| May 6, 2024

Research Associate – Benefits of Natural and Working Lands

Guest Author


Duke University

Start date and duration: Start September 2024, 12 months with potential extension to 18 months.

The Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability at Duke University and the Gund Institute for Environment at University of Vermont seek an outstanding research associate to lead a project on the benefits of natural and working lands across the United States, including impacts of land management activities on conservation outcomes. The work is supported by federal funds and is already informing federal initiatives such as natural capital accounting and the Conservation and Stewardship Atlas.

The first year of work produced a rapid literature review and framework for future assessment, and a second phase of work is currently underway to conduct a more formal synthesis of the impacts of timber harvest on biodiversity and carbon outcomes, and the impact of fishing on biodiversity outcomes, across US land and water systems. In the first six months of work, the research associate will oversee completion of the timber harvest meta-analyses (currently in progress) and lead the fishing meta-analysis. We will then move into the next phase of work, which will combine geospatial data with information from the previously completed rapid literature review and meta-analysis to explore how these approaches complement each other to provide information about the benefits provided by natural and working lands under different management in the U.S., and where additional data are needed to fill gaps. The research associate will oversee several graduate student assistants providing support for this project.

The research associate will be based at Duke University under the guidance of Lydia Olander. Taylor Ricketts at the Gund Institute (University of Vermont) is an advisor on this project. The research associate will join the core project research team and fully participate in co-production of the research with our government partners.

The position is for a twelve-month term with potential to extend to eighteen months. A PhD in a related discipline or a master’s degree with additional experience is required; there is the potential for this role to be reclassified as a post-doctoral research associate if the selected candidate desires. Expertise in conservation science, experience managing/synthesizing large data sets, particularly those related to climate and biodiversity, and geospatial analysis skills are required. Data management and analysis using Excel, R, MetaWin, and ArcGIS Pro is preferred. Previous experience working with government stakeholders is desirable.

To apply for this job please visit nicholasinstitute.duke.edu.