Job offer in england Research Associate at University of Bristol

Research Associate in the Global Methane Budget in the Schools of Chemistry and Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol

Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas. However, we have a surprisingly poor understanding of the controls on its growth in the atmosphere. The recent decades have been particularly puzzling as methane’s growth stalled around 1999, and then suddenly resumed in 2007. The causes of these changes are being debated in many high-impact publications at present. This project will attempt to untangle the many possible causes of change in atmospheric methane concentrations.

This project will primarily focus on atmospheric modelling of methane, and constraining sources and sinks using observations. New and existing data will be used from in situ (e.g. AGAGE and NOAA) and remotely sensed platforms (e.g. GOSAT). A crucial component of this work will be to explore the impact of uncertainties in the data and models on our estimates of fluxes and losses. To do so requires cutting-edge statistical and computational methods that have been developed in recent years by our group (e.g. hierarchical Bayesian techniques, Markov Chain Monte Carlo, and model reduction methods). You will be trained in the use of these methods, along with global or regional atmospheric transport models.

The successful applicant will join the NERC-funded Methane Observations and Yearly Assessments (MOYA) project. MOYA is a £4m consortium of 14 institutions across the UK. It includes researchers developing new isotopic and remotely sensed observations, experts in terrestrial biogeochemistry, and atmospheric modellers. Your role will be to bring together information from these diverse communities to better understand the global methane budget.

You will join the Atmospheric Chemistry Research Group (ACRG) and the School of Geographical Sciences in the University of Bristol. The ACRG has over 30 years of expertise in atmospheric measurements and modelling and currently houses 8 RAs and 6 PhD students studying experimental and computational atmospheric chemistry and Bayesian methods. The School of Geographical Sciences has a growing reputation for greenhouse gas research with expertise in both atmospheric and terrestrial modelling.

We are seeking applicants with a strong background in physical or environmental sciences, mathematics, or computing, and with experience with high-performance computing. The project does not require a background in chemistry. The work will involve modelling and statistics, but prior knowledge of the exact methods employed is not a requirement, if a sufficiently numerate and enthusiastic candidate applies. We expect that the outcomes of this project will be presented at several international conferences.

Further details

This post is available from 01 September 2017 and currently has funding confirmed until 31 August 2019 with the opportunity of extension (depending on securing further funding).

For more information, please refer to the job description and informal enquiries can be made to Dr Matthew Rigby ( and Dr Anita Ganesan (

The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.