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USFS Postdoctoral Fellowship in Sustainable Forest Management Research

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A postdoctoral fellowship opportunity is available with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Sustainable Forest Management Research (SFMR) staff area, located at the Agency’s National Headquarters in Washington, DC. The candidate has the option to work remotely or at the Washington Office.

SFMR is located within the National Headquarters of USFS Research and Development (R&D). R&D is committed to impactful science, effective delivery, and organizational synergy. R&D’s contributions to the Forest Service and to the broader natural resource community are based on our scientific excellence in the foundational research areas of forest and grassland health; forest soils, air quality, and hydrology; and silviculture and ecology, including forest ecology, fire ecology, and fish & wildlife ecology. These foundational disciplines are essential to our leadership in addressing the agency’s national research priorities. The SFMR Staff Area in Washington, D.C. includes national program leads on many of these foundational research areas, including silviculture, climate change, wildland fire and fuels, invasive species and forest pathology, genetics, air resources, and more.

Research ProjectThe fellow will have the opportunity to engage with National Program Leads in these research areas to collaborate on science delivery initiatives and research coordination efforts from regional to national levels. These initiatives may include: National Assessments of disciplinary topics from the research areas; Science Communities of Practice; Reports and White Papers on recent research activities spanning the foundational research areas; Analyses of potential outcomes around wildland fire risk reduction, climate-smart management activities, and more. The fellow will gain exposure to research-management collaborations that span deputy areas of the Forest Service, including the National Forest System and State & Private Forestry.
Specific projects available for the fellow to collaborate on will be tailored to their skill set and expertise. Ongoing projects include:

  • Landscape fuels treatment research, including analytical techniques to quantify social and ecological outcomes when wildfires burn into different types of fuel treatments under different conditions.
  • Developing an information architecture for fire science, documenting research tools, decision support tools, datasets and dashboards, and how they connect to support wildland fire research and management
  • Researching and synthesizing uses for small-diameter and low-value woody material stemming from treatments to make forests more resilient to wildfire, drought, insects and disease, and other 21st century forest management challenges and opportunities.
  • Developing landscape-scale information and decision support tools to prioritize climate adaptation activities
  • Collaborating on pathology, entomology, and invasive species related research initiatives and documents.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop leadership skills by assisting in planning, coordination, and implementation of meetings around various thematic elements within a foundational research area 
  • Understand and facilitate interactions at the intersection between science and land management.
  • Strengthen and apply techniques used for data collection, integration, and analysis. This includes conducting scientific syntheses, data mining, database development, and working within governmental knowledge support systems.
  • Enhance science 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, and briefing papers.

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 mentor for this opportunity is Jens T. Stevens, National Program Lead for Wildland Fire & Fuels Research ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October 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 $70,000 - $90,000 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 doctoral degree in a relevant field (e.g., Forestry, Natural Resource Science/Management, Ecology, Ecosystem Science, Environmental Conservation/Science, Horticulture, Agroforestry, Earth Sciences, Science Policy), or be currently pursuing the degree with completion by December 31, 2022.

Preferred skills:

  • Demonstrated research experience with forest management topics, including but not limited to forestry, ecology, wildland fire, silviculture, invasive species, pathology, entomology, climate adaptation, and biodiversity conservation.
  • Strong quantitative skills with experience analyzing complex datasets, interpreting output and generating clearly understandable tables and graphics that convey accurate and compelling interpretations. Some coding, data visualization, and/or research database management skills (e.g., in R, Python, or SQL) preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively communicate and work with diverse stakeholders
  • Experience presenting on natural resource topics
  • 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