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Research Associate

Apply now Job no: 501319
Work type: Full-time
Location: Sydney, NSW
Categories: Post doctoral research fellow

  • One of Australia’s leading research & teaching universities
  • Vibrant campus life with a strong sense of community & inclusion
  • Enjoy a career that makes a difference by collaborating & learning from the best

At UNSW, we pride ourselves on being a workplace where the best people come to do their best work.

This position is fully funded by the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEX) and the Research Associate will contribute to and benefit from being a part of the CLEX community. The Centre’s research agenda encompasses interconnected research programs focused on Weather and Climate Interactions, Drought, Attribution and Risk, Ocean Extremes and Coupled Modelling. CLEX is a major seven-year initiative funded by the Australian Research Council. The Centre is led by UNSW Sydney and partners with Monash, The University of Melbourne, The Australian National University and The University of Tasmania alongside a suite of national and international partner organisations. Climate extremes are the confluence of high impact weather and climate variability. The Centre works to improve our understanding of the processes that trigger or enhance extremes and build this understanding into our modelling systems. The improved predictions of climate extremes will help Australia cope with extremes now and in the future.

The Research Associate will contribute to collaborative research into understanding drought processes in Australia related to variability in the tropical oceans. The project aims to investigate whether and how climate drivers, such as the El Niño – Southern Oscillation, affect the onset, persistence, and termination of multi-year droughts, and examine how such influences will change in a warmer future. The Research Associate is expected to conduct numerical experiments using global climate models in a variety of configurations to understand the relative roles of forced versus internal variability for droughts in Australia.

This position sits within the CLEX Attribution and Risk research team and will collaborate with senior and postdoctoral researchers in that team and other CLEX programs. The position will also contribute to the CLEX atmospheric modelling team. The ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes provides a supportive and enriching workplace for its staff and students through its strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and wellbeing initiatives. The ARC Centre of Excellence will also support the successful candidate in how best to engage beyond academia.

About the role

  • $98K - $105K plus 17% Superannuation and annual leave loading
  • Fixed Term – 3 years
  • Full time (35 hours per week)

The Research Associate will report to Associate Professor Andrea Taschetto and has no direct reports.


Specific responsibilities for this role include: 

  • Identify the characteristics of Australian multi-year droughts and their relationship with large-scale climate drivers using the latest observations, reanalysis products, and multi-ensemble datasets.
  • Perform numerical experiments in a range of configurations (atmosphere-forced, ocean-forced, partially-coupled, and fully-coupled) using ACCESS-CM2 or similar climate model to understand the role of the ocean versus atmosphere variability for multi-year droughts.
  • Establish the relative contribution of individual ocean basins in modulating statistics of multi-year droughts and estimate how this will change in a warmer future.
  • Maintain a strong focus on communicating research findings by publishing in highly ranked journals and presenting to peers at local, national and global conferences.
  • Work collaboratively with other researchers among CLEX universities and partner organisations.
  • Contribute to the collegiate life of CLEX such as supporting PhD supervision, committee membership, leading workshops, etc.
  • With the support of the Centre’s Knowledge Brokerage Team, communicate relevant aspects of the research undertaken to stakeholders outside academia. (e.g. through briefing notes, briefings to government, presentations at industry conferences, etc.)
  • Align with and actively demonstrate the UNSW Values in Action: Our Behaviours and the UNSW Code of Conduct.
  • Cooperate with all health and safety policies and procedures of the university and take all reasonable care to ensure that your actions or omissions do not impact on the health and safety of yourself or others.

About the successful applicant

To be successful in this role you will have:
(Selection Criteria)

  • PhD in climate science, climate modelling, atmospheric dynamics, physical oceanography, or similar fields (e.g. physics, hydrology, statistics).
  • Demonstrated ability to carry out scientific research independently and as part of a collaborative team.
  • Demonstrated programming skills in a Unix/Linux environment with low-level computing language (e.g. Fortran, C) and/or high-level programming language (e.g., Python, MATLAB, etc.).
  • Strong research and publication track record (relative to opportunity) in an area listed in the position summary.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team, collaborate across disciplines and build effective relationships.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to communicate and interact with a diverse range of stakeholders and students.
  • Demonstrated high level analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Demonstrated experience running global and/or regional climate models, including the use of high-performance computing and processing and analysis of large data sets.
  • Willingness to engage with stakeholders outside academia, such as Government agencies, private businesses, NGOs, schools and others.
  • An understanding of and commitment to UNSW’s aims, objectives and values in action, together with relevant policies and guidelines.
  • Knowledge of health and safety responsibilities and commitment to attending relevant health and safety training.

You should systematically address the selection criteria listed within the position description in your application.

Please apply online - applications will not be accepted if sent to the contact listed.

Andrea Taschetto

Applications close: March 28th, 2021

Find out more about working at UNSW at

UNSW aspires to be the exemplar Australian university and employer of choice for people from diverse backgrounds. UNSW aims to ensure equality in recruitment, development, retention and promotion of staff and that no-one is disadvantaged on the basis of their gender, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation or identity or Indigenous heritage. We encourage everyone who meets the selection criteria to apply.

UNSW partners with Australia’s leading diversity organisations, networks, and campaigns. Please refer to UNSW’s diversity offerings for further information on our flexible work and leave options, and support for carers (childcare, parent rooms, parental leave).

Position Description

Advertised: AUS Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: AUS Eastern Daylight Time

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