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9 May 2017

Full-Time Research Officer – AMBER (Molecular Ecology)

Swansea University – Posted by admin Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom


Job Description

Research Officer – AMBER (Molecular Ecology)

Main Purpose of the Post

A 3-year postdoctoral position is available at CSAR (Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research) in the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University as part of the AMBER project, which aims to provide a better understanding of the causes and consequences of stream fragmentation.

Rivers rank among some of the most threatened ecosystems in the world and are the focus of restoration programmes in Europe and elsewhere that cost billions to taxpayers, and improving stream connectivity has been flagged as one of the priorities for more efficient stream restoration. This is one of two postdocs who will work as part of the EU-funded AMBER consortium (‘Adaptive Management of Barriers in European Rivers’). The overarching goal of these positions is to develop better and more meaningful metrics of stream fragmentation and to apply them to European-wide datasets to quantify and predict current and future impacts of barriers on local stream biodiversity for a variety of taxa and across multiple spatial and temporal scales.

The project will develop novel molecular and ecological metrics of stream fragmentation. It is based on the Singleton Campus within Biological Sciences (College of Science).

We are looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher with an excellent track record commensurate with their career stage, and experience working on freshwater ecosystems and with knowledge of metrics of habitat fragmentation and community connectivity. Specific expertise is also required on the application of molecular methods (eDNA, metabarcoding) to join the multidisciplinary AMBER research team.

Main Duties


Analyse community composition and ecosystem connectivity using molecular tools, including an explicit assessment of the impact of barriers in stream fragmentation under various conditions of flow and climate change


  • Contribute to overall research performance of the BioSciences Department, the College of Science and the University, by production of measurable outputs including bidding for funding, publishing in international peer reviewed journals, presenting the work carried out in national and international conferences, and helping in the recruitment and supervision of postgraduate research students;
  • Undertake administrative tasks associated with the project, including planning and implementation of procedures for accurate and timely reporting;
  • Prepare research ethics and governance applications;
  • Review and synthesize existing research literature;
  • Participate in College research activities;
  • Network within and outside the University, to influence decisions, explore future research requirements, and share ideas for the benefit of research projects.


  • Engage with industrial, commercial and public sector organisations, professional institutions and academic institutions regionally and nationally to raise awareness of the College’s profile, to cultivate alliances, and to pursue collaboration, contributing to the College’s regional and national profile;
  • Undergo relevant personal and professional development;
  • Participate in College administration and activities to promote the College and its work within and outside the University;
  • Other duties consistent with the role.

General Duties and Responsibilities

  • Pro-actively contribute to and conduct research, including gather, prepare and analyse data and present results, exhibiting independence in terms of focus and direction of the research;
  • Prepare reports, patents and papers describing results. The appointee is to write and publish research papers, particularly those intended for publication in refereed (e.g. international) journals;
  • Be self-motivated and use initiative to tackle challenges, 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 College, elsewhere in the University, and beyond, both in industry and academia;
  • Contribute pro-actively to the development of external funding applications to support their own and others’ work within the institution. Be actively engaged in writing, or contributing to such applications;
  • Contribute to College organisational matters in order to help it run smoothly and to raise its external research profile;
  • Keep informed of developments in the field and the wider subject area, and any implications for commercial application, the knowledge economy, or academia;
  • When requested act as a representative or member on committees, to extend their own professional experience;
  • Demonstrate and evidence their professional development, identifying development needs with reference to Vitae Researcher Development Framework, particularly with regard to probation, performance reviews, and participation in training events;
  • Maintain and enhance links with professional institutions and other related bodies;
  • Observe best-practice in maintenance and retention of research records following 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 research or administrative activities as directed by the Head of the College or another person delegated to act with their authority;
  • To promote equality and diversity in working practices and maintain positive working relationships;
  • To fully engage with the University’s Performance Enabling and Welsh Language policies;
  • To conduct the job role and all activities in accordance with safety, health and sustainability policies and management systems, in order to reduce risks and impacts arising from the work activity.

Person Specification


  • A PhD in Molecular Ecology, Genetics, Conservation Ecology, Freshwater Ecology, or a related subject area. Other PhDs will be considered if relevant experience and interest in molecular methods applied to spatial data can be demonstrated.


  • Highly proficient in NGS, RT-PCR, metabarcoding and eDNA. Highly proficient in the use of R and Bioinformatics.


  • An excellent publication record in international peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with career stage;
  • Ability to work within tight timing constraints, and the flexibility to assist in field work activities (e.g. sampling, animal tagging);
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team and assist others associated with the AMBER project;
  • Fluent in both written and spoken English;
  • Evidence of active contribution to writing applications for external research funding;
  • Excellent persuasive communication skills, both written and oral;
  • Proven creativity, innovation and ability for team-working;
  • Ability to supervise the work of others.

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience working on projects related to the Water Framework Directive;
  • Experience supervising undergraduate or postgraduate student projects;
  • Evidence of commitment to Continuing Professional Development.

How to Apply

Job Categories: Science, R&D. Job Types: Full-Time.

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