Postdoctoral Fellow, Soil Science, Soil Physics, Soil Mechanics

Reno, Nevada (US)
DRI salaries are competitive and commensurate with qualifications. This position is eligible for DRI
Sep 21, 2017
Oct 21, 2017
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The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is an environmental sciences research organization within the Nevada System of Higher Education.  DRI is seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow with expertise in the general areas of soil hydrology, soil physics, and soil mechanics to support currently funded projects.  Current project efforts are focused on developing systematic relations among landform type, soil physical properties, surface condition, and vegetative cover that can provide realistic prediction or estimation of basic soil properties, especially soil strength, soil moisture, and soil dust emission in both the soil surface and soil sub-surface. 

We seek scientists with knowledge, experience, or interest in two or more of the following technical areas:

  1. Design, operation, and data analysis of field- and laboratory-based systems for monitoring soil mass-energy balance (e.g. soil moisture, temperature, dielectric, weather parameters; operation/programming of data loggers, processing of collected data). 
  2. Development and/or operation of field and laboratory experiments to measure parameters effecting soil strength and soil mechanics (e.g. cone penetrometer, soil moisture meters/probes, soil density gauge, use of tension infiltrometers, related methods to measure soil hydrologic parameters).
  3. Analytical operations in a soil laboratory, including a wide range of soil physical (e.g. laser-optical particle-size determination, bulk density, sieving), chemical analysis (e.g. soluble extracts, pH, mineral extractions, XRF), and hydrologic (e.g. moisture release curves, calibration of soil moisture probes, moisture-based thermal parameters).  Ability to learn methods of data QA/WC and related data analysis and preparation or reports is essential.
  4. Numerical modeling of soil hydrologic and physical properties using existing software (e.g., Hydrus, Rosetta, SHAW, SSiB).
  5. Analytical field- and laboratory operations to characterize the propagation of electromagnetic wave propagation in soil systems (e.g. GPR, ground conductivity meter).
  6. Analysis of soil thermal properties.
  7. Ability to assist with conversion of field, laboratory, and field monitoring data into tables and figures for reports and publications (e.g. Excel, SigmaPlot, SigmaStat, SYSTAT.
  8. Ability to work with programing languages as R, Python, and MatLab.


  • US citizenship
  • PhD in soil science, geophysics, hydrology, geoscience, or related fields in engineering (e.g., geologic, environmental) from an accredited institution
  • Experience in two of more of the research areas of Soil Science, Soil Physics, or Soil Mechanics
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Evidence of the ability to participate in collaborative, team-based oriented research
  • Self-starter who can take direction but does not require it
  • Ability to work independently to fulfill project goals and meet project deadlines
  • Able to work extended hours in the field (often in remote locations) and travel as required
  • Able to hand carry field equipment (up to 40 lbs) and collected samples across variable terrain. Conduct field data collects including use of shovels, picks, augers, and technical equipment to measure soil properties related to morphology, strength, and moistureValid driver’s license and driving record that allows the ability to access a US instillation


DRI salaries are competitive and commensurate with qualifications. This position is eligible for DRI’s benefits package and relocation assistance.     



Qualified individuals interested in this position must apply online at To ensure full consideration, your application package should be received by October 15, 2017.


Further information on DRI can be obtained at  For questions regarding this position, please call the recruitment office at 775-673-7332.

DRI is an AA/EEO employer who gives consideration in employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Individuals with disabilities or protected veteran status are encouraged to apply.