Job Opportunity: New CPR Survey Project Team - iCPR (4 Positions)

New CPR Survey Project Team – iCPR (4 Positions)

1 x Senior Research Scientist

2 x Post-Doctoral Research Assistants (PDRAs)

1 x Research Assistant (RA)

Following significant international investment, the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey has a unique opportunity to build a fully funded research team as part of a major 3-year project to further the instrumentation program of the CPR (iCPR). The Marine Biological Association (MBA) plan to expand the use of modern sensing technology and introduce Artificial Intelligence (AI) across an existing global-ocean plankton observation network (running unchanged since 1958 and significantly, has just passed the 7-million nautical miles of data milestone). We will apply machine-learning techniques (AI) on digital imaging technology, environmental sensors and biological records. This will allow us to quickly identify and quantify plankton taxa, better understand their spatio- temporal distribution and predict potential changes in plankton communities to help us forecast the health of the ocean. As part of this project, we are inviting applications for four new positions, including a Senior Research Scientist role (Hardy Fellow) to lead the group, 2 x Post-Doctoral Research Assistants, and a Research Assistant.

Job roles:         

1 x Senior Research Scientist (open-ended) Numerical Ecology and/or Instrumentation £41,526 – 49,553;

2 x PDRA Positions in Numerical Ecology/Machine Learning/Plankton Ecology/Instrumentation (Fixed-Term 36 months) £27,511 – £33,979

1 x RA Position in Data Management (Fixed-Term 36 months) £20,675 - £26,715

Job purpose:  

Initially, the purpose will be to deliver the objectives of the iCPR project with a focus on use of innovative optical tools for long-term time-series data capture and analysis. In addition, the new positions will further develop the science program of the CPR survey, as well as the long-term data holdings of the MBA. These include the plankton, fish and benthos surveys in the western English Channel that date back to 1911.


The MBA is a cutting-edge independent marine research institute, supporting the careers of many Research Fellows over the past 135 years, including twelve Nobel Prize winners (see here). As one of the world’s longest running learned societies (founded in 1884), the MBA’s Mission is to understand the causes and consequences of environmental change in the ocean through discovery and dissemination. In 2018, the MBA merged with the internationally renowned Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey, formerly operated by the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS). As a large-scale global survey, it provides the scientific and policy communities with a basin-wide and long-term measure of the ecological health of marine plankton. Established in 1931, the CPR Survey is the longest running and geographically extensive marine ecological survey in the world. iCPR is an ambitious project to innovate and expand the scientific capacity of the CPR survey.

Salary and benefits

  • Salary will be based on experience and higher scales will be considered for exceptional senior candidates
  • The MBA will contribute 10% of your basic salary into a defined benefits pension scheme. You are required to make a 3% minimum contribution. You can contribute over the 3% minimum and the MBA will match up to a maximum of 5%
  • Annual Leave allowance is 30 days plus bank holidays/privilege days

Skills and expertise:

We are particularly keen to hear from scientists with exceptional numerical and analytical skills; expertise in marine instrumentation (particularly optical tools), Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning would be a bonus.

Full details of skills and expertise for each position, including job descriptions, can be found on our website.

All four positions will be based at the Marine Biological Association of the UK in Plymouth, but will be expected to travel to meetings, workshops and field locations as required. With the current COVID-19 Pandemic, you may be required to work from home. Starting date January 2021 (or soon after).

For further information, or an informal chat about the iCPR project, please contact Professor Willie Wilson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Equal Opportunities

  • We are committed to equality of opportunity for all staff and applications from individuals are encouraged regardless of age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and marriage and civil partnerships

How to Apply:

To apply, please send a covering letter and CV with details of two referees to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., one of which must be your current employer.

The covering letter should:

  • State which position you are applying for
  • outline your previous and most relevant experience
  • explain why you are right for the role
  • Confirm you are available during interview dates

Closing date:                               

1600h on Tuesday 24th November 2020

Interviews will take place between: 9th - 11th December 2020

Applicants must be eligible to live and work in the UK

By Marine Biological Association

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