Research Fellow in Atmospheric Science

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Birmingham, United Kingdom


  • Posted on: 08th Nov 2021
  • Salary: £31,406 to £40,927, with potential progression once in post to £43,434
  • REF: 98589
  • Closes: 05th December 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time


An enthusiastic, innovative and self-motivated person is sought for a Research Fellow position to join an active world-class team working on a project entitled “Shipping Emissions in the Arctic and North Atlantic Atmosphere – SEANA”, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.SEANA is a collaborative project between the Universities of Birmingham, Exeter and Cranfield and the British Antarctic Survey. SEANA aims to enhance our understanding of the impact of shipping emissions upon atmospheric aerosols and the climate in the Arctic and North Atlantic atmosphere (ANAA). As part of this research, SEANA will study the sources of aerosol particles, including from primary sources such as desert or shipping, and formation of secondary particles, including atmospheric nano-particles.

The successful candidate will work with Professors Zongbo Shi and Roy Harrison, Dr. David Beddows and other team members to contribute to field campaigns in the Arctic, including carrying out online aerosol and gas observations as well as collecting airborne particle samples. In particular, the candidate will contribute to a research cruise on the RRS Discovery to the Arctic, and work closely with a team of approximately 25 scientists to deliver the aim of SEANA. The candidate will also analyse aerosol and gas mass spectroscopic data, carry out laboratory chemical analysis of collected samples and combine field and laboratory data with advanced data techniques and models to understand the aerosol sources and processes, including new particle formation.The successful candidate will have a PhD degree, or equivalent qualifications relevant to atmospheric science.Experience in atmospheric field campaigns, mass spectroscopic analysis, and advanced data analysis in atmospheric science is required. Given the collaborative nature of the project, excellent communication and interpersonal skills are required as well as the ability to meet deadlines, prepare publications and work effectively with other members of the team.The University is committed to enabling the career progression of post-doctoral researchers through opportunities for continuing professional development and mentoring.

Summary of Role

This 30-month post (initial appointment of 12 months, extendable for 18 months additionally) will be responsible for atmospheric field campaigns, offline analysis of airborne particles as well as advanced data analysis, including receptor modelling for source apportionment. The post-holder will also be responsible for the analysis, quality control and provision of chemical and physical data to staff and external organisations, and will contribute to written outputs. Training will be provided to excellent candidates if not all the skills are already available.

Main Duties/Responsibilities


• Prepare, organize and participate atmospheric field campaigns in the Arctic, including on a SEANA research cruise in mid-2022
• Extract and analyze data from an online advanced mass spectrometer
• Collect atmospheric aerosol particle samples
• Carry out chemical analysis on the airborne particle samples collected from the field campaigns
• Perform data quality control checks, ensure the quality and validity of data on basis of expert knowledge and propose solutions to quality issues
• Carry out data analysis to apportion the sources of airborne particles.
• Provide data to other team members and external organisations using an understanding of their requirements to provide appropriate data in a format suitable for their use
• Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
• Undertake management/administration arising from research
• Apply knowledge in ways that develops new intellectual understanding
• Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at conferences and as posters
• Supervise and provide guidance postgraduate students on research related work where appropriate to the discipline
• Contribute to research bids when required
• Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines

Health and Safety

• Carry out health and safety risk assessments including COSHH risk assessments.
• Ensure the safe handling and disposal of all materials used in experimental work including hazardous chemicals.

Person Specification

• A doctoral degree in atmospheric science or related discipline
• Experience in atmospheric field observations, including the operation of aerosol and/or gas monitoring instruments, is required
• Experience in laboratory trace chemical analyses is required
• Experience in operating Atmospheric Pressure – Time of Flight – Mass Spectrometer (Api-ToF) or aerosol mass spectrometer, and in analysing mass spectroscopic data is advantageous
• Experience in gas chromatography – mass spectrometer analysis of airborne particles is advantageous
• Experience in advanced data analysis in atmospheric sciences, for example, receptor modelling for source apportionment is required
• Good health and safety knowledge in safe handling of field equipment and hazardous chemicals and materials
• Excellent communication and teamwork skills
• Willingness to participate in a research cruise to the Arctic (on RRS Discovery)
• Positive service attitude and showing courtesy in dealing with others
• Ability to organise and manage own work load and demonstrate flexibility in terms of work practices/requirements
• Ability to work under minimal supervision but function as part of a team
• Proficiency in commonly used software packages
• Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be directed to Professor Zongbo Shi (

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We value diversity and inclusion at the University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community and are open to discussions around all forms of flexible working

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