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Assistant/Associate Professor in Human Geography - Climate Change & Sustainability

Heriot-Watt University

Contract: Full-time (35 hours per week), Open Ended

Use our total rewards calculator: to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

About the role

Climate change is a major societal challenge impacting on the development of healthy and sustainable cities and communities, cross-cutting key UN sustainable development goals. In meeting this challenge, The Urban Institute, School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS), Heriot-Watt University invites applications for an Assistant or Associate Professor in Climate Change and Sustainability to join our exciting multidisciplinary team and lead out on an innovative programme of teaching and research.   

We welcome applicants from a broad range of areas in the field of climate change and sustainability, particularly those addressing the following themes:

  • Climate Resilient Cities and Communities 
  • Climate Change Policy and Governance 
  • Climate Justice and Rights 

Excellence in Research:

  • Lead, carry out and publish excellent research in the area of Climate Change and Sustainability (grade 8 and 9);
  • Actively pursue research funding through the submission of high-quality grant proposals to appropriate funding streams (grade 8 and 9);
  • Undertake (grade 8), develop and lead (grade 9) knowledge exchange and impact activities in the areas of Climate Change and Sustainability;
  • Disseminate research through internationally leading (grade 9) journal publications and papers, presentations at conferences, and relevant stakeholder events (grade 8 and 9);
  • Supervise research students and line manage research assistants/fellows (grade 8 and 9);
  • Carry out external examination of research theses, reviews of, research grant assessments/reviews (grade 9);
  • Contribute to the strategic development of the institute/School through, for example, new research directions (grade 9). 

Pioneering Education: 

  • Develop and deliver innovative teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate programs and courses across the School (grade 8 and 9);
  • Undertake continuous professional development both through the University and externally to remain up-to-date with current learning and teaching practice (grade 8) and external influencers in the sector to provide direction and leadership (grade 9)
  • Share best practice in learning and teaching methodologies, working with colleagues to develop scholarly debate and the dissemination of excellence to advance the curriculum to be future focused and challenge-led (grade 8 and 9); 
  • Supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students’ work and take responsibility for dealing with referred issues regarding students within their own educational programmes (grade 8 and 9);
  • Contribute to course and programme development and review (grade 8 and 9);
  • Carry out online course preparation, delivery and assessment as well as contribute to the global course delivery (grade 8 and 9).

Leadership and Administration: 

  • Lead on cross-disciplinary partnerships in Climate Change and Sustainability across our UK and Global campuses in related research fields (grade 9);
  • Develop teaching leadership to ensure excellent levels of student engagement, retention and outcomes (grade 8 and 9);
  • Contribute to School leadership roles, such as Discipline/Research Unit lead, Director of Studies, Year Director, etc. (grade 9);
  • Provide course leadership, including coordination of global teaching teams (grade 9);
  • Contribute to the work associated with course accreditation (grade 8 and 9);
  • Contribute to Research Excellence Framework/Teaching Excellent Framework/Athena SWAN activities (grade 8 and 9);
  • Take part in student recruitment, admissions and various School committees (grade 8 and 9);
  • Represent the School with integrity in a professional capacity at national and international conferences, and with external partners (grade 8 and 9);
  • Carry out administrative, pastoral, representative and associated tasks as required across both research and teaching (grade 8 and 9).

Collaboration and Citizenship

  • Establish strategic research collaborations through the development of internal and external partnerships (grade 8 and 9)
  • Collaborate with colleagues to ensure a consistent, effective, and high-quality delivery of teaching and research, in line with the strategic aims of the School, as well as the wider University (grade 8 and 9);
  • Involve in outreach activities in support of School’s liaison and student recruitment (grade 8 and 9);
  • Contribute actively to enhancing the visibility and reputation of the Institute, Discipline and the School (grade 8 and 9);
  • Support the professional development of others (grade 9);
  • Contribute to external discipline-specific committees and roles (e.g. contributing to the work of learned societies, professional institutions, research councils, etc.) (grade 9).


Education, Qualifications and Experience (i.e. Person Specification)    

The successful applicant will satisfy the following requirements: 

Essential criteria

  • A first degree in a cognate discipline (grade 8 and 9). 
  • PhD in a related field (grade 8 and 9), and exceptional track-record of high-quality research in the area (grade 9).
  • Evidence of grant application activity as P-I or Co-I with successful funding (grade 8). Track record of obtaining research funding as P-I or Co-I (grade 9).
  • A robust publications record and plan for future research publications (grade 8). Track record of high-quality research with internationally excellent publications (grade 9).
  • Demonstrate potential to generate impact from research (grade 8). Demonstrable evidence of generating impact from research (grade 9)
  • Evidence of successful teaching delivery on UG and/or PG programmes (grade 8). Leadership on teaching programmes and courses at UG and PG level (grade 9).
  • Evidence of contributing to PhD supervision and student mentoring (grade 8). Track record of PhD completions (grade 9).

Desirable criteria

  • Ability to develop partnerships with academic and non-academic audiences (grade 8 and 9). 
  • Ability or immediate potential to build a world-class academic group in your area of expertise (grade 9).
  • Potential to (grade 8) Proven ability to (grade 9) build and develop cross-disciplinary research partnerships with specific research goals. 
  • Experience of building effective internal and external collaborations to enhance research (grade 9).
  • Evidence of leadership in the planning, organisation and development of learning and teaching activities in the area of Climate Change and Sustainability (grade 9). 

Competencies, Skills and Knowledge

  • Excellent communication skills (grade 8 and 9).
  • Ability to work as part of a team (grade 8 and 9). 
  • Ability to engage with academic, policy and practitioner audiences (grade 8 and 9)

About the School

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) is home to world-leading multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. It delivers excellent teaching in the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society, and undertakes high-impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges. Both research and teaching align with and contribute to addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The Urban Institute was established in 2016 bringing together a group of economists, sociologists, geographers, planners and urban designers. We aim to generate and share through research and teaching knowledge that contributes to creating sustainable, resilient and just cities. The Urban Institute has a number of cross-cutting themes including: Health and Wellbeing; Urban Inequalities and Poverty; Housing Systems and Real Estate; and Planning, Infrastructure and Urban Design.

About Heriot-Watt 

Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and leading-edge, relevant research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for innovation, business and industry.

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.  Heriot-Watt University is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

How to Apply 

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on 24th of March 2024. 

For further information and an informal discussion please contact Professor Ryan Woolrych (  

At Heriot Watt we are passionate about our values and look to them to connect our people globally and to help us collaborate and celebrate our success through working together. Our research programmes can deliver real world impact which is achieved through the diversity of our international community and the recognition of creative talent that connects our global team.

Our flourishing community will give you the freedom to challenge and to bring your enterprising mind and to help our partners with solutions that can be applied now and in the future. Join us and Heriot Watt will provide you with a platform to thrive and work in a way that also helps you live your life in balance with well-being and inclusiveness at the heart of our global community.

Heriot-Watt University is committed to securing equality of opportunity in employment and to the creation of an environment in which individuals are selected, trained, promoted, appraised and otherwise treated on the sole basis of their relevant merits and abilities.  Equality and diversity are all about maximising potential and creating a culture of inclusion for all.

Heriot-Watt University values diversity across our University community and welcomes applications from all sectors of society, particularly from underrepresented groups. For more information, please see our website and also our award-winning work in Disability Inclusive Science Careers .

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options.

Use our total rewards calculator: to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £45,585 to £64,914
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent
Placed On: 28th February 2024
Closes: 24th March 2024
Job Ref: 3399
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