Research Fellow, Geological Sciences
University of Edinburgh

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Linda K

00:02 My name is Linda K I’m a natural environmental research fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

00:07 Basically I do research in geological sciences focussing on research in Taiwan, looking like how a mountain was built and what the sediments that are preserved in the geological can tell us about that process.

00:19 My dad worked for the telecommunications sector in Ireland and my mum was a stay at home mum cos I have 4 siblings, I have 3 sisters and a brother and they were keen that we all went to University that was all they sort of insisted upon and thereafter it was up to us pretty much. In fact my dad wanted me to go into computing at one point so there you go it didn’t happen.

00:46 So I went to an all girls school in Cork run by some nuns. I graduated from school having done 7 subjects because I did the Irish system and in that 7 subjects I had done biology and physics as well as maths and when I began choosing University courses I kind of decided that science would probably be the better option for me to start with cos I wasn’t 100% convinced I’d be the best medical student ever.

01:11 At the time it was very obvious that I would go to the local University in Cork so University College Cork it’s part of the National University of Ireland system. So I did a 4 year degree in Ireland and after the years went on you basically had to chose what you were going to specialise in and by possibly a process of elimination in terms of subject where geology just stuck out as the thing that I would do.

01:34 Well in my final year I had a really great lecturer and she was convinced that I should do post-graduate research. I applied both the Trinity College Dublin and the Open University in Milton Keynes partly on the basis of the projects they had on offer. I wanted to do something that would allow me to travel and basically those two Universities at the time had some really good projects that I was interested in doing.

01:59 So as I was writing up I went to a conference and I met a woman from Leeds and she had just got funding from the European Union for a big project that involved 10 different Universities across Europe, all investigating a time period about 300 million years ago, so quite similar to what I’d done for my PHD, different location, different set of conditions and there was a project available in the Free University in Amsterdam, which she suggested I should perhaps apply to and I did it.

02:29 Research is one of those things it’s got its really high moments where you’re succeeding and you’re feeling like your answering fundamental questions and everything’s coming together and then it’s got its really low points where everything you thought you understood or in terms of a project anyway has to be thrown out the window based on your latest batch results.

02:47 From Amsterdam I got the funding to be a research fellow at Edinburgh from the Marie Curie Science Foundation, which is part again funded by the European Union and when I came to Edinburgh it was based on the project that I had written, it was based on the idea that I had that I would like to use a set of techniques to look at rocks in northern India in Ladakh, the Ladakh province so it was just outside the Himalayas and since then I’ve had funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and now from the Natural Environmental Research Council. Looking essentially at what we call active plate margins so places that seduction has happened in the past and that mountain building has been a recent phenomenon.

03:27 I like being outside, I like doing my field research, I like a job where I’m not just sitting at a computer I can actually use the computer but I can also go into the lab and collect some isotopic data or some geochemical data and I can also go out in the field and actually choose which rocks I’m gonna look at.

03:45 We’re probably worst paid then most people would imagine but I wouldn’t say it should be a negative for not taking up the career I think there’s lots of benefits in the flexibility that we get. So and lots of people take geology and go into industry and can make lots of money.

Linda K is a natural environmental Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, “Basically I do research in geological sciences focussing on research in Taiwan, looking like how a mountain was built and what the sediments that are preserved in the geological formations can tell us about that process”. She has carried out research in many different places around the world, following her passion for geology.

More information about Conservation and environmental associate professionals

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£24,440
average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

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36
average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

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18%  female 
82%  male 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future Employment

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Description
? Conservation and environmental associate professionals are responsible for the day-to-day running and management of areas of the countryside and the wider environment in a way that reconciles the interests of conservation, land owners and the public. They carry out practical conservation activities and assist in promoting awareness of the natural environment.
Qualifications
Entrants typically possess a relevant BTEC/SQA award or similar qualification and have prior related experience, often as a volunteer. Apprenticeships and NVQs/SVQs in relevant subjects at Levels 2 and 3 are available.
Tasks
  • Assists with ecological surveys to identify plant and animal species, map their habitat and draw up conservation plans;
  • Implements schemes for the management and protection of natural habitats;
  • Assists with environmental audits and impact assessments;
  • Organises and supervises conservation projects and the work of part-time and voluntary staff;
  • Provides information and education to the public through setting up displays, writing leaflets and making presentations;
  • Organises guided walks and answers questions from the public about an area and its wildlife;
  • Works with the emergency services in instances of fire, flood, injury or mountain rescue.
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