Science Officer/Research Assistant (Open Water Ecology)

Swansea University

Swansea, , GB

Main Purpose of the Post

The post holder will be responsible for the specific theme of Open Water Ecology, working collectively as part of the Swansea SEACAMS team.

SEACAMS is a collaborative project of Bangor University and Swansea University. The project aims to promote economic activity, growth of SMEs and generate jobs through the expansion of commercial opportunities and activities in the marine renewable energy and marine/coastal products and services sectors in Wales. This will be achieved by expanding activities relating to climate change mitigation and adaption in the Low carbon Economy in order to increase wealth creation within the Convergence Region of Wales. More information is available on

The position in support of Open water Ecology requires staff with expertise in the ecology of marine upper trophic levels, especially diving sea birds. Research expertise in the effect of marine renewable energy developments on these animals is of particular interest. The appointee will work as part of a co-ordinated group with others specialising in water quality, benthic ecology, and coastal engineering. Field experience is essential. Knowledge of GIS and animal tracking technology is highly desirable.

The successful candidate will have a Postgraduate Degree (or PhD for Science Officer) in biology, ecology, oceanography or allied areas and demonstrate good communication skills to experts and non-experts alike. The requirement to evidence active engagement in writing reports and publishing research papers, and of funding applications is essential in this role. Experience of working at the academia business interface is desirable, as is experience of UK coastal marine economy.

Main Duties

Key tasks / responsibilities

  • Research, and report on, the effects of marine technologies (existing and new) on Open Water Ecology (especially diving seabirds).
  • Identify and promote Swansea University’s technology, expertise, analytical/technical facilities and services to existing and potential new investors, businesses, economic agencies and other key stakeholders. This will require an input to allied SEACAMS2 project activities at Swansea University, and, as required, to activities elsewhere in the SEACAMS consortium.
  • Develop an active line in research commensurate with the pursuance of the post to enhance in particular items (1) and (2). It is expected that this will include data collection, analysis and the production of resulting peer-reviewed publications.
  • Helping to evaluate market interest in technologies allied to Open Water Ecology and to develop market entry strategies for these technologies.
  • Developing promoting and delivering Swansea University’s other Knowledge Transfer activities as directed (this may include research, consultancy, commercialization and other knowledge exploitation activities), and in so doing contributing to the shaping of University strategy policies and procedures on third mission activities.
  • Developing commercial viability as the exit strategy for SEACAMS2 when ERDF funding stream ends.
  • This is not a comprehensive list of duties and the person appointed will be expected to take on extra responsibilities and duties commensurate with the post as required by their line manager.


Some funding is available to cover the costs of instrumenting relevant seabirds or other animals with high-frequency loggers, should this be deemed to be an appropriate line of research development. 

The usual office facilities and access to equipment, consumable and travel budgets as available to other members of the SEACAMS team.

Special conditions

Some travel, mostly Wales will be required. Occasional out of office activity is required.

General Duties and Responsibilities

This appointment in the Biosciences Department has a number of generic objectives common to research appointments. These relate to developing and generating novel research concepts, designs, directions, and outputs in areas related to Open Water & Higher Organism Ecology

A Science Officer or Research Assistant in Open Water Ecology will be expected to:

  • Pro-actively contribute to and conduct research, including gather, prepare and analyse data and present results, exhibiting a degree of independence in terms of specifying the focus and direction of that research.
  • Prepare reports, draft patents and papers describing the results of the research, both confidential and for publication. The appointee is expected to be actively engaged in the writing and publishing of research papers, particularly those intended for publication in refereed (e.g. international) journals or comparable as a normal part of their role.
  • Be self-motivated, apply and use their initiative, aiming to determine suitable ways to tackle challenges and seeking guidance when needed
  • Use creativity to analyse and interpret research data and draw conclusions on the outcomes
  • Interact positively and professionally with other collaborators and partners within the school, elsewhere in the University and beyond both in industry/commerce and academia.
  • Contribute pro-actively to the development of external funding applications to support their own work, that of others and the Department in general. The appointee will be expected as a normal part of their work to be actively engaged in writing, or contributing to writing such applications.
  • Contribute to Departmental organisational matters in order to help it run smoothly and to help raise its external research profile.
  • Keep informed of developments in the field in both technical and specific terms, and of the wider subject area, including implications for commercial applications and the knowledge economy.
  • When requested act as a representative or member of committees, using the opportunity to extend their own professional experience.
  • Demonstrate and evidence own professional development, particularly with regard to probation, appraisal, and performance reviews, and participation in training events, in line with the recommendations of the Research Councils’ Joint Skills Statement.
  • Maintain and enhance links with the professional institutions and other related bodies.
  • Observe best-practice protocols in maintenance and retention of research records as indicated by HEI and Research Councils records management guidance.  This includes ensuring project log-book records are deposited with the University/Principal Investigator on completion of the work
  • Participate in and undertake other research or administrative activities appropriate to their experience and skill, and as directed by the Head of the School / Institute or such other person delegated to act with their authority.
  • To promote equality and diversity in working practices and maintain positive working relationships.
Person Specification

Essential Criteria

  • PhD (or Postgraduate Degree for Research Assistants) in biology, ecology, oceanography or allied area at time of appointment.
  • Experience in a subject area relevant to SEACAMS2 outputs relating to Open Water Ecology, in particular relating to effects of marine renewable developments on diving sea birds and/or marine mammals
  • Evidence of active engagement in independent research, contribution to writing funding applications &/or reports, and publishing research papers
  • Excellent data analysis and computer literacy including the use of statistical analysis packages, Office, with allied skills in numeracy, use of graphic and spreadsheeting software
  • Evidence of the ability to manage own research and administrative activities to meet deadlines. Attention to detail and good organisational skills and the ability to work to tight deadlines and manage conflicting priorities
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate results in oral presentations at meetings and conferences and/or to senior management, business customers, funders or other stakeholders
  • Excellent interpersonal and team working skills and the ability to gain the confidence of academic colleagues and project stakeholders, including funders and the business community
  • Willingness and ability to travel within the UK on project business and to represent the SEACAMS partnership in a professional manner

Desirable Criteria

  • Prior experience of working at the academia – business interface (eg, technology transfer and intellectual property management, developing relationships with investors, business and other organisations
  • Knowledge and experience of UK coastal marine economy and climate change, including impacts of, adaptation to and mitigation possibilities in the coastal marine sector
  • Experience of GIS applications, experience of advanced statistical techniques, such as classification trees using R, use of specialist software like EchoView, and use of acoustic ground discrimination software
  • Knowledge of animal-attached tracking technology or other acoustic techniques such as echosounders would be advantageous
  • Experience of performing boat-based field work, including modern technologies such as echo sounders, side scan sonar, ADCP
  • Evidence of publications in refereed journals, including papers since 2013 with a first or communicating author input and with an ISI Impact Factor >2.5
  • Work experience with government agencies (e.g., NRW, EA, CEFAS, etc) or consultancies
  • Experience of supervising and professional training (for example, within the commercial or government sector, undergraduate or postgraduate student projects)
  • Evidence of commitment to Continuing Professional Development
  • Welsh (written and/or spoken)