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Laudes Research Assistant / Research Associate / Senior Research Associate in timber construction, policy, and climate change x 2 (Fixed Term)

Fixed term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

Our Growing the Future research project, in the Centre for Natural Material Innovation in the Department of Architecture, seeks two Laudes Post-Doctoral Research Associates expert in forestry, timber design, construction, and supply chains, and/or life cycle assessment and climate change policy. The successful candidates will conduct research on the integration of design and manufacturing processes across the supply chain from forest to building to reuse, seeking to inform and influence policymakers and industry. Our intention is to increase the uptake of timber buildings, with benefits to the natural and built environments, and the communities engaged throughout the journey of a tree from seed to structure. With COP 26 scheduled in Glasgow in November 2021, we have an unparalleled opportunity to combine UK climate leadership with the research, partners and networks of the Centre for Natural Material Innovation at Cambridge University to catalyse industry to act decisively on embodied carbon.

This project links forest management, timber economies, construction and better buildings to sequester and reduce carbon emissions in the construction industry through stronger policies and catalysing the supply chain. We seek Research Associates with independent laboratory, and research experience, with an interest in engineered timber construction, off-site manufacturing, and the opportunity to transform construction and related polices.

Getting to net-zero in the construction industry requires much more use of timber. While many elements of the research toward this are underway, there is a lot to be done to gain government, industry and insurers' backing. In this project we aim to take a dual approach to advance the use of timber in construction: clarifying and optimising the supply chain, to reduce barriers and driving policy decisions that support construction that will get us toward net-zero. The focus on the supply chain will bring the academic research and industry together, while the focus on COP 26 and COP 27 and policy drivers will link the academic research with political and regulatory action. We will bring all these relevant actors together to form an active and engaged international/pan-European network and the basis of regional manufacturing hubs both in the UK and in appropriate locations across the world.

One of the postdoctoral researchers will focus on the policy work on the quantification of embodied carbon in building materials and on the operational framework of the UNFCCC and its endorsement of ETS and CCUS. The other will focus on the supply chain and efficiencies across the sector, and integration into policy frameworks. They will collaborate with each other, and would join the active community of scholars in the Centre working on related projects developing timber schools, housing, and manufacturing. One candidate would be expected to have some knowledge of UNFCC negotiating framework and the role of the main ETS schemes (including for the EU and California) to be able to advocate for change.

Applicants should have a PhD in architecture, civil, structural or materials engineering, forestry, climate policy, or similarly appropriate background. In addition, candidates with working knowledge of the work of the relevant UN institutions, the UNFCCC and ETS would be preferred. Candidates should also have experience of architectural or structural design and associated analytical and computational methods. Additional skills include previous research experience (or equivalent practical experience), efficiency and productivity. Candidates with an MSc and working towards a PhD will also be considered, but for a position on the Research Assistant scale. Candidates should have an ability and interest to work in a multidisciplinary team across many length scales and domains.

Applications should include: a curriculum vitae; a research portfolio; a cover letter outlining how you would be able to contribute to the project in light of your research interests; Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a covering letter in the "Upload" section of the online application. Your covering letter will form an integral part of selecting candidates for interview. It should convey in one or two pages your interest in the project and should show how your experience to date has prepared you to take on the role. Your research portfolio (max 20 MB) should graphically show research projects you have been involved in that are relevant to this project. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application. 

If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact Mrs. Mutsuko Grant,

Please quote reference GC25400 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

For more information and to apply visit: