Research Associate in Applied Mathematics for Soil Modelling

University of Portsmouth - Department of Mathematics

Employment type:  Fixed-term contract for 24 months

Interview date:  04 May 2018

Applications are invited for the position of Research Associate in the Applied Mathematics Group at the University of Portsmouth.  The Research Associate will work on the Diverfarming project funded by the European Commission, Directorate General for Research under Framework Programme H2020.

Applicants should have a PhD (or equivalent research experience) in a highly numerate science subject. Experience in developing mathematical models and algorithms for biological/ecological problems is required; and expertise in Soil and Environmental Science is desirable. Proficiency in computer programming is also required. The applicants should show strong motivation for independent research, and the ability to work with academic and industrial partners.

Applicants should also be able to perform effectively under pressure and time constraints, possess good organisational and time management skills, pay close attention to detail, and have effective interpersonal skills. Applicants should be willing to undertake travel to work with the partners.

The Diverfarming project ( aims to increase diversification and biodiversity in Europe and to foster a sustainable development of the bioeconomy. Diverfarming is a multi-actor integrated consortium of farmers, technicians, agribusiness, logistic SME, machinery SME, decision-makers and researchers working together to develop and deploy innovative farming and agribusiness models. One of the project’s goal is to increase the long-term resilience, sustainability and economic revenues of agriculture across the EU.

The research associate will use an existing model (ECOSSE) to simulate C sequestration in soils under diversified cropping systems. New algorithms will be developed to simulate crop associations and agricultural practices that are not yet included in ECOSSE, and existing algorithms will be modified to include additional soils and land use types. The model will provide a useful tool to understand how the diversified cropping systems tested during the project case studies influence soil-water-atmosphere-plant interactions. The model will also allow to identify indicators that define sustainability of different diversified cropping systems.

The research associate will be responsible for taking a lead in the development and coding of these algorithms, uncertainty analysis of simulations, parameterization and validation of the new model. The research associate will liaise with academics of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Portsmouth and the industrial/academic partners involved in the project in order to achieve this goal. The algorithms developed are expected to be of sufficient scientific novelty and application worth that they will lead to articles published in leading interdisciplinary scientific journals. The research associate is also expected to disseminate the research findings at project meetings, international conferences, and industrial events.

The University of Portsmouth is committed to build a culturally diverse environment and strongly encourages applications from women and minorities.

Applicants should be willing to undertake travel on a European scale.

The position is tenable from 1 June 2018.

Informal enquiries can be addressed to Dr. Marianna Cerasuolo

email:, tel: +44 (0) 23 8059 2814.

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