Bridge Fellow

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Birmingham, United Kingdom


  • Posted on: 10th Dec 2021
  • Salary: £42,149 to £50,296. With potential progression once in post to £56,587 a year
  • REF: 98509
  • Closes: 06th February 2022
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Hours: Full Time

Position Details

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £42,149to £50,296. With potential progression once in post to £56,587a year

Grade 8

Full time


Closing Date: 6th February 2022

The BRIDGEFellow in Water Sciences

Role Purpose

This 5-year Fellowship post will reinforce and extend existing research collaborations between the University of Birmingham (UoB) and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) by recruiting an internationally outstanding BRIDGE Fellow at the interface between water sciences and emerging pollutants (such as engineered nanoparticles, environmental plastics, pharmaceuticals and personal care products). To address issues relating to emerging contaminants, an interdisciplinary approach is vital. We are interested in applicants who can provide expertise that links: pollutant sources, fate and transport of emerging pollutants; technical/non-technical solutions; and education/outreach to potential stakeholders.

The Fellow will be expected to develop and lead a collaborative research programme that enhances the partnership between the two universities and builds on their strengths in these areas. At the end of the Fellowship, the Fellow will be offered an academic appointment at the University of Birmingham, either at the Assistant Professor level or higher, subject to meeting normal expectations for appointment to such a post.

We are seeking an interdisciplinary water researcher with skills in areas such as large data analysis, experimental design, numerical model development, method integration and data fusion, risk-impact analysis, natural resources management, and water treatment that complement existing core research strengths at UoB and UIUC. This BRIDGE Fellow will leverage unique expertise, experimental, analytical and modelling capacities at UoB and UIUC, including the EcoLaboratory artificial river facilities (UoB), Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory (UIUC), the EcoHydraulics and EcoMorphodynamics Laboratory (UIUC), the Nanoparticle and Daphnia laboratories (UoB), Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Advanced Analytical Laboratory (UIUC) and supercomputing facilities at both institutions (BlueBear and BlueWaters).

UoB and UIUC are committed to excellence in education. Fellows must demonstrate their aptitude to deliver inspiring research-intensive teaching and learning at all levels. The role will support delivery of undergraduate and masters programmes, including the MSc in River Environments and their Management at UoB, and participation in graduate classes at UIUC, and will include delivery of lectures, workshops, field course teaching, dissertation supervision and tutorials, alongside associated assessment and marking.

The 5-year fellowship – with 2 years spent at UIUC – will provide the Fellow with the opportunity to integrate fully with UIUC research, as well as benefitting applicants that have family commitments, which are more fully catered for by a longer period in the USA. In addition, the 2-year Fellowship period in the USA will foster more intensive engagement with UIUC researchers. It is expected that the first year of the fellowship would be located at the University of Birmingham, with 2 years spent at UIUC in either years 2 and 3, or 3 and 4.

Issues relating to diversity in higher education go beyond the borders of the USA and the UK. Creating an institutional culture that is inclusive of all individuals, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, spirituality, gender, gender identity/expression, age, sexual orientation, ability/disability, socioeconomic class, and national origin, is of the utmost importance to the UoB and UIUC. The recruitment and selection committee will place these considerations at the very centre of the decision making process when selecting a candidate for the BRIDGE Fellowship. All candidates will be expected to engage with EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) in their research and practice. Furthermore, as minority populations most affected by issues of water quantity and quality are very commonly under-represented in the field of Water Science, we welcome applications from individuals from under-represented groups and encourage diverse perspectives.

BRIDGE Alliance: overview
Formed in 2014, the “Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement and Education” (BRIDGE) alliance between the University of Birmingham and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has established a framework for creative knowledge exchange across disciplines through frequent and purposeful collaborations between faculty, staff and students. What makes the BRIDGE partnership so distinctive is that it is genuinely multi-disciplinary, with over 90 cross-faculty links being cultivated in fields ranging from the humanities to engineering sciences. Hailed by Times Higher Education as one of the ‘first substantive links between a UK and US institution’, UoB’s partnership with UIUC was sparked by complementary place-based assets, shared civic missions and wide-ranging research synergies.

The distinctive Birmingham-Illinois BRIDGE Fellowship programme brings together international research teams in the UK and USA, offering a 5-year Fellowship to contribute to the research and academic excellence of both institutions. Fellows work across UoB and UIUC on key global challenges and act as a bridge to cultivate broader engagement between transatlantic research teams.

Main responsibilities
The responsibilities are likely to include some, but not all, of the activities outlined below. In addition, the responsibilities will be as appropriate to the specific role and purpose (above).

To plan and conduct original, high-impact and high-quality research, using appropriate methodologies and techniques. This may include, where appropriate to the discipline:
• To pursue individual and independent research including developing research ideas.
• To identify and address current knowledge gaps in the area of emerging contaminants.
• To plan, execute, disseminate, and publish research in high-quality publications, technical reports and conference proceedings.
• To pursue external research funding.
• To manage research project activities, and/or supervise other research staff.
• As relevant to their discipline, to engage with industry, policymakers, the media or others to facilitate the wider impact of their research.
• To develop novel methodologies and techniques appropriate to the type of research being pursued.
• To engage with issues around EDI as related to Water Sciences research.
• To supervise (or co-supervise) PhD students.
• To provide expert advice to staff and students within the discipline.
• To apply knowledge in a way that develops new intellectual understanding.

Learning and Teaching
At the start of a Fellowship, the emphasis will be on consolidating an outstanding research trajectory. However, because UoB and UIUC are committed to excellence in education, the Fellow will contribute to learning and teaching as described in the further particulars. The Fellow will use a variety of teaching and mentoring methods for individuals and groups of undergraduates, postgraduates, or CPD (continuing professional development) students to a highest quality standard. Where appropriate to the discipline this may include:
• To teach and examine courses at a range of levels.
• To self-evaluate teaching approaches and act as a mentor to others.
• To undertake and develop the full range of responsibilities in relation to supervision, marking and examining.
• To work to make the teaching of water sciences inclusive and diverse.
• To use appropriate approaches to learning and teaching in their field.
• To disseminate appropriate practices through suitable media.
• To develop and advise others on learning and teaching tasks and methods.
• To devise and supervise projects, student dissertations/theses and practical work.

Management/ Administration
BRIDGE Fellows will not be expected to make a defined contribution in management and administration. However, they will be asked:
• To advise on personal and professional development of colleagues and students.
• To contribute to the academic community, including engaging with discussions at group, departmental, school, college or University level as relevant to them and their colleagues.
• To manage their own research and teaching responsibilities to ensure delivery of excellence.

Person Specification and Key Requirements
Candidates should be on a trajectory to become principal investigators and research leaders in their field of expertise. Demonstrating:

Skills and Experience
• Awarded a PhD or equivalent terminal degree at the point of application.
• Extensive and successful research experience and scholarship within their subject specialism.
• Proven ability to devise, advise on, and manage research.

• Experience and achievement reflected by a growing reputation within their discipline.
• A publication record demonstrating clear evidence of outputs that are at least internationally excellent, if not world leading, in terms of originality, significance and rigour.
• Experience and demonstrated success in planning, undertaking and project managing research to deliver high quality results.
• Extensive experience of applying and/or developing and devising successful models, techniques and methods.

Ability to:
• Design, deliver, assess and revise teaching programmes.
• Develop learning and teaching approaches, including approaches to mentoring.
• Engage with EDI initiatives related to teaching
• Develop programme proposals and decide what contributions are necessary in the design of teaching programmes.
• Advise, supervise and examine PhD students.

• Ability to assess and organise resources effectively.
• Understanding of, and ability to contribute to, broader management/administration processes at School/Departmental level.

Planning and Organising
• Develop knowledge in specialist area.
• Plan high-quality research and organise self and others effectively to deliver research outputs.
• Project-manage research activities and/or supervise other research staff.
• Plan for and set teaching programme objectives over a number of years.
• Plan and manage own teaching at a range of levels (including design, delivery, assessment) as agreed with the Head of School/Department. Organise meetings/conferences/symposia.

Decision Making
• Develop research ideas.
• Decide how to develop and undertake the research.
• Decide where and when to present research findings and what publications and conferences to target for this purpose.

Internal/External Relationships
• Liaise with the relevant internal and external research community via seminars and conferences, including international collaborations.
• Referee and peer review articles for academic journals and grant applications for research councils and/or other major funding bodies.
• Maintain contact (including membership of) appropriate professional bodies.
• Provide expert advice internally and externally in specialist area.
• Develop links with external contacts, such as other researchers and educational bodies.
• Work with a culturally diverse, interdisciplinary team.
• Willingness to promote diversity and equality in an academic setting.

Please contact David Hannah for informal enquiries

Valuing excellence, sustaining investment

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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