Hydrological/ Hydrochemical Modeller

The James Hutton Institute

Aberdeen, , GB

The work undertaken by The James Hutton Group is right at the top of the global agenda tackling problems such as the impact of climate change and threats to food and water security.

We are seeking to recruit a catchment Hydrological-Hydrochemical Modeller to work with colleagues across water-related disciplines within our Hydrology and Biogeochemistry science group and across the Institute. The successful candidate will play a key role in contributing to a diverse portfolio of interdisciplinary projects related to hydrological impacts of future environmental change.

This post will be responsible for developing and adapting models for application to water quality and quantity issues. You should have a PhD grounded in fundamental hydrological processes but will interact with colleagues working on aspects of hydrology, biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem modelling, integrating soils and land use, surface- and ground- waters. Typical applications include (but are not limited to) developing or modifying rainfall-runoff and transport process models for analyzing hydrological extremes and/or water pollution at a range of scales. We are seeking a hydrological modeller with the ability to upscale data from research scale (plot and sub-catchment) activities to catchment and national scales and with knowledge of web-interfacing, statistical and data-driven modelling. Our ideal candidate will already have some experience as a hydrological model developer or using and adapting existing modelling approaches, with strong programing abilities (e.g. in R or Python), underpinned by sound mathematical and statistical skills.

This is a fixed term 3-year post on a tenure track basis with opportunity to become permanent offers excellent training and career development opportunities in a creative and supportive team environment, including opportunities for scientific networking both nationally and internationally. The post will be based at our site in Aberdeen; with occasional requirement to travel between our sites (Aberdeen and Dundee) and research catchments and farms. We are looking for a motivated early career scientist (at a Post-doctoral level) with a strong publication record and experience of working in a multi-disciplinary team.

More information on the detail of the post and the post holder can be found below in the job description.
Main Purpose of Job
Mathematical simulations of hydrological and biogeochemical processes at (sub-)catchment and national scales by application and modification of existing modelling approaches.

Main duties of post holder

  • To modify, adapt and apply computer-based models for application to water quality and quantity issues. Examples of this include modifying water balance models in catchments or nitrate leaching models to advise on policy development and evaluation, or to screen catchments for risks to water quality and availability.
  • To work with process based and experimental scientists in the hydrology and biogeochemistry group to incorporate data and process understanding into conceptual (mathematical) and procedural (programmable) models.
  • To upscale hydrological processes from small research catchments to larger catchment and national scales using models. For example, using rainfall runoff modelling approaches and combining additional data such as water quality.
  • To undertake web-interfacing (use of cloud technologies) of models, making outputs and data available through platforms such as Scotland’s Environment Web and project-specific websites.
  • To publish findings in high impact scientific journals.
  • To work with statisticians to improve model calibration, evaluation and performance, by working with the Institute’s in-house statistical division, Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland.
  • To undertake data management of spatial and time series datasets, including GIS analyses and the creation and management of databases, including live data feeds (for example, river level and meteorology).
  • To contribute to projects for the Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW) and collaborative work with other science Departments.


Essential Qualifications

  • PhD or equivalent in the environmental (specifically hydrological and/or biogeochemical), mathematical or computer sciences, preferably including experience of developing and applying hydrological models.

Essential Experience

  • A strong track record of model development and programming using, for example, R or Python.
  • Experience of model development for applications in hydrology, hydrochemical, hydraulic, flood management, or other water resource contexts.
  • Experience of data management, data analysis, storage and quality control

Essential Skills

  • Mathematical, statistical and computer programming skills.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including effective communication to scientific and non-scientific audiences.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team.

Desirable Experience

  • Postdoc or equivalent experience in water resources model development and application.
  • Experience of model calibration and uncertainty analysis using e.g. Bayesian MCMC methods.
  • Evidence of an ability to integrate point data (e.g. river flow) with spatial datasets (e.g. climate, land use, populations).
  • Experience of model simulations under different land use or climate change scenarios
  • Knowledge of metadata standards.
  • Experience of website development, management and the integration of web-enabled models. Use of cloud technologies and open source software.
  • A track record of publications in scientific journals.
  • Evidence of taking part in income generation.
  • Experience of GIS software for spatial analysis and cartography.

Note: Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions it is possible that interviewing of candidates will be held remotely. You should therefore ensure you have access to a broadband connection and ideally a PC or laptop.

Due to the time of advertising, interviews will be held in 2021.

We will not consider the use of 3rd party recruitment agencies for the sourcing of candidates for this position.  

The James Hutton Institute is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

The James Hutton Institute is a: Stonewall Diversity Champion; Athena SWAN Bronze Status Holder; Disability Confident Committed Employer and a Living Wage Employer.