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Post-Doctoral Research Associate for Agroecosystem Research

Kentucky State University
Frankfort, KY, US

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Job Details

TITLE: Post-Doctoral Research Associate for Agroecosystem Research   

DEPARTMENT: School of Agriculture, Communities, and Environment 

REPORTS TO: Principal Investigator 

CLASSIFICATION: Staff-12 months 


STANDARD WORK HOURS: 37.5 hours per week 






The Postdoctoral Research Associate will serve as a lead support person to assist the PI, staff, and students in performing research in the Long-Term Agroecosystems Research (LTAR) at the College of Agriculture, Community, and the Sciences (CACS). The person would also support PI’s research and education activities to enhance environmental, soil, water quality, microclimate monitoring, Geographic Information System (GIS), and remote sensing research programs as part of the PI’s recently funded Evans Allen, NextGen, and other research and education grants. This position also assists in mentoring undergraduate and graduate research to enhance environmental science, GIS, and remote sensing programs. This position will be supported by Evans Allen and other grant funding for 3 years. Continued funding after that time is subject to funding availability and performance evaluation. 


The post-doctoral research associate will be a key member of the Center of Geospatial Intelligence and Environmental Security research team and will be involved in ecological and agroecosystem change research, including such topics as microclimate, watershed management and modeling, sediment analysis, soil formation, water scarcity and security, geomorphology, land cover change, application of remote sensing and Geoscience in agricultural and environmental studies.    





  • Assist the PI, implement Evans Allen, and externally funded research and education projects.
  • Assist the PI and other supporting staff in designing experiments and mentoring graduate thesis and capstone research.
  • Develop collaborative or independent research in applying geospatial technology in agriculture and the environment.
  • Manage research sites in the Appalachia region for periodic field data collection and summer camps of undergraduate and high school students.
  • Assist the PI in developing, mentoring, and conducting undergraduate research and experiential learning projects.
  •  Lead in collecting and managing geospatial, vegetation, biomass, soil, water, and other field and secondary data to use for research and publication.
  • Develop and submit peer-reviewed manuscripts, give professional presentations, and engage in developing competitive grant proposals for external funding.
  • Assist the PI in managing the GIS lab, geospatial data, and implementing the data management plan of multiple research grants
  • Assist the PI’s research team in procuring and utilizing cutting-edge research equipment.
  • Participate in college and school-level seminars, workshops, student recruitment fairs, high school visits, and meetings.
  • Other related duties as required.




  • Practical experience in research methodology in agroecosystem, soil, biomass, and watershed studies.
  • Experience measuring water quality dynamics and training students on the topic.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team with excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Commitment to working successfully with a diverse student population.
  • Specialized or moderate skills in spatial statistics, data analytics, pixel and object-based image analysis and feature extraction, SWAT, Google Earth Engine, ERDAS IMAGINE, ENVI, R, and/or Python.
  • Analytical ability to include geospatial mapping and data analytics skills using ArcGIS Pro.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, along with problem-solving expertise
  • Must be able to manage multiple projects and set priorities.
  • Experience publishing in peer-reviewed journals and developing competitive grants.
  • Possess the ability to perform miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.



  • May assist in the supervision of students and staff as requested.




  • Overnight travel to research sites for field samplings that may require multiple days.
  • Handling and caring for heavy equipment, UAV drones, soil and water probes, and multispectral and Lidar cameras.
  • Occasionally, it requires heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling of objects over 50 pounds.
  • The work environment involves some exposure to inclement weather, hot or cold conditions, hazards, or physical risks, which require some basic safety precautions.




  • Additional duties to be performed as assigned




  • Minimum of a Ph.D. in Geography, Natural Resources, or related field and concentration on GIS, Remote Sensing, digital agriculture, or a closely related field. 
  • Demonstrated or potential ability for developing competitive grants and publication in peer-reviewed journals.


    Licensing and Certifications: 


  • None are required, but UAV-Drone Pilot and GISP are encouraged.


    Applicants must be authorized to work for any employer in the United States. At this time, Kentucky State University is unable to sponsor or take over sponsorship of an employment visa. 

    Internal Candidates are Encouraged to Apply. 





    I have received, reviewed and fully understand the job description for ____________________. I further understand that I am responsible for the satisfactory execution of the essential functions described therein, under any and all conditions as described. 


    Employee Name __________________________________________ Date _____________________
                                                                          (printed name) 


    Employee Signature _________________________________________________ 



    KENTUCKY STATE UNIVERSITY is an Equal Opportunity Employer 

    The functions, qualifications, knowledge/skills, and physical requirements listed in this job description represent the essential duties of the job, which the incumbent must be able to perform either with or without reasonable accommodation. The Job Functions listed do not necessarily include all activities that the individual may perform. 


    Our Mission

    Kentucky State University is the state's unique, small, liberal studies institution with the lowest student-faculty ratio in the state system. The University shall serve as a residential institution with a range of traditional collegiate programs appropriate to its unique role.

    Geographic Region
    Kentucky State University's geographic region shall be state-wide for its liberal studies mission, its land grant functions, and its service to state government. In addition, Kentucky State University's primary service area for commuting students shall be for Franklin and contiguous counties.

    Institutional Admission Standards
    Kentucky State University shall admit students to the institution under selective admission standards to which exceed the minimum guidelines established by the Council on Higher Education, with only limited exceptions. Institutional policy for admitting under-prepared students, including the removal of academic deficiencies within a specified time frame. Through this approach, the University seeks to provide broad access and high-quality programs.

    Degree Levels
    Selected associate and baccalaureate degree programs shall be oriented toward liberal studies and selected career opportunities related to state government services. Kentucky State University shall offer selected master's degree programs based on demonstrated need, with priority given to a public administration curriculum to meet the needs of state government.

    Strategic Directions/Program Priorities
    The University shall focus on liberal studies programming. Drawing upon its African-American heritage, the University will promote the values and methods of interdisciplinary and multicultural education in its liberal studies offerings. All students shall participate in common curricula that explore the liberal studies. Drawing upon the multicultural strengths of the University, emphasis shall be placed on preparing minority students for careers in education and in other selected professions including business, computer science, nursing, human services, and public services. These strategic priorities translate into a core of liberal arts baccalaureate degree programs, in addition to degree programs at the associate [A], baccalaureate [B], and master's [M] levels that may include the following: education [B]; business [B]; computer science [A,B]; nursing [A]; home economics [B]; human services [B]; and public administration [B,M].

    Enhancement of Instruction
    The University shall emphasize teaching. Meeting student needs shall be paramount. The University shall focus on the needs of its students, which include, but are not limited to, full-time and part-time residential students, commuting students from its primary service area, and state governmental employees.

    Service and Research Functions
    Kentucky State University, as the 1890 land grant institution in the system, shall carry out its responsibilities under federal law and participate fully in appropriate U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, in accord with the mission of the University.

    Kentucky State University shall be the major repository for the collection of books, records, and artifacts relative to the history and status of African-American citizens of the Commonwealth and elsewhere. The University shall make such materials available for casual and scholarly study.

    Kentucky State University shall focus on meeting the applied research and service needs of state government.

    Collaborative Ventures
    The priority master's degree program offered by Kentucky State University shall be carefully articulated with related doctoral programs offered by the doctoral-granting institutions in the system. The University shall develop and employ telecommunication resources to communicate with other institutions in the fulfillment of its mission. Curriculum development shall emphasize the transfer of credits form other institutions toward degree completion.

    Kentucky State University shall promote cost effectiveness in academic programming and institutional management. Strategic planning resulting in the elimination of duplicative or non-productive programs is essential while the development of carefully selected new programs compatible with the mission is appropriate. Measures of quality and performance shall be the foundation of the University's accountability system which promotes the continuous improvement of programs and services.

    Efficiency and Effectiveness
    Kentucky State University shall promote cost effectiveness in academic programming and institutional management. Strategic planning resulting in the elimination of duplicative or non-productive programs is essential while the development of carefully selected new programs compatible with the mission is appropriate. Measures of quality and performance shall be the foundation of the University's accountability system which promotes the continuous improvement of programs and services.

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