USFS Postgraduate Research Opportunity in Fire Ecology

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

Connect with ORISE...on the GO! Download the new ORISE GO mobile app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to help you stay engaged, connected, and informed during your ORISE experience and beyond!

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.  Selected candidate must provide proof of completion of the degree before the appointment can start.  Click Here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV
  • Two educational or professional recommendations. At least one recommendation must be submitted in order for the mentor to view your application.

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

Application Deadline
4/1/2023 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is currently available with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, located in Missoula, Montana. Remote participation will 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.

 The Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) is part of the Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program of the Rocky Mountain Research Station. The Rocky Mountain Research Station works at the forefront of science to improve the health and use of our Nation's forests and grasslands, and the FEIS supports this mission by transferring scientific information about fire and ecology to managers, specialists, and planners. The FEIS (, supports fire and natural resource management by providing accessible syntheses of information on the effects of fire on individual species and ecosystems. The FEIS contains approximately 1,100 syntheses/literature reviews (i.e., Species Reviews) covering 1,167 taxa in the United States. Species Reviews include information on plant and wildlife species’ life history, ecology, and relationship to fire, and are widely used by federal, state, and local government employees and by students, researchers, and the general public. Of the Species Reviews covered in the FEIS, about half of them are 20 years old, making them less helpful to natural resource managers and specialists. 

Research ProjectUnder the guidance of a mentor and FEIS staff, the participant will be involved in updating out-of-date Species Reviews, which will be reviewed and edited by the FEIS editors and then published online. FEIS staff will mentor the participant in how to synthesize scientific publications from hundreds of sources and how to clearly write scientific literature reviews to be published in the FEIS. 

Learning ObjectivesThe participant will gain valuable skills in accessing, analyzing, critiquing, and synthesizing scientific literature (mostly ecological and fire-related) and in writing clearly and concisely to help managers use the best available science when making management decisions. As a part of the Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program in the Missoula Fire Science Laboratory, the participant will also be exposed to all types of fire science. 

MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Ilana Abrahamson ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: April 10, 2023; start date is flexible 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 of approximately $4,500 and a health insurance supplement 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, or be currently pursuing a doctoral degree. Degree must have been received within the past twenty years.

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience writing at least one peer-reviewed scientific publication
  • Experience reading and critiquing scientific publications, especially related to fire ecology
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Ability to synthesize scientific literature
  • Field experience in ecology and/or fire management
  • Careful attention to detail
  • Ability to conduct research independently and as a member of a team
Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree received within the last 240 months or currently pursuing.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Earth and Geosciences (5 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (8 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (11 )