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Research Associate-Fixed Term

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 677712
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Agriculture And Nat Resources
Department: Fisheries And Wildlife 10002344
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Full Time (90-100%), Fixed Term Academic Staff, Research/Scientific, Non-Union

Position Summary

We seek a Postdoctoral Research Associate to join the Christensen Lab at Michigan State University working in a multi-disciplinary collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to develop analytical tools based on spatio-temporal statistical models to support development of adaptive management strategies for managing chronic wasting disease (CWD) in free-ranging deer populations. The successful applicant will be tasked with using state-of-the art statistical and mathematical techniques within an adaptive management framework to evaluate current and simulate future management actions aimed at suppressing CWD, and making these techniques accessible to managers.  The final user-friendly tool will provide an empirically defensible foundation with which decision-makers can make structured decisions about management actions and for generating sustained public support for such actions deemed effective for mitigating CWD impacts.

The selected candidate will have expertise in mathematical and/or statistical modeling, creating computer simulations (preferably within a wildlife ecology and/or disease dynamics framework), and expertise or working knowledge of sampling designs (particularly the BACI design). Ultimately, the final products and results will be made available and distributed through CWD Alliance for access by management agencies and research institutions. The candidate is expected to either lead or assist in publication of products arising from this work in peer-reviewed outlets.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate is expected to work collaboratively with colleagues and project partners and communicate research findings to broad audiences. 

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 -in statistics, mathematics, wildlife, ecology

Minimum Requirements

Knowledge of statistical or mathematical modeling, sampling, simulation and model development. Ability to formulate hypotheses and a working knowledge of sampling designs to ensure the scientific and statistical validity of the research project, and to interpret data sufficient to draw defensible inferences and conclusions. Experience with computer applications, including both (1) spreadsheets or databases to manage data input, retrieval, and compilation, and (2) statistical software to summarize and analyze data. Experience publishing statistical, ecological, and/or disease research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Ability to work effectively and courteously with a multi-disciplinary team.

Desired Qualifications

Competitive candidates will have experience developing statistical and/or mathematical models for wildlife ecology and conservation or disease systems (CWD a plus), experience in ecological simulation and adaptive resource management (ARM), experience with structured decision making, strong oral and written communication skills for diverse audiences including biologists, scientists, policy makers, and the public sufficient to document and disseminate completed research results, experience collaborating with state wildlife management agencies on wildlife disease research and management, experience in software coding (e.g., R, Python, Matlab/Octave, EMOD, OpenMOLE, NetLogo, STELLA, Vensim), experience in statistical sampling design, experience developing web based applications via Shiny app in Program R, knowledge of methods for estimating wildlife demographic and/or disease-related parameters, ability to summarize and analyze spatially explicit data using R and ArcGIS, experience establishing productive collaborations with other researchers, research background in population or disease ecology and a publication record commensurate with time since degree completion are preferred.

Required Application Materials

Please submit your CV, a letter of intent, a list of three references, and academic transcripts (not official) for all terminal degrees.

Special Instructions

For more information about the position, contact Dr. Sonja Christensen (

Review of Applications Begins On



Department Statement

The Department of Fisheries and Wildlife was established in 1950 with faculty drawn from several different units. Since that time, both the faculty and the issues of importance in fisheries and wildlife have changed significantly. Our Mission, Vision, and Values build on our core strengths and prepare us for continuing change in societal needs, scientific understanding, and educational priorities.  We believe a diverse, inclusive working and learning environment enriches the department and fosters innovation in teaching, research, and engagement with partners and the public.

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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Applications close: Eastern Daylight Time

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