USFS Postgraduate Research Opportunity in Agroforestry

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
10/31/2022 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis, and this opportunity will remain open until a qualified candidate is identified. However, to receive full consideration, please apply by 10/31/2022.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is available at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forestry Service (USFS) National Agroforestry Center (NAC), located in Lincoln, Nebraska. The candidate has the option to report remotely or at NAC’s headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The mission of the National Agroforestry Center (NAC) is to advance the health, diversity, and productivity of working lands, waters, and communities through agroforestry. The Center accelerates the adoption of agroforestry by leading, catalyzing, coordinating, and conducting research and science-based outreach. It is the only U.S. Department of Agriculture unit dedicated to agroforestry and is uniquely poised to provide U.S. leadership in agroforestry research and application. The National Agroforestry Center is part of Forest Service's Washington, DC Office of Research and Development.

Research ProjectAgroforestry practices are a key component to scale up and optimize climate-smart agriculture and forestry. However, availability of plant materials is constraining agroforestry’s potential. The selected participant will collaborate with National Agroforestry Center staff and the agroforestry and reforestation communities to identify the expected demand for trees in agroforestry systems as agroforestry scales up, as well as the key species that make up this demand in different regions and for different practices. They will also assist in identifying research gaps in propagation methods and other plant material bottlenecks, identify key players involved, and identify the critical levers needed to address these issues. The participant may also be asked to assist with other projects underway at the National Agroforestry Center.

Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will be given the opportunity to (1) continue their professional development through immersion in reforestation and agroforestry research and technical assistance, (2) gain an understanding of complex plant materials supply chains and (3) pursue research related to the intersection of agriculture, forestry, reforestation, and plant materials.

Learning Objectives

  • Enhance collaborative skills by participating as a member of an interdisciplinary team investigating reforestation opportunities and bottlenecks associated with agroforestry.
  • Understand and facilitate interactions at the intersection between science and land management.
  • Enhance communication skills and experience by sharing information developed with management, professional and scientific communities via presentations and publishing findings in journals and reports. Also includes drafting communication materials, such as website content, information sheets, briefing materials, and newsletters.
  • Strengthen techniques used for data collection and analysis. This includes conducting scientific syntheses, data mining, and conducting interviews with key partners.

There will be opportunities for professional development including skill training and travel. The Fellow will have the opportunity to interact with scientists in Forest Service and other land management agencies and entities.

MentorThe mentors for this opportunity are Matthew M. Smith ( and Katherine MacFarland ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentors.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: December 2022. Start date is flexible and negotiable, and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year 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 annual stipend will range from $66,000-$72,000 and will include a health insurance supplement and a travel/supplies allowance. A computer will be provided.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

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 master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Forestry, Natural Resource Science/Management, Ecology, Ecosystem Science, Environmental Conservation/Science, Horticulture, Agroforestry, Earth Sciences, Science Policy).

Preferred skills:

  • Demonstrated experience with agroforestry systems, whether applied, research, technical assistance, etc.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively communicate and work with diverse stakeholders
  • Experience presenting on natural resource topics
  • Strong quantitative skills with experience analyzing complex datasets, interpreting output and generating clearly understandable tables and graphics that convey accurate and compelling interpretations
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to perform both independently and as part of a team
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize activities to meet project schedules
  • Evidence of scientific and technical writing skills
  • Experience in sharing technical natural resource information with decision-makers and researchers through print and presentations
Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Earth and Geosciences (4 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (13 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 )