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Job ID: 207410

Assistant Project Scientist - Climate and Vegetation Dynamics Energy and Resources Group
University of California Berkeley

Date Posted Mar. 17, 2023
Title Assistant Project Scientist - Climate and Vegetation Dynamics Energy and Resources Group
University University of California Berkeley
Berkeley, CA, United States
Department Rausser College of Natural Resources
Application Deadline 04/17/2023
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Research Scientist/Associate
  • Environmental Science & Ecology

Assistant Project Scientist - Climate and Vegetation Dynamics Energy and Resources Group

Position overview Position title: Assistant Project Scientist
Salary range: The UC academic salary scales set the minimum pay determined by rank and step at appointment. See the following table(s) for the current salary scale(s) for this position: A reasonable estimate for this position is $68,400 - $87,000.

Percent time: 100%

Anticipated start: Spring 2023

Position duration: The initial appointment will be for one year with the possibility of extension based on performance and availability of funding.

Application Window
Open date: March 16, 2023

Next review date: Friday, Mar 31, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Monday, Apr 17, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

The Energy and Resources Group (ERG) within the Rausser College of Natural Resources (RCNR) at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) seeks applications for an Assistant Project Scientist to further understanding of how climate change and disturbance processes affect vegetation and ecosystem dynamics.

The appointee will work with the Kueppers Lab, which works across tropical, temperate and alpine ecosystems using dynamic regional models and fieldwork to inform stewardship of ecosystems under climate pressure.

As climate change begins to affect a wide range of ecosystems there are key challenges ahead. These include anticipating and understanding potential ecological consequences, developing management options to limit negative outcomes, and quantifying the potential for ecosystems to draw down atmospheric carbon in addition to maintaining other ecoclimatic benefits.

To address these challenges, the Kueppers lab integrates data from climate change experiments and diverse observations into dynamic models of vegetation and ecosystem change. This requires simultaneous consideration of changes in temperature, water balance, CO2 and disturbance regimes, as well as the plant functional diversity within ecosystems that can buffer ecosystem scale response.

The appointee will play a central role in testing, applying and developing a cutting-edge dynamic, demographic, vegetation model of Western U.S. ecosystems and fire regimes. The modeling framework is the Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES) (see link), which is embedded within the CTSM land surface model, and includes an adapted version of the SPITFIRE model of fire behavior.

The appointee will work with collaborators at multiple Universities and National Laboratories to utilize high-resolution regional atmospheric forcing and evaluate model output with synthesized in situ and remotely sensed observations.

On a day to day basis, the employee will conduct and communicate important original research through some combination of each of the following: synthesizing and analyzing data; running and interpreting model simulations; taking the lead in writing presentations, proposals and progress reports; mentoring and co-mentoring students; giving presentations to a range of audiences; organizing project team meetings; and talking with scientists, land managers and policy makers to inform research objectives. The employee may also supervise research assistants and develop and submit original research proposals.

Goals of the current project include simulating ecological effects of historic management and atmospheric change to understand how compounding drivers interact to produce current vegetation structure, and simulating the response of ecosystem carbon and severe wildfire risk to alternative fuel management and climate scenarios.

Future projects will be developed jointly to address gaps in observations of post-fire vegetation regeneration under climate change and interactions between forest structure and hydrology among other topics.

In addition to pursuing novel and impactful research, the appointee is expected to lead and contribute to grant proposals, mentor graduate and undergraduate students, coordinate multi-institutional collaborations, and cultivate relationships with policy makers, land managers and others invested in the future of Western U.S. ecosystems.

Project Scientist Salary Scale (Table 37B):

UCNet Labor Contract:

Functionally Assembled Terrestrial Ecosystem Simulator (FATES):

Basic qualifications (required at time of application)
PhD (or equivalent international degree)

Preferred qualifications

  • PhD and at least two years of Postdoctoral experience in Earth System Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Geography, Earth Science, Atmospheric Science or a related field
  • Demonstrated ability to produce and effectively communicate high quality scientific results, as evidenced by a track record of publications in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Expertise in disturbance ecology, wildland fire, forest dynamics, landscape ecology, or global change ecology
  • Familiarity with ecological theory and/or systems-based modeling approaches
  • Working knowledge of quantitative analysis techniques for large ecological or environmental datasets, such as remotely sensed data products, eddy covariance time-series, or forest inventory time-series
  • Experience coding in Fortran, R, Python, or Matlab and utilizing high-performance computing
  • Proficiency in executing process-based vegetation model simulations to test hypotheses
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a team
  • Demonstrated ability to mentor junior scholars
  • Demonstrated ability to engage with diverse individuals working in natural resource conservation and management
  • Evidence of contributions to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in professional settings

Application Requirements

Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Statement of Research - 2 pages suggested
  • Cover Letter (Optional)
  • Statement on Contributions to Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - 1 page suggested

    Statement on your contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including information about your understanding of these topics, your record of activities to date, and your specific plans and goals for advancing equity and inclusion if hired at Berkeley (for additional information go to

Reference requirements

  • 3 required (contact information only)

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Campus Information

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are core values at UC Berkeley. Our excellence can only be fully realized by faculty, students, and academic and non-academic staff who share our commitment to these values. Successful candidates for our academic positions will demonstrate evidence of a commitment to advancing equity, inclusion, and belonging.

The University of California, Berkeley is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

In searches when letters of reference are required all letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service or career center), to the UC Berkeley statement of confidentiality prior to submitting their letter.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California Policy on Vaccination Programs - With Updated Interim Amendments. All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine Primary Series or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, Religious Objection, and/or Deferral based on pregnancy or recent COVID-19 diagnosis and/or treatment) no later than the applicable deadline. All Covered Individuals must also provide proof of receiving the most recent CDC-recommended COVID-19 booster or properly decline such booster no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees should refer to Exhibit 2, Section II.C. of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Attachment for applicable deadlines. All Covered Individuals must also provide proof of being Up-To-Date on seasonal influenza vaccination or properly decline such vaccination no later than the applicable deadline. Please refer to the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program Attachment. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

Positions that are represented by a collective bargaining unit or agent have particular contracts. For more information, please refer to the relevant contract: Lecturer (IX) contract, Postdoctoral (PX) contract, Academic Researcher (RA) contract, and Librarian (LX ) contract. Questions about represented positions can be directed to the hiring unit.

Job location
Berkeley, CA

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