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Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity Recruitment


Why we are recruiting

Profile photo of Director of Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity

The Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity (LCAB) aspires to stimulate a profound shift in environmental thinking, recasting ‘biodiversity loss’ and ‘ecosystem degradation’ perspectives into a more complex, realistic, and nuanced picture of Anthropocene change.

Our interdisciplinary approach to understanding, interpreting and responding to the challenges of the Anthropocene will help identify opportunities to increase the future sustainability of our planet, steering us towards what might be regarded as a good Anthropocene.

A Postdoctoral Research Associate position is now available:

  • Ecosystem carbon and biodiversity governance: Considering how policies, goals and targets for biodiversity and ecosystem carbon gains are influenced by public, political and scientific debate and by governance structures and processes, and the extent to which policies converge or conflict.
  • Professor Chris Thomas,
    Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity

Our research areas

The Centre's core research is developing an improved understanding of biodiversity gains; how humans are causing, responding to, and sometimes benefitting from those gains, and how human responses in turn affect subsequent biodiversity change.

We use a combination of methods from multiple disciplines within the Centre’s four Research Programmes to address the following key issues:

  • Biodiversification: Understanding how human impacts and biological processes underpin changes to biodiversity and ecosystems. Tackling radical questions about the growth of biological diversity and rates at which new species are coming into existence.
  • Philias and phobias: Identifying the causes and consequences of varied human attitudes to the growth and loss of biodiversity. Considering personal, historical and cultural circumstances and points of view which influence societal responses to these changes.
  • Utility: Establishing both the benefits and harms we experience from human-altered biodiversity and novel ecosystems. Evaluating the socioeconomic, political, geographical, historical and cultural circumstances under which these changes exist.
  • Moulding the future: Integrating knowledge to foster further positive gains in biodiversity, without compromising human wellbeing or risking 'past' biodiversity. Furthering understanding of how we can foster beneficial increases rather than just attempting to halt the losses.

Why we work here

We value the participation of every member of our community and want to ensure that LCAB is an enjoyable place to work. LCAB provides a friendly, supportive, collaborative working environment and advocates flexible working to encourage a healthy work/life balance. We welcome applications from people of any and all backgrounds, and are very happy to discuss and accommodate any individual needs.

A brand new work space designed in collaboration with LCAB provides an area which caters for individual and collaborative research as well as social space for relaxed and informal get togethers.

Meet our existing Postdoctoral Research Associates

Dr Sarah Bezan - My research demonstrates how contemporary creative representations of species loss and revival are radically reshaping cultural imaginaries of the Anthropocene. I examine how authors and artists are playing a key role in illuminating the cultural values that fuel species revivalist fantasies aroused by the prospect of de-extinction science.

Dr Tadhg Carroll - My research focuses primarily on investigating biodiversity change in Anthropocene environments, with the aim of understanding why some places are gaining species, higher taxa and ecosystem types, while other places are losing them.

Dr Brennen Fagan - My interests lie in the applications of simulations, dynamical systems and data analysis. My current work looks at the robustness of food webs, translocations, and interactions between food webs. The ultimate goal is to understand the sensitivity of food webs to translocations so that artificial food webs can be engineered safely and reliably.

Dr Jack Hatfield - My research background is in community and landscape ecology, investigating how species communities are altered by land-use change. I am also interested in functional ecology from species traits and functional diversity to ecosystem functions.

Dr Tabitha Kabora - My research interests include using agent-based models to explore the socio-environmental factors that influenced the development and resilience of historical agricultural systems in East Africa as well as models to understand landscape changes and responses to Holocene sea level rise in the North Sea.

Dr Harrie Neal - I work on attitudes towards non-native species in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain and Ireland. Over 5000 novel species were introduced to Britain between 1750 and 1850, and I look at how some species came to be naturalized and others viewed as invasive, alien, diseased, and corrupting.

Dr Michael Stratigos - In addition to studying the uniquely preserved traces of human settlement in wetlands, I am particularly interested in characterising and quantifying land-use changes that have drained vast areas of wetland environments and how this has impacted the archaeological record of these areas.

Dr Caroline Ward - I am an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist, interested in understanding the relationships between improving human well-being and achieving conservation goals. My current research at LCAB focuses on exploring the links between inequalities and the environment.

Dr Anna Woodhead - I’m an environmental social scientist interested in human-environment relationships and how these respond to change. My main area of work at the moment is looking at how ecosystem services are co-produced within social-ecological systems and the implications of environmental change for these different processes.

The University of York

Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity

LCAB researches the changing relationship between humanity and the natural world, and how we might maintain and develop a sustainable Earth. The Centre represents an interdisciplinary collaboration between multiple departments at the University of York, the University of Sherbrooke, the Australian National University and the University of St Andrews. LCAB recognises biological gains as well as losses, and identifies the circumstances under which changes are perceived as positive or negative. It aims to understand and inform society’s response to these changes.

LCAB and the University are committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community - a place where we can all be ourselves and succeed on merit. We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, staff engagement forums, campus facilities and services to support staff from different backgrounds.

The University

Founded on principles of excellence, equality and opportunity for all, the University of York opened in 1963 with just 230 students. In 2019 it is the centre for over 18,000 students across more than 30 academic departments and research centres. In over 50 years we have become one of the world's leading universities and a member of the prestigious Russell Group.

The University has consistently been recognised as one of the leading Higher Education Institutes and is one of just six post-war universities which has appeared in the world top 100. The University of York has won six Times Higher Education (THE) Awards and five Queen's Anniversary Prizes, including two in Computer Science.

We are proud of our association with Athena SWAN, holding twelve awards in support of women in science, with gold awards for Chemistry and Biology as well as a University-wide bronze award.

Of 154 universities that took part in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014, the University of York ranked 14th overall and 10th on the impact of our research. The University is consistently in the top ten UK research universities and attracts over £60m a year of funding from research alone.

Centred around the picturesque village of Heslington on the edge of the city of York, our colleges are set in an attractive landscaped campus. With a compact and easy to get around design, York enjoys a safe, friendly atmosphere. The campus offers a wealth of facilities, which includes bars, shops, theatres and concert halls all within easy walking distance.

Find out more about the University of York

How to apply

The job specification and application procedure are provided below. Candidates will be asked to submit a:

  • CV
  • Covering letter outlining your interest in a given role(s), and how you meet the job specifications
  • 1 page outline of how you might tackle the research challenge. This is not a formal or detailed proposal (which will be discussed with mentors after appointment) but the overall strategic and/or methodological direction you would like to take

We welcome applicants from any relevant disciplinary background. Read our FAQs.

Key dates

  • Application deadline: Monday 6 September 2021
  • Anticipated interview dates: W/C 27 September 2021
  • Start date: Start dates for all roles are flexible but ideally will be in November 2021, and by end of January 2022 at the latest.

Currently recruiting

The post-holder will develop and conduct both independent and collaborative LCAB research. In addition to being a member of LCAB, they will also be a member of a University department appropriate to their research.

PDRA in Ecosystem carbon and biodiversity governance

You will consider how policies, goals and targets for biodiversity and ecosystem carbon gains are established and implemented, whose voices are heard, how indicators of success are developed and reported, and assess the extent to which positive indicator trends do or do not meet the underlying aspirations that originally motivated the policy. You will have knowledge about environmental governance, policy implementation and policy indicators, ideally in relation to the conservation of biodiversity and/or sequestration of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems. You will have qualitative and/or quantitative skills that enable you to identify potential policy conflicts and complementarities in the conservation of carbon and biodiversity at different spatial scales.

The successful candidate will also develop links with members of CASCADE and will be encouraged to identify a mentor within the network.

General enquiries to: Prof. Lindsay Stringer or Prof. Chris Thomas


York and moving to the UK

The City of York

Internationally acclaimed for its rich heritage and historic architecture, York's bustling streets are filled with visitors from all over the world. Within its medieval walls you will find the iconic gothic Minster, Clifford's Tower and the Shambles - just a few of the many attractions.

But York isn't just a great place to visit - it's also a great place to live and work. While nourishing a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere, York still maintains the friendly sense of community unique to a small city.

Shopping, culture and entertainment

York boasts specialist and unique boutiques but also all the high street stores on its busy shopping streets. Alongside them you will find cinemas, theatres, an opera house, art galleries, a vast range of restaurants, live music venues and clubs. York is particularly renowned for its multitude of pubs and bars, from the modern to the medieval.


The Lonely Planet guide recently declared Yorkshire the third best region in the world to visit. There is something to cater to every taste, whether it be the rugged landscapes of the Moors or the Dales, the picturesque seaside towns of Scarborough and Robin Hoods Bay, the gothic architecture of Whitby or the vibrancy of cosmopolitan Leeds.

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