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Two postdocs for social scientists (ecological decisions and human dimensions of ecological transformation)

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Dear colleagues,

I have two related projects for which I am hoping to hire a postdoctoral fellow in the near future. I am writing to ask your help identifying any soon to finish or recently finished students with the right set of skills and interests.

The postdoc would be working on two areas of research. One is well defined and will provide a chance to quickly get to data collection and products; the other is not yet defined and I envision working with the postdoc to shape it. More details:

  • “Developing and testing a rapid assessment method for identifying key social characteristics of ecological drought preparedness and decision making” – Operationalizing social science in cases where extensive field study is not feasible. A one page project description is attached


  • “Human dimensions of ecological transformation” – The USGS and our DOI partners have recognized the need to better understand human dimensions of ecological transformation, both on public lands in general and specifically within the context of drought. Within this general problem space, we anticipate there is an exciting opportunity for the postdoc to work with me, federal managers, and other federal natural and social scientists to define a project that meets agency needs and advances her/his research interests.

Problem Summary: Under some conditions that drive extensive ecological change (e.g., droughts, floods, heat waves, wildfire), attempting to maintain historic conditions may become infeasible or otherwise cost-prohibitive. These changes, particularly rapid ecological shifts, challenge traditional conservation strategies for managing habitats and species, threaten important infrastructure, and impair federal agencies’ ability to respond effectively. The envisioned project will help fill land and water managers’ need to understand a range of social aspects when responding to ecological transformation.

The right scholar would have the following characteristics:

  • PhD in a social science field, or interdisciplinary with strong social science methods skills
  • Experience and/or potential to independently develop a research project from ill-defined needs
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently at all phases of the research process – designing a study, collecting data, analyzing data, managing logistics, and producing written products
  • Experience working with practitioners, especially federal land management agencies and/or experience working with tribes
  • Collegial, collaborative and enthusiastic

We are planning to hire someone through the USGS Postdoctoral Fellow program, which provides generous compensation and federal benefits.

Please let me know if you have any students who might be a good fit.


Amanda Cravens


Amanda E Cravens, Ph.D.

Research Social Scientist

Social and Economic Analysis Branch

U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center

Phone: 970-226-9244

Mobile: 970-420-9892

Email: aecravens@usgs.gov

URL: https://www.usgs.gov/staff-profiles/amanda-e-cravens