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Postdoctoral Research Associate

Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Contract status
Fixed term
31,604 a year
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Role Description

We are seeking to recruit an electronic engineer with an interest in the development of electronic devices to allow us to track organisms in optically dense (i.e. soil, wood) materials in order to create a step-change in ecological science. The post will be based jointly in our Environment department and Department of Electronic Engineering which already collaborate on a number of exciting multidisciplinary projects.

We have been awarded funding from the Leverhulme trust to develop and test a device using MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) accelerometers to detect and track earthworms in soil using 3-dimensional acoustic triangulation. Working with our established Earthworm ecology (Professor Mark Hodson, Environment) and Bioacoustics (Dr Dave Chesmore, Electronic Engineering) groups we are seeking to appoint a postdoctoral research associate with the necessary technical skills and interests in interdisciplinary-working to develop this device.

The role

You will be responsible for working with Professor Hodson (Environment) and Dr Chesmore (Electronics) to design, construct and test a device, constructed from MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) accelerometers and utilising three-dimensional acoustic triangulation, that will allow us to detect and track the movement of earthworms in soil. You will design and build single accelerometer sensors, stacked accelerometer sensors and finally a complete system suitable for three-dimensional acoustic triangulation. You will also test these systems and evaluate and optimise algorithms for locating and tracking individual and multiple earthworms under laboratory conditions and ground truth observations using X-ray tomography.  In addition, you will be responsible for day to day research activity and leading publication of results in the peer-reviewed literature and presenting results at international conferences.

Skills, experience and qualifications needed

A PhD awarded by the time of appointment, which contains a significant component of electronic engineering design and manufacture or acoustic tracking and analysis or equivalent  experience, is essential.  Well developed communication skills to be able to write up results for the peer-reviewed scientific literature will be required along with the ability to  present results at international conferences and to engage in outreach activities. The successful candidate will need to have the skills necessary to take the lead in progressing the research project and will have appropriate electronic engineering and numerical analysis skills. They will have experience of carrying out independent research, of writing up that research for publication, of individual and team working and of designing and constructing electronic devices for acoustic detection and analysis. Ideally experience or an interest in ecology would also be useful.

The post is full-time, 37 hours per week and available for a period of two years.

Athena Swan Bronze

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