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 Post Doctoral Research Associate

Postdoctoral Research Associate Position:  Forest Carbon Futures in New England  

Open as of February 1, 2021 and will continue until an excellent candidate is found 

The Harvard Forest invites applications for a postdoctoral research fellow focused on analysis of forest carbon in New England. The successful candidate will be a member of Jonathan Thompson’s Landscape Ecology Lab and be part of the Harvest Forest Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program. The candidate will work with our existing landscape modeling framework and several large datasets to examine long-term, broad-scale impacts of land use, climate change, invasive insects, and their interactions. Experience with forest models, ecosystem models, carbon accounting, climate mitigation policy, and/or spatial data is required. The candidate should be interested in quantifying opportunities and risks associated with the use of forests in climate change mitigation. The research will build on previous work done in the Thompson Lab, especially the Massachusetts Decarbonization Land Sector Report. While there are some sideboards on the research topics, there is also substantial flexibility regarding the exact specification of questions and methods. 

Work Environment: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the position will initially be remote. The candidate will interact with the lab via Zoom, including participating in our morning (Eastern time) lab meetings three times per week. In time, depending on the course of the pandemic, it would be preferable to be based at Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts; though, this is negotiable. The Lab strives to foster a team environment, but the actual research conducted in this position will require substantial independence. Please learn more about our Lab here. 

Required Qualifications: Ph.D. (awarded by start date) in ecology, forestry or a related field; Evidence of strong scholarship, including first-authored peer-reviewed publications; Experience with forest carbon accounting; Proven ability to plan and conduct research projects from beginning to end; Interest in translating and communicating research for land-use policy. 

Preferred Experience: Conducting complex spatial analyses (e.g., GIS, remote sensing, spatial statistics); experience using landscape and/or earth system models (LANDIS-II, CLM); analysis of large datasets (e.g., FIA, PADUS, Census, NWOS); skilled at scripting within the R and/or Python programming languages.  

Appointment: We will begin reviewing applications immediately. There is some flexibility around the start date, but sooner is preferable. Initial appointment of one year is renewable based on performance and funding. 

Diversity and Inclusion: Harvard University is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law. Harvard is committed to enriching its educational experience and its culture through the diversity of its faculty, administration, and staff. Harvard Forest strives to be a welcoming and inclusive community and we encourage all qualified applicants to apply. Please see the Harvard Forest Diversity and Inclusion Statement. 

Salary and benefits: Salary commensurate with experience. Outreach/career development opportunities will include funding for local and national meetings.   

While Massachusetts is in a COVID state of emergency, the Postdoctoral Fellow is eligible for benefits, including health insurance, through Harvard University regardless of which US state they reside. Once the MA state of emergency is lifted, Postdocs located outside of Massachusetts and California would lose Harvard benefits, but might be eligible for benefits through the third-party contractor we use to hire out of state employees. 

Land Acknowledgement: We recognize that the Harvard Forest occupies unceded land inhabited and stewarded for generations by the Nipmuc Nation. We further acknowledge the dozens of Indigenous peoples who have lived in New England, a primary region of our research, for millennia. We honor their histories and ongoing struggles against colonization, genocide, and forced removal with humility and respect. 

To apply: Send cover letter, CV, PDFs of relevant publications, and contact info for three references to with email subject: “Thompson Lab Postdoc Application”.  Reference letters will be required for the finalist. 

Harvard Forest, a department of Harvard University, is an internationally recognized center for basic and applied research in ecology and conservation, with 40 full-time staff. It is one of 28 Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites across the country sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The Forest includes a research and administrative complex, 4000 acres of land, and residential buildings. The Forest is located in Petersham, a rural, north-central Massachusetts town of 1,200 residents. Petersham is 1 ½ hour drive west of Cambridge.