View All Vacancies

Senior Research Associate in Satellite Altimetry

Lancaster Environment Centre
Salary:   £34,804 to £40,322
Closing Date:   Tuesday 24 November 2020
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  A3110

We are seeking to recruit an independent, highly-motivated senior post-doctoral researcher, to work as a radar altimeter expert within the UK Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling. The successful candidate will have responsibility for (1) developing novel satellite radar altimetry processing chains, dedicated to deriving state-of-the-art measurements of ice sheet elevation, and (2) the scientific analysis of these new datasets. Ultimately, this work is expected to contribute towards assessments of the contribution of ice sheets to sea level rise, and to the understanding of the broader impact of climate change upon Earth’s polar regions.

Preferred candidates for this post will have a PhD or postdoctoral experience in satellite altimetry, geodesy, geophysics, glaciology, computer science or software engineering. Independence, critical thinking and excellent interpersonal skills are essential, alongside the ability to work collaboratively as part of a larger team, and to meet tight deadlines.

Joining the UK’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM), and the new Centre of Excellence in Environmental Data Science (CEEDS) hosted at Lancaster, you will work on the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Cryo-TEMPO project. This study – led by Lancaster and featuring a large international team – aims to develop new state-of-the-art ‘thematic’ datasets using CryoSat-2 altimetry. The advertised position will focus on the development, evaluation and analysis of the Ice Sheet thematic product; whilst other teams will work in parallel on Sea Ice, Polar Ocean, Coastal Ocean and Inland Water products.

As part of the Cryo-TEMPO project, this position offers the exciting opportunity to work with experts from CPOM, CEEDS and ESA, as well more than ten academic institutions and SME’s across Europe. As such, it provides an excellent opportunity for collaboration and career progression in the developing field of high resolution polar altimetry, with the potential to become a future leader in this domain.

In addition to the Cryo-TEMPO work, you will also collaborate closely with CPOM colleagues, both in Lancaster and nationally, to develop and implement methodological advances in altimetry processing, and to integrate them within the CPOM processing system. Alongside CryoSat-2, you will have the opportunity to work with a suite on new altimeter missions, including Sentinel-3 and ICESat-2. You will be expected to lead the analysis of the new datasets that are generated, and to publish the results in leading international journals.

The UK Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling

You will become a member of CPOM, which provides the UK with core strategic capability in polar satellite observation; measurements that are used to investigate ongoing changes across Earth’s polar regions. The centre receives long-term strategic funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and works in close partnership with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), as well as the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), and the UK Met Office. CPOM also collaborates closely with ESA on current satellite missions and future design concepts, including CryoSat-2, Sentinel-3 and CRISTAL.

Lancaster University

Lancaster University has been named University of the Year 2018 and International University of the Year 2020, by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. The University is ranked in the top 10 UK Universities. The Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC) is the largest and most interdisciplinary department of the University. Within LEC, the glaciology group constitutes an ambitious, supportive and rapidly growing team of academics, post-doctoral researchers and PhD students, who specialise in the use of satellite observations and climate models to study Earth’s ice sheets. CEEDS is a new initiative between LEC, Lancaster’s Data Science Institute and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, which aims to bring together Environmental and Data Scientists to tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges facing society, and to accelerate the use of Data Science methods in Environmental Science. We are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis. The department holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, which recognises and celebrates good employment practice undertaken to address gender equality in Higher Education and research. 

You will join us on an indefinite contract however, the role remains contingent on external funding which, at this time is for 12 months.  

This is a full time post, anticipated to start in January 2021, or at a mutually agreed date, and expected to finish in July 2023. Due to the Cryo-TEMPO study being funded in two Phases, the initial position will be for 12 months, with the remaining 18 months subject to confirmation by ESA of Phase 2 of the project.

Informal enquiries are welcome, please contact Mal McMillan;

We welcome applications from people in all diversity groups. 


Email details to a friend
Further details:

Lancaster University - ensuring equality of opportunity and celebrating diversity



Forgotten Details


Stonewall Global Diversity Champions Athena Swan - Charter for Women in Science Lancaster University Partner Logos
TEF Gold Lancaster University Partner Logos