Geocomputation Scientist

The James Hutton Institute

Postdoctorate Position Permanent Aberdeen, UK

Uploaded 7 Feb 2019

Job Description

This is an exciting opportunity for a skilled and motivated geocomputation scientist to join a world-class research team delivering to the Scottish Government, European Commission and other clients. The current portfolio focusses on producing scientific evidence underpinning the development and evaluation of policy in the fields of sustainability, ecosystem function and related services, land use, farming systems and climate change.

Specifically, the post holder will contribute to research projects comprising the integration of large spatial data sets, including satellite images and field observations into complex workflows which encompass advanced statistical analyses and environmental modelling. This involves sourcing, evaluating, integrating and manipulating very large and complex geographical (spatial and spatio-temporal) datasets and developing bespoke scripts and geographic data bases to store and manipulate these datasets. The post holder will liaise directly with research clients on project scope and will work with data providers to ensure our research is based on the best available data. The post holder will communicate research outputs to policy stakeholder and other end-user audiences through participation in workshops, scientific conferences, technical reports and peer-reviewed publications.

Person Specification

The post requires a PhD with a strong computation component. Post-doctoral experience is desirable. Relevant fields of expertise would include but are not limited to geography, geo-informatics, statistics, computer science, and environmental sciences.This post will be based in Aberdeen; there will be a requirement for occasional travel to Dundee.



  • PhD in computational geography, an environmental science, statistics, computer science, physics, mathematics, with a strong spatial component
  • Sound understanding of statistics, including spatial statistics
  • Workflow Development – ability to develop complex spatial analyses, combining a range of spatial tools, and involving the manipulation of large data sets
  • Three or more years of experience in programming languages including one or more of the following: Python, R, Java, C
  • Experience in the use of LINUX, including basic administration
  • Geographical Information Systems – demonstrable experience in the use of GRASS; ability to present complex geographical data as maps or other visualisations
  • Working knowledge of satellite image processing
  • Working knowledge of cloud-based HPC, Google earth engine or similar platforms for undertaking high-resolution or global-scale analyses
  • Good presentation skills with the ability to convey complex information to a range of audience types
  • Experience or knowledge or of the following issues: Sustainability; Land use; Farming systems; Rural economy and society; Climate and climate change


  • Knowledge of spatial ecology, environmental science, and ecosystem services mapping
  • 2 years or more of experience working at post-doctoral level in spatial modelling or analysis
  • Advanced R programming skills
  • Knowledge of research computing, HPC
  • Publication record in spatial or landscape sciences or Earth Observation

Other Skills

  • Ability to work in small teams and independently
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Evidence of being well organized, rigorous, conscientious and self-motivated