Job Openings

The following positions are currently open at the Woods Hole Research Center:

Assistant, Associate or Senior Scientist

SUMMARY:The Woods Hole Research Center seeks a plant ecologist or forest scientist to contribute to and expand our ongoing research in biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, and terrestrial responses to climate change. Applicants for assistant, associate, and senior scientist will be considered.

Responsibilities: The successful candidate will:

  • Conduct research on biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, and forest ecology related to global change processes, particularly the effects of drought on tree growth
  • Secure research funding
  • Collaborate on other research and education activities with WHRC scientists and staff
  • Lead in presentation and publication of scientific results

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Ph.D. and postdoctoral experience in a relevant field
  • Experience with terrestrial ecology and the global carbon cycle
  • Experience with land-use change
  • Modeling skills
  • Success in obtaining external funding
  • Excellent record of publications
  • Collaborative, flexible, organized, and efficient work ethic
  • Excellent writing and communication skills

Application Deadline: May 1, or until filled.

Desired Start Date: Summer 2014.

Salary Range: Commensurate with experience, with full benefit package.

Application Instructions: To apply, please send cover letter referencing "Job# SCIENCE14," curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to . Please type “Science14” in the subject line.

Research Assistant, Carbon Monitoring, Land Use and Social Forestry

Project Equateur Description
Since early 2013, WHRC, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MECNT) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been implementing Projet Equateur (PE), a pilot REDD+ project in Equateur Province, DRC.  The project is financed for 3 years through a grant from the African Development Bank, Congo Basin Forest Fund.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Increase the capacity of stakeholders for the development of REDD+ strategies and preparation for the management of carbon funds and
  • Design and implement community based REDD+ pilot projects with potential for continued carbon financing

The focus of the project is to develop community based REDD+ projects with regard to common property, resources and rights. Because carbon emissions currently generated from forest loss in DRC are a result of small holder farming activities and charcoal production on public land, a community based approach to REDD+ implementation will be the cornerstone of an effective, efficient and equitable national implementation strategy. The success of REDD+ projects will depend on sustainable forest management as the foundation for development; climate-smart development is thus critical for forest communities.

Project implementation
WHRC implements the project through four principal project partners at the local level – two DRC based rural development agencies, a national university, and a botanical garden.  WHRC’s role is to provide key technical expertise in REDD+ project development at the local level, technically backstopping the national partners to implement a range of mutually supportive activities in the three key domains of applied research, training and education, and community based natural resource management with suitable rural development. Along with project implementation, WHRC is responsible for scientific study of the REDD+ implementation process and outcomes in terms of environmental, social and economic effectiveness, equity and efficiency.

Areas of operation
The project is focused in two pilot areas of Equateur Province: Gemena in the north and Mbandaka in the central region. These are contrasting regions in terms of demography, environmental degradation and development context. The areas chosen are on public lands and are not listed for either forest or nature conservation.

The region of Gemena has experienced historically high levels of forest loss from extensive coffee and livestock production, leaving a mosaic of riverine and remnant natural forest surrounded by degraded pasture. It is a transition zone between tropical forest and grassland. After periods of civil instability, the extensive grazing activities once common there have dwindled, yet there seems to be no natural tendency for forest regeneration. Deforested areas tend to remain as degraded grassland. Local inhabitants are faced with the increased challenge of living in a degraded forest environment and having to travel greater distances for fuel wood and timber for construction.  

The project site near Mbandaka is in a wetland forest area, and is, in terms of forest cover, what Gemena was like perhaps 40 years ago. Blessed with what they perceive as limitless rainforest, communities practice traditional slash and burn agriculture and charcoal production, their main concerns being conflict with logging concessions over rights to exploit timber and access to their customary tribal lands. Against this backdrop is the prospect of intensive cultivation of wetland rice to meet local and national food security needs, providing attractive incentives for poor households to increase forest clearance for income and food security.

Position Description
WHRC seeks a research assistant to work on a variety of community level REDD+ carbon monitoring and land use planning research, development, and capacity building activities. The successful candidate will be expected to spend lengthy periods (2-3 months) in Mbandaka, Equateur Province. Under daily direction and supervision of the Project Manager and technical supervision of the project scientist, the position will be based at the WHRC-Mbandaka field office and operate in the PE project sites in and around Mbandaka and Gemena.

The position consists of two distinct yet interrelated components. The carbon monitoring component will explore methods and pathways for establishing community integration into REDD+ monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). The land use planning component will similarly look at options to develop participatory land use maps and plans in the context of developing community institutions for local land use and development management. The successful candidate will work alongside other technical experts from WHRC and with PE project partners and stakeholders to develop technical capacity and institutional approaches as a potential for wider impact from the PE project monitoring and communications activities.

Responsibilities:

  • Provide high quality research and training support to the field programs, to develop and train WHRC staff, project partners and stakeholders on MRV and land use planning;
  • Assist project manager in the efficiency and effectiveness of the project activities by identifying and testing different implementation approaches;
  • Assist project manager and support the development of a community MRV approach, together with plans for village level activities, including a field monitoring plan;
  • Assist the project manager to supervise carbon assessments and land use surveys in villages as a foundation for community REDD+ plans;
  • Support the WHRC field program technical assistant. Assist with the identification of capacity gaps in the field for carbon MRV and land use planning in the pilot communities
  • Contribute to technical working group meetings with partners;
  • Contribute to technical report writing and development of field guides and policy briefs

Qualifications and Experience:

  • MSc degree in forestry, conservation biology, ecology, social forestry, or natural resource management
  • At least 2 years of international work experience in forestry, rural development or conservation
  • REDD+ experience preferred
  • Relevant working experience in the field of social forestry, rural development and/or community based natural resource management  
  • Excellent command of written and spoken French, good working knowledge of English
  • Ability to think and work logically and precisely with attention to detai
  • Initiative, sound judgment, and demonstrated ability to work harmoniously with staff members of varied national and cultural backgrounds

Application Deadline: July 30, 2014

Desired Start Date: September 20, 2014

Salary Range: $50,000-$55,000, with full benefit package, exempt position

Application Instructions: To apply, please send cover letter referencing Job # GBRA01, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to .

Post-Doctoral Research Position - Aboveground Carbon Dynamics

SUMMARY: We seek a Post-Doctoral Researcher for a two-year position focused on development of novel approaches to the direct measurement and mapping of aboveground carbon dynamics at local to global scales. The successful candidate will work closely with the lead scientist and his collaborators as part of a new research effort supported by NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System initiative. This position requires advanced remote sensing, GIS, and statistics experience, including the ability to manipulate large data sets and utilize a cluster-computing environment.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Assemble/analyze large airborne LiDAR, Landsat, MODIS, and VIIRS datasets
  • Understand/manage large databases of field-measured biomass and related variables
  • Advance multi-temporal algorithm development for biomass change mapping
  • Perform complex geoprocessing utilizing supercomputing resources (NASA/Google)
  • Conduct accuracy/uncertainty/sensitivity analyses
  • Work in a collaborative environment with minimal oversight
  • Author peer-reviewed journal articles and contribute to grant proposal preparation
  • Contribute to WHRC’s ongoing tropical and global biomass modeling activities

Qualifications and experience: Ph.D. degree with experience in a relevant discipline (geography, ecology, forestry, natural resources, or environmental science) with demonstrated expertise using multi-temporal/multi-sensor Earth observation data for large-area measurement and mapping of forest biophysical variables.

  • Experience with field, airborne LiDAR, Landsat, MODIS, and/or VIIRS datasets
  • Experience building statistical relationships between field and satellite image data
  • Advanced computational/programming skills
  • Open-source statistical/spatial software experience (R/GDAL/Python, etc.)
  • Knowledge of tropical forests and three-dimensional forest structure
  • Familiarity with REDD+ and forest carbon MRV
  • Established peer-reviewed publication record
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work independently in an organized and detail-oriented fashion

Desired Start Date: Fall 2014

Application Deadline: October 30, or until filled

Salary Range: $48,000 to $54,000 with full benefit package, exempt position.

Appointment: This is a two-year appointment, with a possibility to extend.

Application Instructions: To apply, please send cover letter referencing "Post-Doctoral Researcher Position # WWPD14", curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to . Please type "WWPD14" in the subject line.

Postdoctoral Fellow or Research Assistant - Environment and Development Economics Analyst

SUMMARY: Since early 2013, Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), in partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MECNT) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been implementing a pilot REDD+ project in Equateur Province. The project is financed for 3 years through a grant from the African Development Bank, (Congo Basin Forest Fund). The objectives of the project are to (1) increase the capacity of stakeholders for the development of REDD+ strategies and preparation for the management of carbon funds, and (2) design and implement community based REDD+ pilot projects with potential for continued carbon financing.

WHRC seeks a postdoctoral fellow or experienced research assistant to participate in a project focused on applied research, training and capacity building for REDD+.  The work covers two broad areas, the first being applied research on determining the macroeconomic drivers and micro economic determinants of land cover change and resource use decisions, affecting tropical forests. Second, the work will bridge the gap between scientific research and development practice through undergraduate and professional level in-country teaching and training on the economics of forest conservation and management.

The applied research work will focus on the collection, analysis and interpretation of quantitative and qualitative economic and social data on forest conservation, household economics and livelihoods. In addition, working with spatial analysts at WHRC, economic data will be combined with field forest inventories and satellite observations (optical/radar/lidar) to develop land use scenarios and associated carbon emissions.

The “science-in-practice” component will encompass the application of research findings into defining and monitoring livelihoods options and impacts from REDD+ projects and other sustainability initiatives, including the development of operational social impact assessment frameworks and science-policy learning at the national and local level in DRC. The successful candidate will be based primarily either at WHRC in the USA or in the DRC, working under the supervision of the principal investigator. The incumbent will work with collaborators from a variety of international and DRC project partners. The scope of work includes the opportunity for field survey work in rural DRC, along with some academic teaching and professional training with partner organizations. The position requires sound knowledge of quantitative economic research methods, advanced econometrics and a willingness to learn and use GIS modeling tools. The successful applicant will demonstrate a keen interest in using science to make a difference to the livelihoods and environment of poor rural households in Africa, to move from sustainability as a concept into operational reality.

Qualifications and experience:

  • Ph.D. or Master’s degree in natural resource or environmental economics, mathematics or public policy related to development and the environment with a major focus on the collection and analysis of quantitative economic data
  • Demonstrated ability in applied econometric and statistical analysis of complex data sets using proprietary analytical software, e.g., STATA, LIMDEP, MATLAB, SPSS
  • Technical training and experience in the collection and analysis of household survey data, living standards measurement and qualitative research method, such as participatory rural appraisal
  • Knowledge of GIS tools, spatial econometric analysis and scenario modeling platforms, e.g., DINAMICA and INVEST
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team in a constantly evolving environment
  • Excellent presentation and communication skills
  • Developing country experience and willingness to travel to work on assignments in the field an asset
  • Fluency in English essential; working knowledge of French highly desirable

Application Deadline: October 15, 2014

Desired Start Date: December 1, 2014

Salary Range: $50,000 to $55,000 with full benefit package, exempt position.

Application Instructions: To apply, please send cover letter referencing Job # GBECON14, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to . Please reference Job # GBECON14 in the subject line.


The mission of the Woods Hole Research Center is to advance scientific discovery and seek science-based solutions for the world’s environmental and economic challenges through research and education on forests, soils, air, and water. Our scientists combine analysis of satellite images of the Earth with field studies to measure, model, and map changes in the world’s ecosystems, from the thawing permafrost in the Arctic to the expanding agriculture regions of the tropics. We merge natural science with economics to discover sustainable paths for human prosperity and stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources.

Equal Opportunity Employer:

The Woods Hole Research Center considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, disability, age, marital or veteran status, sexual preference, ancestry or any other protected status recognized under law. We will evaluate your experience and background in relation to the requirements of the position(s) for which you apply. The Center will check references on all applicants, and any offer of employment is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of reference and background information. In addition, an individual offered employment will need to: complete appropriate tax forms, complete an I-9 form, and provide documents showing proof of eligibility to work in the United States.