A Postdoctoral Research Associate position is available in the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, with work location to be determined. Teleworking may be an option. The project offers a unique opportunity to work at the intersection between research and active policy development. The project funded by the Washington State Legislature, aims to evaluate existing models to estimate carbon sequestration from organic waste-derived soil amendment application to agricultural soils, road-test their applicability in Washington State, and recommend next steps that outline a path towards developing more advanced mechanisms to support funding for carbon sequestration from Washington’s organic wastes. Additional funding to support the position comes from the Soil Health Initiative, a state-funded plan for research, extension, and demonstration of soil health best management practices in Washington State. The postdoctoral researcher will:
- Review existing mechanisms currently being used or proposed in the U.S. to provide funding for carbon sequestration on agricultural lands, and the models/methods being proposed to quantify the carbon sequestration benefit within these frameworks.
- Catalog existing Washington State soil carbon data collected on agricultural sites, including those receiving organic amendments, and explore their potential use to evaluate the applicability of and / or tune these models/methods to Washington State data.
- Road test the most promising models/methods using existing soil carbon data from Washington State.
- As time allows modify existing tools applicable within the context of Washington State.
- Publish findings in peer reviewed manuscripts
- Provide a report to the Washington State Legislature summarizing the work and laying out a roadmap for continued progress.
The postdoctoral researcher will also interact periodically with a stakeholder advisory group and communicate with Conservation Commission staff and other WSU researchers to ensure that programs being developed to encourage soil health-building practices (part of the Sustainable Fields and Farms program) and Long-Term Agricultural Research sites (part of the Washington Soil Health Initiative) incorporate relevant data collection and/or insights as indicated by their work.
The position will be funded through March 30, 2023, with a report to the Washington State Legislature due December 2022. The position will work under the supervision of Dr. Karen Hills at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, and with collaborators Dr. Kirti Rajagopalan (WSU Department of Biological Systems Engineering), Dr. Deirdre Griffin (WSU Department of Crops and Soils), Chris Benedict (WSU Extension), Georgine Yorgey and Chad Kruger of the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources.