Research Associate-Fixed Term

Michigan State University
East Lansing

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Administrative Jobs
Academic Affairs, Research Staff & Technicians
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Job Details

Job no: 725449
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Social Science
Department: Geography Environment Spatial Sciences 10038366
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: 52000.00
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Research/Scientific, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union
Position Summary

Kyla Dahlin in the Michigan State University (MSU) Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences ( is seeking a Research Associate (Postdoctoral Fellow) for a 1-year position, with the potential for renewal for up to 3 additional years. The position is available starting as soon as December 1, 2021. The Research Associate will work with Dr. Dahlin and the Ecological Remote Sensing and Modeling Lab group (ERSAM Lab; on a National Science Foundation CAREER award project focusing on mapping disturbances and estimating forest carbon uptake in the eastern United States with remote sensing.

The researcher will be part of a strong interdisciplinary team of researchers, graduate and undergraduate research assistants, and an engaging community of scholars at MSU interested in ecology and biodiversity (e.g., the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Program; They will have the opportunity to both lead research projects related to ecological remote sensing and carbon modeling and participate in collaborative publications. This person will also participate in the planning and running of the Spectral Ecology Summer School (‘SPEC School’; which is a field course aimed at introducing graduate students and postdocs from a wide range of backgrounds to ecological remote sensing tools and concepts. SPEC School will also focus on skill building around leadership, inclusion, and equity. The Research Associate will have opportunities to mentor both undergraduate and graduate students, to teach courses or course modules, if desired, and to participate in professional development opportunities.

Applicants must have defended their dissertation prior to beginning the postdoctoral fellowship. A doctoral degree in ecology, geography, biology, forestry, or a related field is required. Candidates must have (1) strong skills in quantitative data analysis, especially using remotely sensed data, (2) experience writing for an academic audience, (3) interest in forest disturbance and ecological remote sensing, and (4) good organization and time management skills. Prior publications and teaching experience will enhance the application.

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 -Ecology, Geography, Biology, Forestry, or related field

Minimum Requirements
  • Doctorate in ecology, geography, biology, forestry, or a related field by the start date. (Applicants must have defended their dissertation prior to beginning the postdoctoral fellowship.)
  • Excellent quantitative data analysis skills.
  • Experience with remote sensing analyses in R, python, and/or Google Earth Engine.
  • Strong skills in scholarly and non-technical writing.
  • Record of scholarly productivity.
  • Good organization and time management skills.
  • Ability to work in interdisciplinary team settings as well as independently.
  • Interest in mentoring graduate students.
  • Participation in SPEC School will require some travel and field work, including hiking across uneven terrain, lifting and carrying up to 45 lb packs, and the ability to record detailed scientific measurements.
  • Valid US driver’s license or ability and willingness to obtain one.
Desired Qualifications
  • Coursework, professional experience, or prior research in forest carbon dynamics.
  • Experience working with imaging spectroscopy and/or LIDAR data.
  • Experience working with data from the National Ecological Observatory Network.
  • Familiarity with research on leadership in academia and/or experiential learning.
Required Application Materials

All as one PDF, please provide:

  • Cover letter describing training, skills, research interests, interest in the position, and how skills and interests fit with those described in the position advertisement.
  • Names and contact information for three references who can write a letter detailing your research expertise, organizational skills, and ability to work in large interdisciplinary research teams. Letters of recommendation will only be solicited from finalists.
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae
  • One example publication or dissertation chapter led by the applicant that best connects to this position description.
Special Instructions to Applicants

The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with limited exceptions. Learn more at:

Review of Applications Begins On



Department Statement

The Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences is one of 12 degree-granting units in the College of Social Science. Housed in the Geography Building, the Department has over 30 faculty, 70 graduate students, 80 undergraduate majors, and 130 undergraduate minors. Faculty and student research centers on such topics as people-environment relationships, climate, geographic information science, soils-geomorphology, urban structure, and global change. The spatial extent of these research interests range from local to global in such places as Kenya, Brazil, the Great Lakes, China, and Michigan.

The Department has a strong commitment to inclusivity and diversity in all areas and encourages candidates from underrepresented groups. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. The University actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, veterans, and persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation.

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.

Advertised: Aug 23, 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Aug 23, 2023 Eastern Daylight Time


Working at Michigan State University 

Spartans work every day to advance the common good in uncommon ways.

Together, we tackle some of the world’s toughest problems to find solutions that make life better—from alternative energy to better food safety to breakthrough medical and environmental applications achieved through rare isotope research.

We teach. We explore and we discover. We collaborate and lead. We innovate, inspire, and empower. We achieve our potential and create circumstances that help our students and others achieve theirs.

We're good at it, and we've been at it for more than 150 years.

The nation’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU began as a bold experiment that democratized higher education and helped bring science and innovation into everyday life. The revolutionary concept became a model for the nation.

Today, MSU is one of the top research universities in the world—on one of the biggest, greenest campuses in the nation. Home to nationally ranked and recognized academic, residential college, and service-learning programs, we’re a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, scientists and leaders.

In ways both practical and profound, we work to create a stronger, more sustainable, and more hopeful future for all.

Top Distinctions

U.S. News & World Report ranks MSU

  • 29th among the nation’s public universities
  • First in the nation for 19 years for graduate programs in elementary and secondary education
  • First in the nation for graduate programs in nuclear physics and industrial and organizational psychology
  • First in the nation for undergraduate program in supply chain

Recognized for 11 consecutive years as one of the top 100 universities in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in its annual Academic Ranking of World Universities

Ranks 46th among public universities for in-state students in Kiplinger’s 2013 edition of Best Values in Public Colleges

Silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s STARS program, which measures and encourages sustainability in education and research; operations; and planning, administration, and engagement

Member of the prestigious 62-member Association of American Universities

Only university in the country with on-campus medical schools graduating allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physicians, and veterinarians (DVMs)

Among the largest single-campus residence hall system in the country with 27 halls in five neighborhoods and two apartment villages.


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