Climate variability

Research Fellow in Holocene Climate Variability with UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON

Landscape dynamics and ecology

Location: Campus Highfield

Salary: £31,406 to £32,344 Per year
Full-time CDD (36 months)

Closing Date: Thursday 04 August 2022

Date of interview: be confirmed

Reference: 1894922WR

Start date from October 1, 2022 for 3 years.

The post holder will undertake scientific research on paleoclimatic variability based on chironomid and lipid biomarker analyzes under the UKRI funded project titled “Rethinking paleoclimatology for society’ awarded to Dr Celia Martin Puertas (Royal Holloway University of London – RHUL). The project will use annually resolved (varved) lake sediment records from across Europe and modeling approaches to provide unprecedented insight into the decadal behavior of North Atlantic atmospheric dynamics and their impact on UK climate and European (e.g. floods and droughts) during the Holocene period. Indirect data will be coupled with modeling work (undertaken by a researcher working alongside Dr Swingedouw at the Center National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France) to develop emerging constraints both in the climatic optimum of the Holocene (ca. 6000 years BP) and last 200 years, including pre-industrial conditions and validating decadal-scale climate predictions, including multi-decadal feedbacks.

The project is based on a co-production approach, in which scientists work closely with organizations and climate policymakers to co-design advanced research findings to address pressing and policy-relevant climate issues and provide information in the right format for use by stakeholders/policy makers. The candidate will have the opportunity to undertake a 3-month policy secondment to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to learn about the policy process and gain the necessary grounding to conduct research palaeoclimatic on the impact. Additionally, and subject to start date and travel restrictions, there will be opportunities for fieldwork in Finland and Spain during the project.

It’s a Full time position for 3 years (36 months) and the researcher will work on three main tasks:

  1. generate and compare quantitative estimates of terrestrial air temperature using chironomid (non-biting midges) head capsules and lipid biomarkers (organic molecules derived from a definitive biological source organism),
  2. work with the RHUL team (Dr. Celia Martin-Puertas and another researcher) to develop site geochronologies and validate Bayesian climate reconstructions, and
  3. provide the modeling group with paleotemperature reconstructions and participate in their experiments to help them achieve their goals. The project requires someone with skills and experience in using a range of laboratory methods, including the application of lipid biomarkers and/or paleolimnological proxies (e.g. chironomids) to reconstruct the climate from Holocene varved sediments. The post holder will work with both Professor Pete Langdon (SoGES) and Dr Gordon Inglis (School of Ocean and Earth Sciences – SOES) and benefit from early career support opportunities available at both schools . Additionally, they will be part of the larger team led by Dr. Celia Martin Puertas and will work closely with the other researchers and researchers in the project.

The University of Southampton is in the top 1% of global universities and one of the top 10 research-intensive universities in the UK. We have an international reputation for our research, teaching and corporate activities. The University of Southampton is committed to fostering a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion. Recruitment will follow prescribed anti-discrimination and equal opportunity protocols, including gender balance, and we particularly encourage applications from candidates from underrepresented groups within academic positions at the University, including, but not limited to: Black and minority ethnic groups; and those with visible or invisible disabilities. This scholarship will also adopt a family-friendly philosophy for all participants of any gender involved in the action to support their professional careers. We are a Disability Confident Employer, and both SoGES and SOES hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. We are signatories to the Concordat to support the career development of researchers and can offer career development and mentorship opportunities. More information can be found here: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion | University of Southampton

For more information on SoGES Palaeo research, see below:

For more information on the Organic Geochemistry Group, please see below:

For more information, please contact Professor Pete Langdon ([email protected]) or Dr Gordon Inglis ([email protected])


  • Work within the larger project (“Rethinking Paleoclimatology for Society”) and contribute to Work Package 1 (“Past decadal climate variability in the proxy record”)
  • Develop new proxy records to reconstruct climatic and environmental changes over two key timeframes: 1) the past 200 years, including pre-industrial conditions and current global warming, and (2) the Holocene climatic optimum, 6000 years ago.
  • Collaborate with the project investigators and the research fellow at RHUL to test the stationarity of the proxy-climate relationship assumed by the Bayesian modeling approach and to estimate the magnitude of the climate response to external forcing in different climate contexts.
  • Provide project researchers and the CNRS research fellow with proxy temperature reconstructions to help refine the climate model’s decadal predictions and projections by developing emergent constraints based on proxy data.
  • Undertake a 3-month policy secondment to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to learn and gain experience on how scientific evidence informs policy makers and developing pathways of impact through research.
  • Lead the preparation of research publications for submission to peer-reviewed academic journals based on the research undertaken.
  • Present papers at conferences, public meetings or seminars.
  • Contribute to the planning and organization of the research program and project data.

Selection criteria

  • Hold or have submitted a relevant Ph.D./PhD, as well as experience or interest in Quaternary sciences and paleoclimatology
  • Strong background in generating proxy data from sediment archives, with some knowledge of lipid biomarkers, chironomid analyzes or other lake indicators.
  • Be able to manage time effectively and be willing to be part of a collaborative team.
  • Possess excellent written and oral communication skills

The day-to-day management of the project will be overseen by Professor Pete Langdon and Dr Gordon Inglis, with regular guidance provided by the Project Manager (Dr Celia Martin-Puertas – RHUL). The team is friendly, collaborative and inclusive and any applicant will be welcomed as an equal member of the scientific community.

What can we offer you

As part of our commitment to your well-being, we offer you professional pensions and generous holidays. Staff also have access to our state-of-the-art on-campus athletic, arts and cultural facilities and a number of University employee discount programs.

Applications will be considered by candidates who are working or are about to obtain a relevant doctorate. The title of associate researcher will be applied at the end of the doctorate. Prior to the award of the qualification, the title of Senior Research Assistant will be awarded.

You must submit your completed online application form to The deadline for applications will be midnight on the closing date listed above. If you need help, please call Hannah Nash (recruitment team) on +44 (0)23 8059 2750 or email [email protected]. Please quote part number 1894922WR on all correspondence.