Research Fellow in Crop Plant Modelling and Food Security, Kew Gardens [LONDON]

Thursday, May 28, 2015 - 15:00

Reporting to the Director of Science and the Head of Natural Capital & Plant Health, you will be a member of the Plant Resources research team with responsibility for carrying out and publishing research applying modelling approaches to crops, crop wild relatives and other resource-providing plants relevant to both the needs of the Food Security Impacts of Industrial Crop Expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa project and the overarching themes of NCPH and Kew’s science strategy.

Contract: 3 years contract (January 2018) 

Salary: £30,786

Location: Kew Gardens, Richmond, Wakehurst Place, West Sussex

Closing Date: 05/06/2015

For more information, please view this vacancy on the Kew Gardens website or downaload the Job Profile

Research Fellow in Crop Plant Modelling and Food Security: an excellent species distribution modeller for a high profile project

Kew is a world-leader in plant and fungal diversity science, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a major visitor attraction that shows the importance of plants and fungi in all our lives. Kew’s mission is to inspire and deliver science-based plant and fungal conservation worldwide, enhancing the quality of life.

This role and the Food Security Impacts of Industrial Crop Expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa project (FICESSA;https://igfagcr.org/funded-projects/food-security-impacts-industrial-crop-expansion-sub-sahara-africa-ficessa) it supports form important parts of RBG, Kew’s new Natural Capital and Plant Health Department (NCPH). The FICESSA project will be directed at RBG, Kew by Prof. Kathy Willis (Director of Science, RBG, Kew) and Dr. Marc Macias-Fauria, Associate Professor of Physical Geography & School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford, both of whom are co-PIs on the project.

NCPH is geared to research on plants and fungi that are directly, indirectly or potentially utilisable for economic and societal purposes linked to Kew’s world class collections. NCPH applies a range of plant diversity research techniques to increase knowledge of those plants and fungi. Its research outputs will lead to sustaining and enhancing plant and fungal natural capital, in particular where it underpins provisioning, regulating, and supporting ecosystem services. You will contribute directly to the Plant Resources team, which will undertake research on crops in the broadest sense, including managed wild plant resources and those that are actually or potentially underutilised. You will be responsible for carrying out and publishing research applying modelling approaches to crops, crop wild relatives and other resource-providing plants relevant to both the needs of the project and the overarching themes of NCPH and Kew’s science strategy. Thus you will possess a very high level of expertise in modelling species distributions and be able to adapt this approach to the special characteristics of agricultural crops. This might involve modifying modelling algorithms and/or employing datasets of non-climate parameters such as plant traits or land use. Significant overarching issues for the Plant Resources team include climate change, maintenance and restoration of essential ecosystem services, food and resource security, supply chain resilience, health and public outreach. Current and potential areas of research interest include rain-fed woody crops, beverages, roots and tubers, legumes, palms and minor cereals. Identification of, and work on, crop wild relatives is also envisaged.

You will demonstrate expertise in modelling species distributions in order to adapt this approach to the special characteristics of agricultural crops. This might involve modifying modelling algorithms and/or employing datasets of non-climate parameters such as plant traits, crops’ genetic composition, or land use.

You will also seek to develop further funding streams. The post holder provides guidance to less experienced members of the research group, including technical staff and students, especially on species distribution modelling. He/she makes contributions to the overall running of the Science Directorate commensurate with the grade of the post.

You will need to be qualified to PhD level with a demonstrated level of excellence in modelling species distributions that can be adapted to crop plants and significant publications in this research field as lead author. You will possess excellent communication skills, including the ability to write for publication, present research proposals and results, and represent the research group at meetings. Experience of independently managing a discrete area of research and proven ability to develop ideas for new research projects and income generation will also be key skills. Experience of and aptitude for supervising students and mentoring colleagues are desireablein the context of developing species distribution modelling expertise at RBG, Kew.

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