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Research Fellow in X-Ray CT Scanning to Understand Plant-Soil Interaction

Infrastructure Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Salary:   £28,695 to £33,242
Full Time - Fixed Term Until 01/10/2018
Closing Date:   Friday 10 July 2015
Interview Date:   Friday 31 July 2015
Reference:  578815AT
Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Salary: £28,695 rising in annual increments

The project will explore how different plant roots (trees and grasses) act to reinforce and stabilise the soil, helping to prevent shallow slides and erosion problems within earth slopes. An ultimate goal is to be able to design an optimal plant/root system for use in stabilising existing and new engineered earthworks. This requires data on hydrological, mechanical, and biological processes that affect the behaviour of soils at the root-soil interface. You will use the µ-VIS multiscale X-ray CT facility in Southampton to image how plant roots reinforce soil as it undergoes shear. This will require the development of novel experimental apparatus that can shear elements of soil (with roots) in the CT scanner. As part of the EPSRC project team, you will be joined by another researcher at Southampton who will numerically model plant soil interaction, and two further postdoc’s based at Dundee conducting centrifuge experiments and developing constitutive models for plant-soil interactions. The Bioengineering and Infrastructure research groups at Southampton also have other research staff and students working in complimentary areas, and you will be joining an established team.

You will join the EPSRC project “Rooting for Sustainable Performance.” This post is one of four research positions that form an exciting new consortium between the University of Southampton, University of Dundee, and University of Aberdeen.

To be successful you will need a track record of producing peer reviewed publications and an ability to work as a member of an interdisciplinary team. You will hold a PhD or equivalent in engineering, soil/granular media physics, geotechnical engineering or a related discipline. A keen interest in development of experimental apparatus, imaging methodologies, digital image analysis, and plant-soil interaction problems is absolutely essential for this position. Whilst advanced programming skills are not essential, a high degree of computer literacy and familiarity with programming image analysis tools will be very beneficial.

Applications will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification.  The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon completion of PhD.  Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

Start date of the project is 1 October 2015.

Informal enquiries to Dr Joel Smethurst at Professor Tiina Roose at

About The University

You will join one of the UK’s most dynamic centres for engineering and environmental research and education rated number one for research power in REF2014.  We have an excellent record of collaborative research with industry and academic institutions in the UK and abroad.

The Faculty has nearly 200 academic staff working in a number of research themes ( We have exceptional research facilities particularly in our state-of-the-art facilities at our new Boldrewood Innovation Campus (fluids and structures/infrastructure) which includes a 138m towing tank.

In recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science and engineering we were awarded an Athena SWAN bronze award in September 2013 and intend to submit an application for Silver in Spring 2016.

The University of Southampton is the top one per cent of world universities and in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities

The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and being a globally responsible university and has recently been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.  Our vision is to embed the principles of sustainability into all aspects of our individual and collective work, integrating sustainable development into our business planning, policy-making, and professional activities.  This commits all of our staff and students to take responsibility for managing their activities to minimise harm to the environment, whether this through switching off non-essential electrical equipment or using the recycling facilities.

Application Procedure

You should submit your completed online application form at The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Geraldine Lewis (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 2507. Please quote reference 578815AT on all correspondence.

Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder: Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position

Further details:

We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Please note that applications from agencies will not be accepted unless indicated in the job advert.



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