USFS Postdoctoral Fellowship in Forests & Climate Change

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

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A complete application package consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted. Click Here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV
  • Two educational or professional recommendations. Applications need at least one recommendation submitted in order to be viewed by the mentor.

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

Application Deadline
6/17/2022 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A fellowship is available with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service within the Rocky Mountain Research Station. The fellowship ideally would be conducted in Fort Collins, Colorado, but a remote arrangement would also be considered.

At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

Research ProjectThe USDA Forest Service Experimental Forest and Range (EFR) network comprises 81 long-term research sites in the US and its territories. Decades-long data collection efforts at the EFRs provide valuable long-term records of critical ecosystem properties and processes, such as climate, stream water quality and quantity, and plant composition and growth. Ongoing climatic change increases the value of these data, as they can provide insights into both the nature of climatic changes, and how these changes may be affecting ecosystem functioning.

EFR researchers are seeking a highly motivated Postdoctoral Research Fellow to demonstrate the collective power of EFR data by conducting a synthetic analysis to examine climatic changes at EFRs, and the potential ecosystem consequences of these changes. Changes will first be explored in a pilot effort that uses data from several of the 14 Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) EFRs. Explorations will then expand to incorporate data from other EFRs.

Learning ObjectivesThe Fellow will have the opportunity to hone many aspects of their scientific skillset while collaborating closely with an RMRS mentor and other EFR researchers across the network. Activities will include (a) developing data synthesis project objectives and approaches for RMRS EFRs; (b) archiving RMRS EFR data in the Forest Service Research Data Archive ( as needed for the synthesis project; (c) implementing appropriate procedures for managing, standardizing, and synthesizing RMRS EFR data; (d) running appropriate analyses on RMRS EFR data to examine climatic changes, and the potential ecosystem consequences of these changes; (e) leading the writing of a peer-reviewed publication on the RMRS data synthesis results; and (f) working through items (a-e) using all available EFR data, as time and funding permit.

MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Paula Fornwalt ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: As soon as a candidate is identified.  Start date is flexible and negotiable, and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for eighteen months, but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The current stipend provided for this eighteen-month opportunity is $81,000 - $99,000 ($4,500 - $5,500/month, or $54,000 - $66,000/year), plus a $9,810 health insurance allowance ($545/month, or $6,540/year), and a $2,500 conference allowance.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity. 


The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Climatology, Ecology, Forestry, or Hydrology), or be currently pursuing the degree with completion by the end of 2022. Degree must have been received within the past five years.

Preferred Skills:

  • Strong analytical skills and demonstrated experience managing, standardizing, synthesizing, and analyzing large, disparate environmental science (e.g., climate, ecology, forestry, hydrology) data sets with statistical programs such as R.
  • Experience developing novel research ideas, questions, and approaches.
  • Strong knowledge of US forest and range ecosystems and how they are impacted by climate over the short- and long-term.
  • Knowledge of GIS theories, principles and practices, and ability to use ARC/INFO or similar GIS software/libraries for spatial analysis.
  • Capacity to work independently and prioritize activities to meet project schedules.
  • Strong writing skills and demonstrated experience lead-authoring peer-reviewed environmental science publications.
  • Ability to orally communicate in an effective manner with research team members and diverse stakeholders including USDA Forest Service land managers.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or currently pursuing.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (6 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (2 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (1 )
  • Veteran Status: Veterans Preference, degree received within the last 120 month(s).