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Research Associate-Fixed Term

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 725449
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Social Science
Department: Geography Environment Spatial Sciences 10038366
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: 52000.00
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Research/Scientific, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union

Position Summary

Kyla Dahlin in the Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences ( is seeking a Research Associate (Postdoctoral Fellow) for a 1-year position, with the potential for renewal for up to 3 additional years. The position is available starting as soon as December 1, 2021. The Research Associate will work with Dr. Dahlin and the Ecological Remote Sensing and Modeling Lab group (ERSAM Lab; on a National Science Foundation CAREER award project focusing on mapping disturbances and estimating forest carbon uptake in the eastern United States with remote sensing.

The researcher will be part of a strong interdisciplinary team of researchers, graduate and undergraduate research assistants, and an engaging community of scholars at MSU interested in ecology and biodiversity (e.g., the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Program; They will have the opportunity to both lead research projects related to ecological remote sensing and carbon modeling and participate in collaborative publications. This person will also participate in the planning and running of the Spectral Ecology Summer School (‘SPEC School’; which is a field course aimed at introducing graduate students and postdocs from a wide range of backgrounds to ecological remote sensing tools and concepts. SPEC School will also focus on skill building around leadership, inclusion, and equity. The Research Associate will have opportunities to mentor both undergraduate and graduate students, to teach courses or course modules, if desired, and to participate in professional development opportunities.

Applicants must have defended their dissertation prior to beginning the postdoctoral fellowship. A doctoral degree in ecology, geography, biology, forestry, or a related field is required. Candidates must have (1) strong skills in quantitative data analysis, especially using remotely sensed data, (2) experience writing for an academic audience, (3) interest in forest disturbance and ecological remote sensing, and (4) good organization and time management skills. Prior publications and teaching experience will enhance the application.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Degree

Doctorate -Ecology, Geography, Biology, Forestry, or related field

Minimum Requirements

  • Doctorate in ecology, geography, biology, forestry, or a related field by the start date. (Applicants must have defended their dissertation prior to beginning the postdoctoral fellowship.)
  • Excellent quantitative data analysis skills.
  • Experience with remote sensing analyses in R, python, and/or Google Earth Engine.
  • Strong skills in scholarly and non-technical writing.
  • Record of scholarly productivity.
  • Good organization and time management skills.
  • Ability to work in interdisciplinary team settings as well as independently.
  • Interest in mentoring graduate students.
  • Participation in SPEC School will require some travel and field work, including hiking across uneven terrain, lifting and carrying up to 45 lb packs, and the ability to record detailed scientific measurements.
  • Valid US driver’s license or ability and willingness to obtain one.

Desired Qualifications

  • Coursework, professional experience, or prior research in forest carbon dynamics.
  • Experience working with imaging spectroscopy and/or LIDAR data.
  • Experience working with data from the National Ecological Observatory Network.
  • Familiarity with research on leadership in academia and/or experiential learning.

Required Application Materials

All as one PDF, please provide:

  • Cover letter describing training, skills, research interests, interest in the position, and how skills and interests fit with those described in the position advertisement.
  • Names and contact information for three references who can write a letter detailing your research expertise, organizational skills, and ability to work in large interdisciplinary research teams. Letters of recommendation will only be solicited from finalists.
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae
  • One example publication or dissertation chapter led by the applicant that best connects to this position description.

Special Instructions to Applicants

The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with limited exceptions.  Learn more at:

Review of Applications Begins On



Department Statement

The Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences is one of 12 degree-granting units in the College of Social Science. Housed in the Geography Building, the Department has over 30 faculty, 70 graduate students, 80 undergraduate majors, and 130 undergraduate minors. Faculty and student research centers on such topics as people-environment relationships, climate, geographic information science, soils-geomorphology, urban structure, and global change. The spatial extent of these research interests range from local to global in such places as Kenya, Brazil, the Great Lakes, China, and Michigan.

The Department has a strong commitment to inclusivity and diversity in all areas and encourages candidates from underrepresented groups. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. The University actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, veterans, and persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.

MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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