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Research Associate, Data Scientist

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Full time (37 hours per week)

Based at UKCEH Wallingford, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, OX10 8BB

Fixed term for 3 years

Closing date for applications is Sunday 17th January 2021

Interviews to be held on Wednesday 27th January 2021

About Us

The UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology is an independent, not-for-profit research institute carrying out excellent environmental science across water, land and air.  At UKCEH there are various career paths open to first-class scientists and support staff.  We have around 500 scientists and students supported by experts in the fields of IT, commercialisation, finance, communications and HR based across four sites (Wallingford, Bangor, Edinburgh and Lancaster).  Our world class research is delivered via state-of-the-art laboratories, controlled environment facilities and unique monitoring sites across many different habitat types.  Our students and employees gain from working in a stimulating environment incorporating multidisciplinary research that is enriched through our international collaborations with many universities and institutes.

For further information, please visit the UKCEH Website.

Job Purpose

A three year training programme designed to work with senior scientists across UKCEH to create a holistic approach to environmental data-science. Using new data-visualisation tools and working with the latest cutting-edge scientific models and data from near-real time sensor networks, you will be part of a team delivering important and timely analysis that relates to the sustainability of the UK environment.

Main Responsibilities

  • Using new innovative ways to build digital products based on the wide range of monitoring, survey, earth observed and modelled estimates of the environment for Greenhouse Gases and associated environmental variables (climate, water, pollution).
  • Work with scientists to create a new UK-scale Net Zero product, by applying Data-Science techniques on the combined evidence from the data sets and models.
  • Work with UKCEH scientists and communications team to co-design the visualisation of the Net-Zero product and help create a Portal for external stakeholders.
  • Manage and catalogue the existing datasets and products that contribute to the Net-Zero product from across UKCEH, including how they contribute to international and national networks and research infrastructures (e.g. Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA)).
  • Work with data-managers to enable near real-time assessment of the UK greenhouse gas budgets.
  • Build a future-climate product that combines evidence from the UKCEH models and experimental data.
  • Work with scientists to create a new UK-scale Net Zero product, by applying Data-Science techniques on the combined evidence from the data sets and models.

Over the 3 years you will gain skills in:

  • R and Python programming
  • Data visualisation
  • Environmental Data Science
  • Design and building web-portals

Skills Criteria

Knowledge & Qualifications

  • A good degree (2:1 or higher) in an environmental science subject 
  • At least 3 years post-graduate experience (inc PhD if appropriate) of environmental data synthesis or modelling 

Experience/Proven abilities related to the position

  • Ability to work across teams and synthesise knowledge and to take a leading role where appropriate
  • Demonstrated ability to understand, interpret and communicate complex environmental research data and model outputs
  • Demonstrable ability to work with large datasets/models using appropriate IT software
  • Takes a lead role or significantly contributes to the provision of high quality data/ information. 
  • A proven ability to code in a high-level language, such as R or Python


  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Able to communicate effectively with stakeholders from different disciplines
  • Develops effective internal and external collaborations within scientific area
  • Best practice in management of environmental datasets
  • Good time management skills across multiple projects

Core Behaviours & Values

  • You will demonstrate a commitment to promote and adhere to CEH values of Excellence, Integrity and Team work.

Desirable skills 

  • Visualisation of large datasets
  • Data Science skills including data assimilation, statistics, uncertainty

What we offer

To find out the benefits of working with UKCEH, please follow the link  below for a summary.  

About the Research Associate Programme

The initial appointment for Research Associates will normally be for a three-year term, however they are able to apply internally for permanent vacancies at any time. Subject to the Research Associate's performance and long term skills needs within their Science Area, appointments may be reviewed and considered for open ended positions. There is an expectation that RA will be appointed at the bottom of the salary scale and will automatically progress to the next pay point at the anniversary of their appointment.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, click the link above. As well as a CV, please provide a covering letter detailing why you may be suitable for the role.

Long term flexibility available for these posts.

UKCEH is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from people with disabilities and those from ethnic minorities. We have a guaranteed interview scheme for applicants with disabilities. UKCEH is an Investors in People organisation.

Location: Wallingford, Oxfordshire
Salary: £31,200 to £33,000 (depending on skills and knowledge) Band 6
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 18th December 2020
Closes: 17th January 2021
Job Ref: JR245
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