Postdoctoral Researcher and Project Coordinator (31 Jan)

Grade 8: £39,992 - £47,722 p.a.

The Open Philanthropy Project recently announced an award to the Target Malaria consortium (led by Imperial College London) to assist it develop and prepare for the potential deployment of gene drive technologies in mosquitoes to help eliminate malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Deployment will only occur if it is feasible, ethical, safe, approved by the regulatory authorities, and supported by the affected communities.

Part of the award has been allocated to understanding the community-ecology consequences of reducing in density, or eliminating, the particular mosquito species that transmit malaria to humans.  Fieldwork in Ghana will seek to understand the ecology of these mosquitoes and use modern molecular techniques (such as DNA “barcoding” and metagenomics) to analyse their position in local ecological food webs.  The project will be led by Professor Charles Godfray [Oxford] assisted by Dr Fred Aboagye-Antwi (Accra), Professor Owen Lewis (Oxford) and Professor Frédéric Tripet (Keele).

We are looking for an experienced community ecologist to play a leadership role in this project. The position, which will be at senior post-doc/fellow level, will be based 50% of the time in Oxford and 50% in Ghana. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing the detailed plan of the programme with the PIs and then will take a leadership role over the course of the four-year project.

The successful candidate will lead a team of field biologists in Ghana and molecular ecologists in Oxford who will construct quantitative food webs of the insect communities within which the vectors of malaria are embedded, and carry out experiments to understand the community level consequences of the elimination of the mosquito species. The work will explore the aquatic niche of the larval mosquito as well the role of the adult as food for other animals and as pollinators of plant species.

We are looking for an ambitious field ecologist who has experience with working in the tropics. The successful candidate will be highly motivated and capable of working independently, and will have the personal skills to motivate and lead an international team of young ecologists.   While in Oxford, the successful candidate will be asked to take a role in the intellectual life of the Zoology Department appropriate to a more senior postdoctoral fellow. The successful candidate will hold a PhD in the relevant field.

The post is based at the Department of Zoology is full time and fixed term for 4 years.  The closing date is 31 January 2018.