Research Associate Hydrologist

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Wallingford, , GB


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.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and committed field scientist to work with hydrologists, nutrient chemists and ecologists in the Hydrological Processes research group based at our Wallingford site. The focus of the role will be to support a wide portfolio of environmental research with a strong emphasis on process understanding and the provision of evidence through observational science.  Through supporting the work of CEH scientists, external collaborators and research students you will have many opportunities to develop your interests.  Many of our current projects are inspired by the idea of working with natural processes and, in particular, the topical theme of natural flood management.  The primary roles of this post will be to:

  • Co-ordinate measurement and monitoring campaigns of conditions and processes in rivers wetlands and lakes, using a variety of sensors, loggers and sampling equipment
  • undertake laboratory analysis of water, soils and sediment samples
  • undertake quality control of data, manage databases and perform basic analyses
  • work with collaborators to help develop and field-test new sensors and measurement techniques for understanding hydrological and eco-hydrological processes
  • assist in the production of reports and scientific papers detailing major research findings.

Appropriate training will be provided in a number of specific areas to assist the appointed researcher in developing cutting-edge and transferable research skills in support of their career progression. These include training in:

  • River hydraulic measurements using state-of-the-art acoustic and electromagnetic techniques (including the ARC boat)
  • topographic surveying including its representation in GIS
  • laboratory analysis of sediments (including soils) using a laser particle size analyser and gravimetric techniques
  • running data logging and telemetry systems
  • adopting and validating  new water quality sensing technologies
  • field sampling of water, sediment and soils
  • river habitat surveying

    Job Description

    This is a research-based role that will involve both field and laboratory-based science, so you will be expected to have a good degree (2:1) in an Environmental Science and some project-based experience of quantitative scientific work in a University or research environment; demonstrating scientific numeracy. Existing knowledge of environmental processes, particularly in hydrology, would be an advantage. The research-based nature of the role means this would be ideally suited to someone with an aptitude for embracing new approaches/technologies, self-motivated and with enthusiasm for the subject a willingness to work outdoors in all weathers. 

    In addition to undertaking field and laboratory science, an important part of the job will be to maintain communications with both junior and senior staff and this would include providing specialist advice and contributing to the supervision of students.  You will need to effectively evaluate, communicate and contribute to the resolution of any problems encountered.  You would also be required to engage with external collaborators and landowners (including non-specialists) and in doing so promote CEH and scientific understanding.  Therefore, you are required to have good communication skills and the ability to work on your own initiative. You will be working in collaboration with other scientists so will need a flexible attitude, the ability to meet deadlines and a sound teamwork ethic. You will be expected to have IT skills that will allow you to effectively manage the data that you collect. Experience of analysing large datasets and in using a Geographical Information System (GIS) would be advantageous, although training and supervision in these aspects would be provided to enhance skills.