2021
Interviews are expected to take place on Monday 01 November 2021

For the purposes of sponsorship, this is a postdoctoral role under SOC code 2119.

The University of Stirling recognises that a diverse workforce benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers and welcome applications from those who would contribute to further diversification of our staff and ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is woven into the substance of the role. We strongly encourage applications from people from diverse backgrounds including gender, identity, race, age, class, and ethnicity. 

The Post

The University of Stirling invites applications for a Research Fellow in Earth Observation to join the Earth and Planetary Observation Science Research Group. We are looking for a candidate with expertise in remote sensing of inland, coastal and marine environments to (i) lead an assessment of existing and emerging end-user and stakeholder needs with a particular focus on Copernicus water services (as part of the H2020 WaterForce project) and (ii) the development of an integrated observatory for the Black Sea (as part of the H2020 DOORS project).

The successful candidate will be expected to engage with the international scientific community, policymakers and various water-related sectors to assess their needs and expectations with respect to Earth observation data and services. As an integral member of the research group, the postholder will apply their skill set to execute in situ sampling campaigns, to work on the development and validation of satellite observations, and to undertake the curation, processing and analysis of in situ and satellite datasets for the Black Sea. 

In addition, the postholder will be expected to play a central role in supporting the development of a roadmap for the next Copernicus services for inland waters. The postholder will be well versed in developing scalable Earth observation products that support the monitoring and sustainable management of inland and marine waters.

Description of Duties

  • Develop and/or implement methods for the processing, analysis and quality control of in situ and satellite data (including both optical and radar observations) for the assessment of water quality, surface water state, and coastal morphology
  • Engage and work with the international scientific community, stakeholders from industry, and policymakers across various water-related sectors by administrating surveys and convening meetings and workshops to inform future Earth observation services for water
  • Organise and lead sampling campaigns in inland, coastal, and marine waters to support the development and validation of algorithms for processing both optical and radar satellite data
  • Lead the authoring of projects reports and deliverables, write or contribute to publications, present research findings at scientific or industry-related meetings, and disseminate research to non-scientific audiences through appropriate media and forums
  • Contribute to proposals to secure funding, including drafting grant proposals and planning for future proposals from internal and external bodies to support future research related to the existing post
  • Have a willingness to travel extensively within the UK and internationally for fieldwork and scientific meetings, sometimes independently
  • Any other project-related duties, commensurate with the grade of the post. 
  • Contribute to other projects and collaborate with academic colleagues, across disciplines, on areas of shared research interest and to ensure that research advances inform faculty teaching effort

Essential Criteria

  • PhD in an appropriate discipline such as remote sensing, geophysics, or environmental engineering/science or  aquatic sciences
  • Knowledge of remote sensing techniques, Copernicus and their application to the monitoring of inland, coastal, or marine environments
  • Demonstrable experience of satellite image processing and analysis for environmental applications
  • Experience of undertaking sampling campaigns in inland or marine waters
  • Demonstrable proficiency in scientific programming in one or more languages (e.g., Python, R) with ability to quickly learn new technical skills
  • Developing ability to conduct individual research work and to disseminate results.
  • Experience of engaging and working with stakeholders
  • Ability to routinely communicate complex and conceptual ideas to those with limited knowledge and understanding as well as to peers using high level skills and a range of media
  • Problem solving skills including an ability to take a flexible and pragmatic approach 
  • Evidence of goal orientation and achievement
  • Positive, collegiate attitude to work life and working with others
  • Self-motivated, ability to use
  • initiative and potential for independent thought and working
  • Time management skills including ability to prioritise workload
  • Trustworthy and reliable

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience in using SAR for one or more of: monitoring surface water state, detection of marine assets or assessment of coastal morphology
  • Experience in the integration of data from remote sensing, in situ sensors and/or models
  • Familiarity with standard methods for the laboratory analysis of water samples
  • Experience of supervising colleagues
  • Valid international driver’s license
  • Experience of managing a small research project or identified parts of a large project

Behaviours and Competencies

The role holder will be required to evidence that they can meet the qualities associated with the following behavioural competencies, as detailed within the AUA Competency Framework.

  1. Managing self and personal skills
    Being aware of your own behaviour and mindful of how it impacts on others, enhancing personal skills to adapt professional practice accordingly.
  2. Delivering excellent service
    Providing the best quality service to external and internal clients. Building genuine and open long-term relationships in order to drive up service standards.
  3. Finding solutions
    Taking a holistic view and working enthusiastically to analyse problems and to develop workable solutions. Identifying opportunities for innovation.
  4. Embracing change
    Being open to and engaging with new ideas and ways of working. Adjusting to unfamiliar situations, shifting demands and changing roles.
  5. Using resources effectively
    Identifying and making the most productive use of resources including people, time, information, networks and budgets.
  6. Engaging with the wider context
    Enhancing your contribution to the organisation through an understanding of the bigger picture and showing commitment to organisational values.
  7. Developing self and others
    Showing commitment to own ongoing professional development. Supporting and encouraging others to develop their professional knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to reach their full potential.
  8. Working together
    Working collaboratively with others in order to achieve objectives. Recognising and valuing the different contributions people bring to this process.
  9. Achieving Results
    Consistently meeting agreed objectives and success criteria. Taking personal responsibility for getting things done.

About Us

The Faculty of Natural Sciences

The Faculty of Natural Sciences (FNS) was formed in August 2016 and encompasses the Divisions of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Computing Science and Mathematics, Psychology and the Institute of Aquaculture. The FNS is a distinctive academic arena where new fundamental understandings of the complex and challenging inter-relationships between human behaviours, technologies, biological, environmental and aquatic systems are created, explored and tested. The focus of our research addresses key questions around the resilience of society and the environment.  Results of REF2014 confirmed that our research is regarded as world-leading and internationally excellent. Our research is supported through UK Research Councils, the European Union, a range of research charities, statutory agencies and third sector organisations, industry and private enterprises.  We work with industry and public service organizations both at home and overseas to achieve direct and positive outcomes for society across a range of critical problems.  Recent success in the 2018 City and Region Deal from UK and Scottish Governments is leading to a substantial investment in new infrastructure as a result of Faculty driven initiatives including: a ÂŁ17 million investment for a new Institute of Aquaculture and Global Aquatic Food Security facility; and a ÂŁ22 million investment for Scotland’s International Environment Centre.

Biological and Environmental Sciences

The strength of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Stirling ES lies in our unique interdisciplinary focus on the interface between people and the environment, which positions us well to exploit growing funding opportunities and to develop strong student interest in environmental and ecological systems science, management and solutions delivery. Our research interests are broad and cluster around four key themes of water, carbon, biodiversity and society.  Our research activities are led by 38 principal investigators who seek to understand the fundamental processes driving the evolution and maintenance of the natural environment and its interactions with human populations.  We develop and exploit a range of technologies from Earth observation through to molecular techniques to understand how environments function and ecosystems are impacted from local to global scales and over annual to millennial timescales. We deliver the evidence to transform the management of conflicts between the environment, ecosystems and society and predict and mitigate the future impacts of anthropogenic change and natural hazards. Our findings integrate science, policy and practice; they are used to inform national and international policy makers and practitioners in conservation and environmental regulation, planning and management. Our research and impacts are found in all continents of the world and position us as a leading institution in Environmental Protection and Biological Conservation. The recent City Deal investment from UK and Scottish Governments in Scotland’s International Environment Centre is a catalyst for driving our mission forward to work sustainably with the environment to promote economic and societal growth within the UK and globally.

The University

The University of Stirling is a leading UK teaching and research-intensive university, created by Royal Charter in 1967. Since its foundation, the University has embraced its role as an innovative, intellectual and cultural institution with a pioneering spirit and a passion for excellence in all that it does.

In 2016, the University launched its current Strategic Plan (2016-2021), with targets to: be one of the top 25 universities in the UK; increase income by ÂŁ50 million; enhance its research profile by 100 per cent; and ensure internationalisation is at the heart of everything it does.

With three-quarters of its research ranked world-leading and internationally-excellent (Research Excellence Framework 2014), the University’s groundbreaking, interdisciplinary research makes a difference to society and has a positive impact on communities worldwide. Stirling’s research is making a positive impact on people’s health, education and wellbeing, with key strengths across our research themes of: Cultures, Communities and Society; Global Security and Resilience; and Living Well. The University collaborates with international governments and policymakers, businesses, industry, and charitable organisations, to tackle and provide solutions to some of the toughest global societal challenges.

For more information on working at Stirling, please visit

The University offers great benefits such as generous annual leave and membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Additionally staff can benefit from a reduced membership rate at the University’s excellent Sport Centre facilities.

A full list of FAQs can be found here, we recommend you read these before making your application.

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Terms and conditions of this post can be found here.

After the closing date, this job advert will no longer be available on the University of Stirling website therefore please keep a copy for your records.Job number

FAC01400: Contract Type

Fixed Term Contract:

Closing date: 11-Oct-2021

Location: Stirling Campus

Grade: Grade7 ÂŁ34,304-ÂŁ40,927 p.a.

Faculty/Service: Faculty of Natural Sciences