Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Squirrel-Tick Ecology, Society and Environment


1 Jul 2023
Job Information

Research Field
Biological sciences
Researcher Profile
Recognised Researcher (R2)
Established Researcher (R3)
United Kingdom
Application Deadline
13 Jul 2023 – 00:00 (UTC)
Type of Contract
Job Status
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

Agriculture, Health and Environment

Location: Medway Campus
Salary: £36,333 to £41,931
Contract Type: Fixed Term – until 31/12/2025
Release Date: Thursday 29 June 2023
Closing Date: Thursday 13 July 2023
Interview Date: To be confirmed
Reference: 3988

An opportunity has arisen for a post-doctoral research fellow to join the Agriculture, Health and Environment Department to support a new research project “One Health approach to tick-borne disease control through manipulation of reservoir host communities at landscape scale: RodTickPathMan”, which has received funding from a joint UKRI-DEFRA One Health vector-borne disease programme (UKRI and Defra invest £7 million to fight vector-borne disease – UKRI ). RodTickPathMan aims to investigate the importance of invasive grey squirrels and the ticks they carry on Lyme disease transmission to humans in the United Kingdom.  The team will work with community groups aiming to control grey squirrels as part of actions to save the native red squirrel. Research to understand how different squirrel management practices may impact on tick abundance and prevalence of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi is a major work component for the post-doctoral position. The multidisciplinary team is headed by Professor Steven Belmain and Dr Dan Bray at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich and involves co-investigators based at the University of Salford (Prof Richard Birtles), the University of York (Dr Giovanna Massei), the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Dr Simon Croft) and Forest Research (Dr Harry Marshall).   More about the project can be found through these links.

Natural Resources Institute – Could putting grey squirrels ‘on the pill’ help protect human health? (

NRI is recruiting a researcher in ecology to manage several field sites based in Cumbria. These woodland habitats are home to wildlife that host ticks that can be carrying the bacteria causing Lyme disease as well as other potential pathogens.  Landowners and community groups are culling grey squirrel populations to help red squirrel populations expand as well as to prevent grey squirrels debarking and killing trees.  Empirical trials with different squirrel reduction activities will be developed with landowners and community groups where the postdoc will be expected to help and support such actions.  The field work will require working within teams during key expeditions as well as independent working with considerable transect walking alone in Cumbrian woodlands on a weekly basis. The postdoc will be responsible for managing camera traps placed throughout woodland field sites and collecting and analysing camera trap data.   Other activities will involve collecting ticks and trapping squirrels and taking samples for laboratory analysis. As part of the project’s One Health approach, the postdoc will also work with social scientists based at Forestry Research, assisting in survey work with different stakeholder groups and helping to collect data from focus group discussions and interacting with the public.

The successful candidate will have a strong publication record and proven experience in ecological field work. Previous experience working with small mammals, arthropods, vector-borne diseases, and eco-epidemiology would be beneficial. Specifically, the candidate will be involved in:

  • Camera trap placement and maintenance for surveys to assess abundance of squirrels, deer, and other animals.
  • Collecting biological samples (ticks, squirrels, blood from squirrels) using traps and standard protocols
  • Assisting in collecting social science data
  • Analysing data and present the findings to rest of the project partners.
  • Working as part of a multidisciplinary team of molecular biologists, behavioural and chemical ecologists, modellers, social scientists as well as community groups, landowners and interacting with the general public.  
  • The candidate will be employed through the Natural Resources Institute. However, the candidate may choose to live closer to other collaborative partners based at the University of York or near field work sites in Cumbria.   

    For more information about the post,  please contact Prof. Steven Belmain: [email protected]  

    Should you have any recruitment related queries please contact the HR Recruitment Team on [email protected]

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    Additional Information
    Work Location(s)

    Number of offers available
    United Kingdom

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