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Research Assistant / Research Associate (Fixed Term)


The postdoctoral researcher will join the Pellegrini lab at the University of Cambridge and be embedded in a larger research team seeking to deploy new thermal detection technology to address a range of global change issues.

The postdoc's project aims to scale field measurements of fire intensity and behavior to predict greenhouse gas emissions arising from soil organic carbon combustion during small smoldering fires in peatlands. This involves prescribed burn experiments in the Scottish Highlands (Cairngorms), where numerous instruments will be used to measure fire behavior (thermal sensor on drone, thermocouples in peat, etc.), and greenhouse gas fluxes (chamber measurements of CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes). Sites will be sampled over the course of several weeks prior to the burn and after the burn, requiring fieldwork for 4-6 weeks. In the lab, the researcher will conduct different biogeochemical analyses to asses soil organic matter composition, stability, and microbial decomposition activity. All the data will be compared with drone thermal measurements of the fire, coordinated with collaborators focusing on the remote sensing aspect of the project, and aim to scale estimates of emissions from smoldering fires. Additional field sampling in Southeast Asia and North America are also possible pending successful deployment in Scotland

The overall team is interdisciplinary, comprising researchers in the Plant Sciences, Architecture, and Astronomy Departments. A company, Super Sharp, is leading the deployment of a satellite with a thermal sensor that will enable us to scale our plot-based measurements to the global scale.

The Pellegrini lab consists of a diverse group of researchers, ranging from undergraduates, permanent research associates, PhD students, and postdoctoral researchers. We work on both original data collection via field sampling and lab analyses as well as data synthesis and model-data comparisons. We are interesting in applying ecological and biogeochemical principles to solve global change problems.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

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Please notice that if you have not received any news from us 1 month after the closing date you should consider that on this occasion your application has not been successful.

Please quote reference PD42197 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

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