Associate postdoctoral research job in landscape / population genomics and evolutionary biology at the UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM

Department of Biosciences

7th year: – £ 34,304 – £ 40,927 per year
Fixed term – Full time
Contractual hours per week: 35
Closing Date: 11-Oct-2021, 06:59:00

Durham University

Durham University is one of the best universities in the world with strengths in the arts and humanities, sciences and social sciences. We are home to some of the most talented academics and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference in people’s lives.

The university is located in a beautiful historic town where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the largest Romanesque building in Western Europe. Collegiate University, Durham recruits exceptional students from around the world and offers an unparalleled student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is an area steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of urban, suburban and rural residential locations. The University offers a range of benefits, including retirement and childcare benefits, and the University Relocation Officer can assist you with potential tuition requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that helps all members of our University community reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from the international, national and regional communities with whom we work and serve.

The Department

The Department of Biosciences is consistently ranked in the UK’s Top 5 Biological Sciences Departments in the Complete University Guide and was ranked 8th for Research Impact in REF2014. Research within the department revolves around four key themes: animal cells and systems; biomolecular interactions; ecology, evolution & environment; and plant molecular sciences. Our research is supported by an outstanding research infrastructure in advanced bio-imaging (including super-resolution, confocal and electron microscopy), genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, high performance computing and field research. We promote research at the interface with other disciplines.

For more information, visit our departmental website:

The role

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research associate in evolutionary biology with a particular emphasis on the genomics of populations and landscapes. The research project is funded by an NSFDEB-NERC collaborative grant that builds on more than a decade of research into the causes and evolutionary consequences of reproductive and aggressive interference in rubyspot damselfish (Hetaerina spp.), this project addresses the question of how adaptations that reduce interspecies interference affect range expansion.

Focal species, H. titia, varies in wing coloration both seasonally and geographically, and wing color determines the frequency and intensity of territorial and reproductive interactions between H. titia and other sympatric Hetaerinaspecies. By taking advantage of the variation in wing color between populations, we will use genomic approaches to understand how behavioral interferences between species influence range dynamics.

The successful candidate will assume a leadership role in the design and management of genomic analyzes to compare diversification rates and historical demographics between H. titia populations and between H. titiaand four congeners to differentiate between several possible scenarios of historical range expansion.


  • Understand and convey material of a specialized or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that lead to the presentation of research articles in conferences and publications.
  • Prepare and present presentations on research results / activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • Publish high-quality results, including papers for submission to peer-reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the guidance of the Principal Investigator or Fellow.
  • Assist in the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • Conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the principal investigator or fellow.
  • Work with the principal investigator or grant holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas of research, develop new research methods and expand the research portfolio.
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the principal investigator or the fellow and proposing creative or innovative solutions.
  • Liaise with research colleagues and establish internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to build relationships for future research collaboration.
  • Plan and manage own research activity, seek resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • Provide training on research techniques / approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • Be involved in the supervision of students, as appropriate, and assist in the assessment of students’ knowledge.
  • Contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful, inclusive and welcoming work environment where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • Engage in a broader citizenship to support the department and a broader discipline.

This position is for a two-year term, as funding is only available for that term.

The incumbent is employed to work on a research / research project which will be led by another colleague. While this means that the incumbent will not carry out independent research on their own, they are expected to contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research / adaptation ideas and development of research protocols.

Successful candidates will ideally be in post before November 1, 2021.

How to register

For any informal inquiries, please contact Dr Jonathan Drury ([email protected]). All requests will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online through the Durham University vacancy site. As part of the application process, you must provide details of 3 references (preferably academic / research) and details of your current supervisor so that we can search for a job reference.

Applications are especially welcome from women and black and ethnic minority applicants, who are under-represented in academic positions at the University.

What to submit

All applicants are invited to submit:

  • A CV and cover letter that detail your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out below;

Next steps

Assessment for the position will include a remote presentation and interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview and assessment to be confirmed.

Person specification

The requirements



  • A PhD (or close to submission) in Evolutionary Biology or a related field.

To live

  • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
  • Proven ability to draft documents of a quality commensurate with publication in high-level journals.
  • Proven ability to present research papers at international conferences and communicate complex information to scholars and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience with genomic wet lab protocols (e.g. PCR library preparation, RAD-seq or WGS, etc.)
  • Experience in the use of bioinformatic pipelines for the preparation and analyzes (population genetics) of libraries of SNP or similar.


  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively within a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work autonomously on own initiative and within strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.


To live

  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with career stage.
  • A history of presentation of research at conferences, seminars or meetings, related to the stage of the career.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  • Experience in supervising students regarding the development of their practical / research skills, eg as a demonstrator; supervise students’ projects / practical work.
  • Experience with simulating and / or fitting historical demographic models (e.g. G-PhoCS, fastsimcoal2, PSMC, ABC, etc.).
  • Experience in the development of calculation methods.


  • Demonstrated ability to plan and manage independent research.

DBS requirement: Not applicable.

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