Opportunity for early-career postdoctoral students passionate about tackling climate change

11 May 2023

Opportunity for early-career postdoctoral students: Cambridge Zero Darwin College David MacKay Research Associates
Are you an early-career postdoctoral student at the University of Cambridge working on a topic related to climate change and interested in the intersection of climate and policy? Consider applying for the 3rd cohort of David MacKay Research Associates!
Apply now!

The deadline for applications is 12 pm on Wednesday 7 June, 2023.

Interviews will be held on Thursday 15 June between 13.00 and 16.00.

Darwin College and Cambridge Zero intend to appoint up to three non-stipendiary College Research Associates from July 2023. These positions are tenable for one year. The purpose of these non-stipendiary Research Associates is to provide the opportunity for early career postdoctoral students at the University of Cambridge the opportunity to engage with, and benefit from, the Cambridge Zero Policy Forum. The Cambridge Zero Policy Forum is a multidisciplinary community of academics contributing evidence and expertise to public policies for the transition to a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient net zero society. The Forum is Co-Chaired by Dr Emily Shuckburgh (Director, Cambridge Zero) Dr Rob Doubleday (Executive Director, Centre for Science and Policy) and Emily Farnworth (Director, Centre for Climate Engagement at Hughes Hall). For some examples of the work the current cohort of MacKay RAs have done, click here to learn about Alex Bradley’s event on attribution sciences and lawsuits, here to learn about Monika Kreitmair’s event on passive cooling, and here to learn about Si Chen’s event on ocean-based carbon dioxide removal. For further details, see below. To apply click here.


Candidates must be postdoctoral researchers working on a topic related to Cambridge Zero’s research agenda (see below) and may be graduates of any university. They will normally hold a funded position requiring them to conduct research in the University of Cambridge or in a directly associated research institution and the appointment will be co-terminus with that position.

Please submit:

• A curriculum vitae.

• A 500-word description of a topic you believe could be usefully addressed by the Policy Forum (see the Policy Forum website for details of some of the topics that the Forum have considered to date: https://www.csap.cam.ac.uk/Research-Policy-Engagement/cambridgezero/).

• A short statement providing the reasons for desiring a College association and the ways in which the applicant will contribute to College life.

• 2 references will also be required by 8 June 2023 from senior members of the University of Cambridge or other academic institutions.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted here

Research themes

Zero-carbon energy transformation • Health and society • Resources and production • Resilient futures • Transport, cities and infrastructure • Carbon drawdown and climate repair

Role and responsibilities

1. Plan and run a public event as part of the Cambridge Zero Climate Festival (Friday 13 to Sunday 15 October 2023) and prepare a blog piece about the event.

2. Work with the other MacKay Research Associates in their cohort to deliver a project / event with the Sustainability Engagement Coordinator at Darwin College.

3. Present their research to the Darwin College Community.


• Seven meals a week at Darwin College • Use of College sporting / social facilities • Membership of the Darwin College Students Association • Membership of the Cambridge Zero Policy Forum • Monthly in-person seminars with policy stakeholders • Networking opportunities with policy makers

Hear from the current cohort of David MacKay Research Associates

Dr Alex Bradley is an ICE/Ocean Modeller at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). His research focusses on how the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves interact with the oceans around them and the societal consequences of this, particularly with regards to sea level rise. Click here to learn about Alex’s event on attribution science and lawsuits.

Dr Si Chen is a Research Associate at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. His work focuses on developing a mathematical model for the interaction between kelp and its physical and biogeochemical environment. The project aims to quantify the potential for carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and sequestration through ocean reforestation. Click here to learn about Si’s event on ocean-based carbon dioxide removal.

Dr Monika Kreitmair is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Department of Engineering. Her research explores the impact of underground infrastructure on the thermal climate of the subsurface and further ramifications on the potential of geothermal energy structures for provision of heating and cooling in cities. Click here to learn about Monika’s event on passive cooling.