PhD or Postdoctoral Position on Epidemic models at the Climate and Health Group (Climate and Health Group, TipESM EU project)

The Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) is a cutting-edge institute addressing global public health challenges through research, translation into policy and education. ISGlobal has a broad portfolio in communicable and non-communicable diseases including environmental and climate determinants, and applies a multidisciplinary scientific approach ranging from the molecular to the population level. Research is organized in five programs: Climate, Air Pollution, Nature and Urban Health; Environment and Health over the Lifecourse; Global Viral and Bacterial Infections; Malaria and Neglected Parasitic Diseases and Maternal Child and Reproductive Health. ISGlobal is accredited with the Severo Ochoa distinction, a seal of excellence of the Spanish Science Ministry.

TipESM is funded by the European Union, Horizon Europe Funding Programme for research and innovation under GA Nr. 101137673.


What We Are Looking for
The Climate and Health Group (led by ICREA Professor Xavier Rodó) invites applications for a postdoctoral position (exceptional PhD candidates may also be considered) in the area of mathematical modelling of zoonotic spillovers and the epidemiological dynamics of communicable diseases. The position is full-time available immediately and for a fixed-term period of 24 months with the possibility of extensions pending on successful evaluations.
We are seeking a highly motivated individual with a degree (PhD) in mathematics, physics, engineering, computer science, meteorology or theoretical ecology. A broad interest in natural sciences and more specifically in ecology is essential. We are looking for candidates motivated by science with the ability to run simulations and eventually help develop code and to integrate scientific knowledge into numerical schemes.

This position is funded by TipESM, a project funded by the European Union. TipESM is funded by the European Union, Horizon Europe Funding Programme for research and innovation under GA Nr. 101137673.

About the postdoctoral position
Zoonotic spillovers where pathogens jump across species are responsible for major human pandemics, such as the recent SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible of COVID-19 or the influenza A(H1N1) virus responsible for the 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic. Understanding the factors responsible for these cross-species transmissions is a current topic of intense research. Recently, it has been demonstrated how the increased human pressure on otherwise pristine tropical rainforest ecosystems through deforestation, increase urbanisation in forested areas and the rising pressure of climate change is making those potential human-animal encounters more likely, long-lasting and frequent. The overall work we are conducting within the EU-funded TipESM project is seeking to undertand how collapses in the main Earth's - biodiversity hotspots due to global warming may influence those events.
Similarly, recent studies published point to a contraction of malaria-prone regions in Africa due to the future rising in continental temperatures beyond the optimal conditions for vector liveability. The studies to be conducted aim to either challenge those results or eventually confirm.
This recruitment targets the following specific directions:
- Develop mathematical models describing disease dynamics and the impact of interventions using deterministic models, stochastic compartmental models, and individual-based models.
- Use simulations from an ecosystem model of the Amazon to feed mathematical disease models or ecological niche models.
- Develop new projections for malaria changes in Africa under different global warming scenarios.
- Review and validate different approaches and existing models.
- Publish research findings in scientific journals and present them at major medical/scientific meetings.

Candidates will be expected to lead modeling and data analysis projects and contribute to articles and proposal writing. Main task will involve among others, the development of theoretical models of pathogen's spillover between animals and humans, the handling and integration into those simulations of climate change projections from Earth System Models simulating ecosystem's collapse. The development of a computational platform for simulation of future scenarios for malaria in Africa will also be the other important task. Prior research experiences and strong interest in infectious diseases modeling, stochastic computational modeling, and experience with ecological niche modeling are required for this position. Additional desirable skills and experience include one or more of the following: animal disease epidemiology, model fitting/calibration to empirical data, and/or advanced statistical analyses. Candidates will need to work independently and as effective members of multidisciplinary collaborative teams.

This job description reflects the present requirements of the post but may evolve at any time in the future as duties and responsibilities change and/or develop providing there is appropriate consultation with the post-holder.

This job description is not a definitive or exhaustive list of responsibilities but identifies the key responsibilities and tasks of the post holder. The specific objectives of the post holder will be subject to review as part of the individual professional asessment process .

A Ph.D. degree in a quantitatively-oriented field, such as mathematical epidemiology, theoretical physics, or applied mathematics from a reputable and ranked western institution.
Robust research experience in mathematical modelling and building different kinds of models.
Experience in analytical and quantitative methods, such as deterministic and stochastic differential equations, integral equations, nonlinear dynamics, probability theory, and stochastic processes.
Extensive experience in scientific computing involving programming, numerical analysis, symbolic and logical analysis, Monte Carlo simulations, and computer graphics.
Experience in Matlab, Mathematica, Python and R
Experience with statistical data analysis of large databases.

In general, the candidate we are seeking is expected to have the following skills and qualifications:

Basic knowledge in climatology and ecology
Very good programming skills (e.g., Python, R, Matlab, C/C++, Fortran in the Linux environment) and experience in big data analytics are required.
Cutting-edge expertise in modeling and statistical analyses;
Proven abilities to publish at a high international level;
Good oral and written communication skills in spoken and written English;
Rigor, autonomy and abilities to work in a team environment.
The post holder will adhere to ISGlobal principles contained in People management policy, including Equity, diversity and health safety. The post holder will respect, and accountable to ensure ISGlobal policies and procedures .

Proficient in English, at least C1 level
Duration: 2 years
Starting date: March 1, 2024
Contract: Full-time
Salary Range: Salary is commensurate with spanish standards and offered at the ISGlobal Postdoctoral level A or B depending on the qualifications. You will have up to 30 days of annual leave + 15 days « Reduction of Working Time». You can benefit of Hybrid System of telecommuting (weekly presence requested).

Applicants must fill in the request form and include the following code reference position: Epidemiologist_TipESM_Mar24, attach the CV and a Cover Letter. Each attached document must be named with the candidate name and surname.
The application should include:
+A personal letter (max 3 pages) where the applicant describes her/himself in relation to the above-described requirements, a motivation to why the applicant is interested in the position and a short description of the candidate’s research interests.
+CV with academic qualifications and publication list.
+Copy of doctoral degree certificate and other relevant degree certificates.
+Contact information to three reference persons.
+Other relevant documents.

The receipt of applications will be open until the position is filled.

Only the applications submitted through the request form will be considered.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

The interviews could be placed during the reception candidatures period.
Diverse candidatures are encouraged, that includes: gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, physical abilities, and political views.