Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher – 58372

University of Birmingham - School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Fixed term for 3 years

Salary (which will be subject to UK taxation) will be at the EU Marie Curie rate with potential to 44,995.84 Euros per annum, as per Marie Curie terms and conditions. This will be a fixed salary with no increments or pay awards for the duration of the post. Please also note should the post holder opt out of the pension scheme this will affect the salary payable.

Applications are invited for an Early Stage Researcher position forming part of Euro-FLOW: a European training and research network for environmental FLOW management in river basins.

Flow is recognized as a master variable that shapes the structure, functioning and service provision of freshwater ecosystems. The modification of natural flow regimes, through activities such as abstraction, irrigation and dam construction, can lead to major alterations in flow regimes, including in the frequency, intensity, duration and timing of high and low flows, with profound implications for stream biota. The science of environmental flows has evolved as means to manage and mitigate the worst impacts of hydrological change in rivers and streams, but flow-ecology relationships are still poorly understood. This research project seeks to understand how modifications in flow regime influence stream ecosystem functioning, and specifically explores whether ecological thresholds – the points at which small changes in environmental conditions lead to large shifts - exist in the nature of the relationship between flow and ecosystem functioning in streams.

Flow-ecology relationships can be challenging to quantify in natural systems and experiments have been advocated to discern causal relationships among stressors associated with hydrological alteration. The student will conduct mesocosm experiments in the University of Birmingham ECOLAB, a new £1.1M stream mesocosm research facility on campus. Here, flow can be manipulated in artificial streams located outdoors, and sensor networks can be deployed to sense change ecological responses among biota (algal biofilms, invertebrates and fish). This project benefits from being closely linked to research by other Euro-FLOW postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers investigating low flow impacts on stream ecosystems, and will be supervised by Dr Mark Ledger and Prof Alexander Milner. The successful candidate will also gain from being part of a large, interdisciplinary, water research team based at the University of Birmingham.

Skills and Experience

  • First degree in area of environmental science and normally, a higher degree relevant to research area or equivalent qualifications
  • High level analytical capability
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Fluency in relevant models, techniques or methods and ability to contribute to developing new ones
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
  • Experience with a key biological group (e.g. benthic invertebrates or algae)
  • Experience of freshwater ecology or hydroecology
  • Full driving license (UK/EU) required to travel to field sites in the UK which is integral to the project

All candidates are advised to visit the following website to obtain further details of eligibility requirements for Marie Curie initiatives:

The successful candidate will be required to enroll as a PhD student:

Informal enquiries should be directed to: Dr Mark Ledger (

To download the details and submit an electronic application online please click on the Apply Online button below; please quote Job Reference in all enquiries. Alternatively information can be obtained from 0121 415 9000 or visit

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Midlands of England