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Hydrologic Land Surface Processes Modeler

Reno, Nevada (US)
Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications.
Closing date
Aug 8, 2021

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Hydrology, Interdisciplinary/Other
Career Level
Early Career (up to 10 years past degree)
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
Sector Type
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The Desert Research Institute is looking for an early to mid-career hydrologic process modeler with experience and interests in developing and applying numerical models to improve understanding of coupled hydrologic processes at the land surface. This position is designed to complement and expand existing expertise within DRI's Division of Hydrologic Sciences in the area of critical zone processes and earth system science including quantitative analysis of surface water flows and their linkages to ground water systems, evapotranspiration, ecosystem health, snowmelt and runoff processes.  

The position brings opportunities to collaborate with hydrogeologists, hydrogeochemists, soil scientists, hydrometeorologists and eco-hydrologists developing physical and numerical models in studies of complex natural systems. DRI operates as a bottoms-up, soft-money organization that removes barriers to conceiving, proposing and conducting collaborative work with a range of multi-disciplinary scientists and engineers, both within DRI as well as across academic, NGO, government, and commercial organizations. 

The opportunity for a talented, self-motivated candidate to innovate and advance earth systems science and engineering by establishing a research program of their own area of interest at DRI is extraordinary. This position comes with strong opportunities to work with scientists and engineers at the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) on modeling infiltration and runoff processes in basins having experienced wildfires and extending capabilities for simulating rain-on-snow events among other thematic topics.

Candidates are encouraged to review DRI’s research in hydrologic sciences (  and ) to identify links with existing research activities. Candidates are directed to provide information on how his/her/their research will complement DRI’s hydrologic research portfolio. The successful candidate will be required to participate in writing single and multi-investigator collaborative grant proposals and will have access to DRI’s high-performance computational resources for running large-scale simulations. The position comes with the opportunity to participate in teaching and advising roles in the Graduate Program in Hydrologic Sciences at the University of Nevada-Reno ( ) and/or the Water Resources Management program at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas ( ). 

Depending on qualifications and experience, this position may be filled as an Assistant (Rank 2) or Associate (Rank 3) Research Professor faculty level. The position can be located at DRI’s Reno or Las Vegas campuses and will comprise an integral part of DRI’s hydrologic processes modeling team.


Required Qualifications 

  • Ph.D. from an accredited institution in hydrology/hydrogeology, engineering, physics, applied mathematics or other related discipline.
  • Demonstrated success in conceiving and pursuing research programs and obtaining grants and/or contracts to support them.
  • Broad understanding and experience in hydrologic processes and the application of coupled process models (surface water, ground water, soil physics, overland flow) to researching and solving problems.
  • Experience with one or more coupled process codes such as GSSHA, HEC-HMS, ParFlow.
  • Experience in a programming language such as C++, FORTRAN, or Python.
  • Ability to effectively analyze and report research findings to sponsors, at professional meetings, and in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
  • Research focus that is complementary with existing DRI programs.
  • Excellent oral and written English-language communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Background in working with data collection teams and utilizing field data in modeling efforts.
  • Evidence of innovation and success in initiating and completing collaborative research programs in governmental, private sector, or university settings.
  • Experience with the MODFLOW family of codes including GSFLOW and MOFLOW-NWT.
  • Experience  with parameter estimation tools such as PEST, UCODE, or DAKOTA.
  • Expertise in pre- and post-processing of modeling workflows, including scripting, data visualization, and statistical analysis of model outputs.
  • Experience with high-performance computing.

Conditions of Employment

  • Employment is contingent upon a successful completion of a background check.
  • Continued employment will be dependent on the innovation, business development and project management efforts of the faculty to propose, win and complete contract work within a supportive administrative structure.
  • The position requires occasional fieldwork for short periods of time, in settings varying from urban to remote locations.


Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications.  Candidate will be hired at the track and rank that is comparable to candidate’s education, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities.  DRI offers a benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, 15.5% retirement match, 24 annual leave days, a beginning balance of 30 sick leave days, 11 paid holidays, tuition reduction at NSHE institutions for employee, spouse and dependents, and the option to participate in a flexible spending account or health savings account. Additionally, there is no state income tax and no social security deduction. This position is eligible for relocation assistance, and DRI allows for flexibility in remote working arrangements . 

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