You are here


Printer-friendly version

Postdoctoral Research Associate Position:   Land use and land protection in New England

Open as of September 5, 2018 and will continue until an excellent candidate is found

The Harvard Forest invites applications for a post-doctoral research position to contribute to a multi-institutional study of land-use and land protection in New England. The successful candidate will be a member of Jonathan Thompson’s Landscape Ecology Lab at the Harvest Forest and will work in close collaboration with Spencer Meyer a Senior Conservationist at the Highstead Foundation and Kate Sims an Associate Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Amherst College.  We are seeking a natural or social scientist with experience conducting regional-scale socio-ecological research. The candidate should be interested in using rigorous statistical techniques to analyze observational data toward the overarching goal of understanding how land use—including conservation, forestry, land conversion and agriculture—affect the coupled natural and human systems in New England.  The analyses will utilize a variety of existing databases that document the changing landscape condition, including several that have been developed at Harvard Forest and Highstead.   

Work Environment: The post-doc will be based at Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts. The Lab strives to foster a team environment but the actual research conducted by this post-doc will require substantial independence.  Please learn more about our Lab here.

Required Qualifications: Ph.D. (awarded by start date) in ecology, economics, geography or a related field. Evidence of strong scholarship, including peer-reviewed publications.  Proven ability to plan and conduct independent research projects from beginning to end. Interest in translating and communication research for land-use decisions.

Preferred Experience: Conducting complex spatial analyses (e.g., GIS, remote sensing, spatial statistics); quasi-experimental methods (e.g., matching, counter-factual), analysis of large datasets (e.g., PADUS, FIA, Census, NWOS); skilled at scripting within the R and/or Python programming languages. Candidates without these types of experience should clearly demonstrate how their skillset would benefit the lab. For example, an applicant with relevant experience in decision science or natural resource sociology should be explicit about how they envision their skills contributing to an analysis of land-use and land protection outcomes.

Appointment: We will begin reviewing applications on Sept 15th, 2018. There is some flexibility around the start date, but winter 2018/2019 would be ideal. Initial appointment of one year is renewable based on funding and performance. 

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. Please see the Harvard Forest Diversity and Inclusion Statement.

Salary and benefits: Commensurate with experience and includes health insurance benefits through Harvard University.  Outreach/career development opportunities will include funding for local and national meetings. 


To apply: Send Cover letter, CV, PDFs of relevant publications, and the names and contact info for three references to Jonathan Thompson: 


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 26 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. 

Highstead is a regional non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with regional partners and the best available science to conserve the New England landscape towards the Wildlands and Woodlands vision. Its principal programs include catalyzing the land protection activities through Regional Conservation Partnerships, conservation finance, ecological research, policy analysis, and land stewardship.