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Postdoctoral Fellow, Soil Science/Soil Physics/Soil Mechanics

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Please see Special Instructions for more details.

Qualified individuals interested in this position must apply online. To ensure full consideration, your application package should be received by October 8, 2017 and must include:
  1. Completed online faculty profile/application;
  2. A cover letter detailing your research experience, career goals and project interests;
  3. A current curriculum vitae;
  4. Contact information for three professional/work-related references, to be contacted at the appropriate phase of the recruitment process based on applicant permission
Submissions not meeting these requirements will not be considered. Further information on DRI and the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences can be obtained at For questions regarding this position, please call the DRI recruiting office at 775-673-7332.

Posting Details

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Position Information

Posting Number F055
Position Title Postdoctoral Fellow, Soil Science/Soil Physics/Soil Mechanics
Location Reno, NV
FTE 100
Position Summary

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is an environmental sciences research organization within the Nevada System of Higher Education. DRI is seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow with expertise in the general areas of soil hydrology, soil physics, and soil mechanics to support currently funded projects. Current project efforts are focused on developing systematic relations among landform type, soil physical properties, surface condition, and vegetative cover that can provide realistic prediction or estimation of basic soil properties, especially soil strength, soil moisture, and soil dust emission in both the soil surface and soil sub-surface.

We seek scientists with knowledge, experience, or interest in two or more of the following technical areas:

  1. Design, operation, and data analysis of field- and laboratory-based systems for monitoring soil mass-energy balance (e.g. soil moisture, temperature, dielectric, weather parameters; operation/programming of data loggers, processing of collected data).
  2. Development and/or operation of field and laboratory experiments to measure parameters effecting soil strength and soil mechanics (e.g. cone penetrometer, soil moisture meters/probes, soil density gauge, use of tension infiltrometers, related methods to measure soil hydrologic parameters).
  3. Analytical operations in a soil laboratory, including a wide range of soil physical (e.g. laser-optical particle-size determination, bulk density, sieving), chemical analysis (e.g. soluble extracts, pH, mineral extractions, XRF), and hydrologic (e.g. moisture release curves, calibration of soil moisture probes, moisture-based thermal parameters). Ability to learn methods of data QA/WC and related data analysis and preparation or reports is essential.
  4. Numerical modeling of soil hydrologic and physical properties using existing software (e.g., Hydrus, Rosetta, SHAW, SSiB).
  5. Analytical field- and laboratory operations to characterize the propagation of electromagnetic wave propagation in soil systems (e.g. GPR, ground conductivity meter).
  6. Analysis of soil thermal properties.
  7. Ability to assist with conversion of field, laboratory, and field monitoring data into tables and figures for reports and publications (e.g. Excel, SigmaPlot, SigmaStat, SYSTAT.
  8. Ability to work with programing languages as R, Python, and MatLab.

Required Qualifications
  • US citizenship
  • PhD in soil science, geophysics, hydrology, geoscience, or related fields in engineering (e.g., geologic, environmental) from an accredited institution
  • Experience in two of more of the research areas of Soil Science, Soil Physics, or Soil Mechanics
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Evidence of the ability to participate in collaborative, team-based oriented research
  • Self-starter who can take direction but does not require it
  • Ability to work independently to fulfill project goals and meet project deadlines
  • Able to work extended hours in the field (often in remote locations) and travel as required
  • Able to hand carry field equipment (up to 40 lbs) and collected samples across variable terrain. Conduct field data collects including use of shovels, picks, augers, and technical equipment to measure soil properties related to morphology, strength, and moistureValid driver’s license and driving record that allows the ability to access a US instillation
Preferred Qualifications
  • Well-established knowledge of soil and hydrological processes related to assessment of soil condition from local to regional scales
  • Ability to design, set up, and run novel field and laboratory experiments in support of above research areas
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to develop oral/poster presentations and write peer reviewed papers with limited supervision
  • Ability to participate in the development of research proposals
  • Strong quantitative and modeling skills
Conditions of Employment / Physical Requirements

Due to security requirements associated with accessing essential project sites and information, ALL applicants MUST be citizens of the United States.

Salary Information

Salaries are competitive and commensurate with qualifications, with continued appointment (assessed annually for up to a maximum of three years) being dependent upon performance and availability of funding. This position is eligible for DRI’s benefits package and relocation assistance. See this link for a benefits overview:

Note to Applicants

Within 30 working days of his/her start date of the position, the individual who is offered and accepts this position must provide a copy of the transcript(s) up to the highest degree that he/she acquired as awarded by an accredited institute recognized by the United States Department of Education and/or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

EEO Statement

DRI is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, age, political affiliation, disability (whether actual or perceived by others) or military status or obligation, and veteran status in employment, programs, and activities. It is further required that DRI take affirmative action in all employment matters to ensure that our policies and practices are non-discriminatory.

Posting Detail Information

Position Type Postdoctoral Fellow
Open Date 09/13/2017
Close Date
Open Until Filled Yes

Reference Letters

Supplemental Questions

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  2. If the answer to the question above included "specify below" text, please let us know how you found out about this position.

    (Open Ended Question)

Applicant Documents

Required Documents
  1. Cover Letter
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Reference Contact Information
Optional Documents