Research Associate

Job description

Employment Status:Full time (29-40 Hrs) Closing:12/16/19 Proposed Salary Range:Commensurate with Experience Type of Employment:Staff Location:ASU-Jonesboro

Position Summary:

More than 50% of US rice production takes place in the Arkansas Delta Region, contributing over $1 billion to the economy. However, two groundwater cones of depression have formed in the Cache River and Grand Prairie regions, which are major areas for flood-irrigated rice production. The Arkansas groundwater initiative focuses on understanding the effectiveness and potential impacts of conservation irrigation practices in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain in the Arkansas Delta Region. Conservation practices include tail-water recovery and conversion from groundwater to surface water irrigation, among others

Conservation irrigation practices have been implemented at the farm scale through voluntary adoption and the Environmental Quality Program to reduce the amount of groundwater withdrawn for irrigation. The Delta Water Management Research Unit and Arkansas State University will work closely with commodity rice producers in both the Cache River and Grand Prairie regions to conduct detailed measurements of on-farm water flows to improve understanding of the function, effectiveness, and benefits of conservation irrigation practices and estimate groundwater decline and potential impacts of conservation irrigation practices regionally

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • This position will work with the Principal Investigator at Arkansas State University to complete two specific objectives of the Arkansas Groundwater Initiative: (1) examine the trend of groundwater declines in selected areas and assess the possible positive impact of heretofore construction of conservation irrigation practices, and (2) investigate the on-farm economics and trade offs of different conservation irrigation practices compared to conventional irrigation management in rice production systems
  • The Post-doctoral Researcher will develop a framework for reviewing the history of previous conservation practice construction in the areas of interest and collect historical measurements. Based on hydrograph data from existing monitoring wells and from previous conservation practice construction, the Post-doctoral Researcher will conduct a casual investigation into the potential impacts of irrigation practices
  • Other duties as assigned


Advanced econometric and microeconomic knowledge

Outstanding written and verbal communication skills

Ability to collaborate with and integrate insights from other disciplines such as hydrology, engineering, and agronomy

General Days/Hours:

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Additional hours as requested and/or needed
Regular and reliable attendance


Additionally, the Researcher will collaborate with the Delta Water Management Research Unit to gather farm-level records and economic data related to farm management, rice production, and irrigation practices. Based on these data, the Researcher will analyze the economic and water-saving impacts of converting from groundwater to surface water irrigation at varying levels of conversion

The primary aim of the inquiry will be to establish a benefit-to-cost metric and risk analysis for conservation irrigation practices, which might be used in future subsidy programs for reducing groundwater decline in rice production

Minimum Qualifications:

Ph.D. in Environmental and/or Natural Resource Economics or a related field completed by 12/31/2019

Record of demonstrated potential to publish in high quality peer-reviewed journals

Preferred Qualifications:
Knowledge of spatial and time series analysis and interest in interdisciplinary, on-farm research




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Job No:
Posted: 10/9/2019
Application Due: 12/17/2019
Work Type: