Postdoctoral Research Associate in Trans Ecologies

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND
Job Type: PartTime
Deadline: 16 Dec 2022

Department of Geography

Grade 7: - £35,333 - £37,474 pro rata
Fixed Term - Part Time
Contract Duration: 23 months
Contracted Hours per Week: 17.5
Closing Date: 16-Dec-2022, 7:59:00 AM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable.

Durham University 

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

Durham Geography is a vibrant community of over 60 academic staff (approximately equally divided between physical and human geography), a graduate school of around 100 research and 40 taught postgraduate students and more than 750 undergraduates. The Department is well supported with technical staff, including a cartography unit, and administrative staff.

The most recent QS rankings for Geography placed Durham 12th overall in the world. The department is recurrently ranked in the top handful of programmes in the UK by various league tables; in 2021, we were ranked 2nd in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide and 6th in the Guardian University Guide. The Department was graded top for research power (quality weighted by volume) among UK geography departments in the most recent Research Excellence Framework exercise in 2014 and 3rd for iGPA (average score scaled by proportion of staff submitted). With 43% of work assessed as being in the highest category, it produced the largest number of world-leading (4*) publications in the country.

Our aim is to sustain and support hubs of leadership in geographical scholarship – broadly conceived. We will maintain our reputation for theoretical and conceptual innovation so that we are shaping and leading debates globally.

We will continue to engage concepts and materials from across disciplinary boundaries to renew geographical scholarship and bring geographical perspectives to bear in other domains. We work across every continent and most major oceans, and embrace the full diversity of methods and data available to the discipline.

We are further developing our core undergraduate programmes and will be recruiting world leading staff accordingly to ensure these programmes continue to offer the highest quality of education that develop students with skills to advance scholarly and public debates to which geography is central. The quality of our undergraduate students, and the degree programmes which ensue, combine with our large graduate school to provide a teaching experience for staff that is truly excellent.

In Durham Geography we are committed to thinking, researching and studying globally – addressing the grand challenges of our age on issues such as climate change, security, sustainability, hazards and resilience, mobility, and urbanisation. We embrace different ways of working and thinking across the discipline and beyond that complement and extend the reach and impact of our geographical scholarship.

We seek people who are at the forefront of current key debates and will shape future ones. We seek people who value processes and outcomes, who hold the very highest standards in their research and teaching; who have a capacity and willingness for innovation and transformation in their research in ways that shape geographical understandings or who identify and pursue new areas of interdisciplinary enquiry.

We expect to appoint people who drive research agendas, while supporting a collegial culture of collective endeavour, openness and mutual respect; who demonstrate and welcome excellence across a diversity of theoretical and empirical approaches. Academics who inspire the students they teach and demand the best from them as they do from themselves. Scholars who, whilst delivering the highest quality education and research, also recognise the importance of the public benefit of their work through critical engagement with non-academic communities nationally and internationally.

Our research is organised around our seven research clusters: Culture & Economy, Geographies of Life, Politics-State-Space, Urban Worlds, Ice Sheets & Sea Level, Catchments and Rivers, and Hazards and Surface Change.

Across these clusters we engage in debates that move beyond disciplinary boundaries and actively engage with collaborators within and beyond the discipline, from the sciences, social sciences and humanities, in University Research Institutes (such as the Institute for Hazard Risk and Resilience, the Durham Energy Institute and the Institute for Medical Humanities) and Centres (such as the Centre for Visual Arts and Cultures). Our staff collaborate with colleagues in many other disciplines in Durham, and with other geographers and interdisciplinary teams internationally.

The department fosters a lively research culture, supporting workshops and events which draw in international guests and mobilise the talents of our doctoral students. It provides financial support to develop collaborations and projects, be they for seeking funding or creating outputs. We are engaged with a wide variety of local, national and international bodies in both designing and implementing work addressing many of the global challenges. The pages at describe our research organisation, cluster themes, staff and a range of active projects.

Working at Durham

A competitive salary is only one part of the many fantastic benefits you will receive if you join the University, you will also receive access to the following fantastic benefits:

  • 27 Days annual leave per year in addition to 8 public holidays and 4 customary days per year – a total of 39 days per year.  The University closes between Christmas and New Year.
  • No matter how you travel to work, we have you covered.  We have parking across campus, a cycle to work scheme which helps you to buy a bike and discount with local bus and train companies.
  • Lots of support for health and wellbeing including discounted membership for our state-of-the-art sport and gym facilities and access to a 24-7 Employee Assistance Programme.
  • On site nursery is available and children’s clubs in the summer holidays.
  • Family friendly policies, including maternity and adoption leave, which are among the most generous in the higher education sector (and likely above and beyond many employers).
  • There is a genuine commitment to developing our colleagues professionally and personally.  There is a comprehensive range of development courses, apprenticeships and access to qualifications and routes to develop your career in the University.  All staff have dedicated annual time to concentrate on their personal development opportunities.
  • The opportunity to take part in staff volunteering activities to make a difference in the local community.
  • Discounts are available via our benefits portal including money off at supermarkets, high street retailers, IT products such as Apple, the cinema and days out at various attractions.
  • We offer generous pension schemes.

Durham University is committed to equality diversity, inclusion and values

Our collective aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential and we believe our staff should reflect the diversity of the global community in which we work.

As a University equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are a key part of the University’s Strategy and a central part of everything we do.  We also live by our values  and our Staff Code of Conduct.   At Durham we actively work towards providing an environment where our staff and students can study, work and live in a community which is supportive and inclusive.  It’s important to us that all of our colleagues are aligned to both our values and commitment to EDI.

We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in our work force including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  If you have taken time out of your career, and you feel it relevant, let us know about it in your application.  If you are a candidate with a disability, we are committed to ensuring fair treatment throughout the recruitment process.  We will make adjustments to support the interview process wherever it is reasonable to do so and, where successful, reasonable adjustments will be made to support people within their role.

The Role

Applications are invited for a part-time Postdoctoral Research Associate to join the research project Everyday Practices of Trans-individuality: viral ecologies of isolation and exposure during the Covid-19 pandemic (EPTI). The project, led by Dr Sage Brice, examines everyday practices of gender under the pandemic conditions of Covid-19 and asks how they might reflect bigger social questions about the nature of identity and subjectivity. The research uses creative and collaborative methods, working online with a small group of trans and nonbinary people to develop a graphic narrative output.

As the project involves working in a trans-focused ‘safer space’, the applicant should have experience of working with trans and nonbinary people in a relevant context (professional or voluntary). We welcome candidates from any disciplinary background with expertise in any one, or multiple, of the following research areas: queer, trans, and/or gender studies; environmental studies; participatory research; creative research methods. Those with interdisciplinary backgrounds, unconventional professional pathways, and experience of transdisciplinary collaboration will be particularly well suited to the post.

The successful applicant will be expected to  work closely with the PI to support core aims and objectives of the EPTI project. Their work time will be divided equally between developing their own related research and assisting in the delivery of the following project objectives: co-hosting and facilitating creative workshops and ongoing consultation with trans and nonbinary research participants; co-ordinating and editing a journal special issue; convening a mini conference on the theme of Trans Ecologies, and contributing to the overall research profile of the EPTI project.


  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.   
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect. To co-facilitate creative participatory workshops and maintain ongoing correspondence and consultation with trans and nonbinary participants in a respectful and supportive manner. To participate in evaluation, organisation, and correspondence related to curation of a journal special issue and a mini conference Any other duties commensurate with the grade of the post, as required.

This post is fixed term for a period of 23 months at up to 0.5 FTE and must be completed by 21 February 2025. The funding is available from 01/12/22 for this fixed period only.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 1st February 2023

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Sage Brice by e-mail at .  All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. . As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University .

What to Submit  

All applicants are asked to submit: 

  • A CV
  • Covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.
  • Completion of the questionnaire

Next Steps  

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment. The assessment for the post will include the candidate being asked to give a short presentation on their previous research followed by a panel interview.

The Requirements 



  • A good first degree in Human Geography
  • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Human Geography or a related subject, or equivalent research experience.


  • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
  • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
  • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at national  or international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
  • Experience of working with trans and nonbinary people in an academic, community, and/or activist capacity (this includes voluntary or informal experience).
  • Demonstrable understanding of the social and political factors relevant to trans and nonbinary people in their everyday lives.
  • Specialist knowledge in at least one of the following areas: queer, trans, and/or gender studies, environmental studies, participatory research, and/or creative research methods.
  • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
  • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Demonstrable ability to host inclusive spaces for groups or individuals with experience of intersecting marginalisations
  • Desirable:


  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
  • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
  • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.
  • Experience of organising and convening conferences, symposia or seminars.
  • Experience of developing an independent creative practice and/or of working with creative research methods
  • Experience of curating or producing exhibitions or publications in a creative industry
  • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage independent research. 
  • Competence with graphic editing software including Adobe Photoshop and InDesign

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