Research Associate in Fire Ecology (Closing date 15 Mar 2024)

Research Associate in Fire Ecology (Closing date 15 Mar 2024)

Job summary

Visit job posting on Imperial website

Reference NAT01649

Date posted 16 Feb 2024

Closing date 15 March 2024

The Leverhulme Centre for Wildfires, Environment and Society ( has recently restructured its activities around a small number of interdisciplinary, cross-institutional teams. One of these is the Fire-Vegetation Interactions team, which aims to combine information and approaches from ecology, biogeography, ecosystem science and remote sensing to develop a new generation of global models for wildfire prediction, which will be suitable both for stand-alone applications and for interfacing with a land-surface model.

We are seeking a Research Associate in Fire Ecology, who will facilitate the team’s work in incorporating aspects of fire ecology (including fire behaviour and adaptations in different ecosystems) into the new models, and into the JULES land surface model (a component of the UK Earth System Model). You will be part of the research group led by Professor Colin Prentice, Director of the Leverhulme Centre, at Imperial College.

You will spend around a quarter of your time at the University of Reading as a participant in the Fire-Vegetation Interactions team, led by Professor Sandy Harrison, an Associate Director of the Centre.


Duties and responsibilities

You will carry out research to address the challenge of integrating data and information on fire-ecological plant traits, and fire behaviour in plant communities, into the framework of a new predictive fire model. You will help to conceptualize and implement new process representations of the relationships between fire properties and fire-related plant adaptations, and work with scientists at the University of Reading on the development of model code for the inclusion of fire-ecological components in JULES. You will be actively engaged in collaboration in the framework of the Fire-Vegetation Interactions team. You will also contribute to the training of early-career researchers in the Leverhulme Centre, and help develop a strategy to disseminate the Centre’s findings to the international community of wildfire scientists.

Essential requirements

    • Hold, or be near completion of, a PhD in fire ecology or a closely related discipline
    • Programming and computational experience commensurate with the demands of the role
    • Practical experience in handling large global data sets
    • Broad knowledge of plant geography, plant functional ecology, and ecosystem processes and measurements
    • Familiarity with the main current approaches to wildfire modelling

Further information

This is a full time, fixed term position for two years. It will involve extensive collaboration with other groups in the Leverhulme Centre as well as close interactions with Professor Harrison’s research group. You will be based at Silwood Park Campus, with travel to other sites.

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as a Research Assistant.

The pattern of work will be flexible, with monthly (three day) in-person meetings of the team at Reading, and other meetings either in-person (at Imperial, Reading or one of the other institutions belonging to the Leverhulme Centre) or online.

Candidates must fill in an online application form in order to be considered for the post.

Should you require any further details on the role please contact Professor Prentice  ( and/or Professor Harrison (

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About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive, and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity and to eliminating discrimination. All employees are expected to follow the Imperial Values & Behaviours framework. Our values are:

  • Respect
  • Collaboration
  • Excellence
  • Integrity
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In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

We are committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment for all. We therefore encourage candidates to apply irrespective of age, disability, marriage or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, gender reassignment, sex, or sexual orientation. We are an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Disability Confident Leader and a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

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