Research Fellow – College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Fixed-term Full-time University of Birmingham in Academic Email Job
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Job Description


Position Details

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £34,980 to £44,263 with potential progression once in post to £46,974

Grade: 7

Full Time, Fixed Term contract up to August 2028

Closing date: 18th July 2024



To create and contribute to the creation of knowledge by undertaking a specified range of activities within a specific research project funded by ERC advanced grant through UKRI guarantee.

Role Summary

Applicants are invited to apply for a postdoctoral research fellow position (PDRA 3 years) at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham to work on a project funded by an ERC advanced grant. The postdoctoral research fellow will be working in a team composed of three PDRA fellows, a research technician and one PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Yin Chen.

Microbes represent the unseen majority of life on Earth, providing crucial ecosystem services to society such as greenhouse gas mitigation. Methanotrophs are ubiquitous in the environment, being key players in the global carbon cycle and the mitigation of methane release from the environment. Over the last decade, advances in omics have allowed a better understanding methantrophs and their role in greenhouse gas metabolism but our ability to predict how environmental change affects their assembly, structure, stability and function in response to climate change is rather limited. In this project, we bring together a novel combination of theoretical elements and a variety of empirical biology approaches to understand methane oxidation in real-world natural freshwater lakes and how methanotroph activity is regulated.

The successful candidate will

  • Work within specified research grants and projects and contribute to writing bids
  • Operate within area of specialism
  • Analyse and interpret research findings and results
  • Contribute to generating funding

Main Duties

The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below.

  • Assessing bacteriophages in freshwater lakes
  • Writing project reports and publications
  • Develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research, with assistance of a mentor if required
  • Contribute to writing bids for research funding
  • Analyse and interpret data
  • Apply knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding
  • Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars etc
  • Supervise students on research related work and provide guidance to PhD students where appropriate to the discipline
  • Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
  • Undertake management/administration arising from research
  • Contribute to Departmental/School research-related activities and research-related administration
  • Contribute to enterprise, business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University, often under supervision of a project leader
  • Collect research data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation, literature reviews, and research interviews *
  • Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and as posters *
  • Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research *
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines*
  • Promotes equality and values diversity acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.

* These indicative responsibilities may also be included in a research role at grade 6.

Person Specification

  • First degree in area of specialism and normally, a higher degree relevant to research area or equivalent qualifications
  • Strong skills in bacteriophages and associated bioinformatics
  • Strong background on environmental microbiology and virology
  • High level analytical capability
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Fluency in relevant models, techniques or methods and ability to contribute to developing new ones
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
  • Contribute to the planning and organising of the research programme and/or specific research project
  • Co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort
  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day to day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly


Informal enquiries to Prof Yin Chen,


We believe there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ member of University of Birmingham staff and that diversity in its many forms is a strength that underpins the exchange of ideas, innovation and debate at the heart of University life. We are committed to proactively addressing the barriers experienced by some groups in our community and are proud to hold Athena SWAN, Race Equality Charter and Disability Confident accreditations. We have an Equality Diversity and Inclusion Centre that focuses on continuously improving the University as a fair and inclusive place to work where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. We are also committed to sustainability, which is a key part of our strategyYou can find out more about our work to create a fairer university for everyone on our website.

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