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Staff Research Scientist, Geomorphologist

Reno, Nevada
Minimum starting salary is $50,239, depending on experience and education
Closing date
Apr 27, 2023

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) seeks a Geomorphologist or Soil Scientist at the Staff Research Scientist level to assist in the characterization of soils, geomorphology, and dust emission in support of current DoD funded projects at DRI.

This position involves the following research support activities:

  1. Assist in the analysis of soil surface conditions as related to dust emission potential, including field operation of the PI-SWERL (Portable in situ Wind Erosion Laboratory).
  2. Assist with field and laboratory data entry into spreadsheets and databases, as required, and provide additional project support to assist with analysis of soil, dust, geomorphic, and Quaternary geologic data.
  3. Provide support to field-oriented studies that require collection of soil and geomorphic data.
  4. Perform laboratory duties in the Quaternary Pedology and Soil Characterization Laboratory as directed.

In addition, the candidate should be familiar and comfortable with basic report writing and technical editing and be willing to learn how to collect instrument data, often in extreme environments. Other responsibilities may include assistance in a wide variety of Quaternary geologic and geomorphic projects as opportunities and needs arise. These efforts include producing Quaternary geology and soil maps, landform identification and characterization, soil and sediment sampling/description, sampling of materials for geochronology, geoarcheology and cultural resources identification, and general support of field research activities. This position is based in Reno, NV.

Required Qualifications

  • US Citizenship (Must have the ability to work on DoD instillations);
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology, Earth Science, or related field from an accredited institution;
  • Basic knowledge in geomorphology, Quaternary geology, or soil science;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Team player with diverse research interests and excellent interpersonal skills;
  • Demonstrated experience to independently conduct field-based geomorphic or soil science research.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master of Science Degree in Earth Sciences, Soil Science, or related fields from an accredited institution;
  • Experience using standard GIS software (e.g., ArcGIS Pro) and generating map products;
  • Demonstrated experience with soil mapping and performing field descriptions of geomorphic, stratigraphic, and/or soil morphologic properties;
  • Working knowledge of soil classification systems; Demonstrated experience or interest in performing laboratory analyses;
  • Demonstrated experience editing, compiling, and writing scientific reports and other scholarly products.

Conditions of Employment

  • Due to security requirements associated with accessing essential project sites and information, ALL applicants MUST be citizens of the United States.
  • Must be able to travel and to work in harsh field conditions for extended periods of time (i.e. southwest deserts in the summer, cold regions, tropical regions), walk/hike across uneven terrain, and ability to lift heavy equipment (40+ lbs.)


Minimum annual starting salary is $50,239 and is commensurate with experience and education. DRI offers a benefits package that includes health, dental, vision, and life insurance; including 15.50% retirement match, 24 annual leave days, beginning balance of 30 sick leave days, 11 paid holidays, educational benefits, and the choice of three health insurance plans that can be supplemented with flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts. Additionally, there is no state income tax and no social security deduction. This position is eligible for relocation assistance.

Organizational Summary

DRI is a recognized world leader in basic and applied environmental research. Committed to scientific excellence and integrity, DRI faculty, students who work alongside them, and staff have developed scientific knowledge and innovative technologies in research projects around the globe.

Since 1959, DRI’s research has advanced scientific knowledge on topics ranging from humans’ impact on the environment to the environment’s impact on humans. DRI’s impactful science and inspiring solutions support Nevada’s diverse economy, provide science-based educational opportunities, and inform policymakers, business leaders, and community members. With campuses in Las Vegas and Reno, DRI serves as the non-profit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

Application / Review Process

Please upload the following documents in the specified section of your application in Workday:

  1. A cover letter detailing your research experience, career goals, and project interests;
  2. A current curriculum vitae or resume;
  3. Contact information for three professional/work-related references, to be contacted at the appropriate phase of the recruitment process based on applicant permission.

Qualified individuals who meet all qualifications and requirements are encouraged to apply immediately and provide all required attachments to receive full consideration. Recruitment will close without notice when a sufficient number of applications are received, or a hiring decision has been made.

For more detailed information about DRI, please visit us at For questions regarding this position or assistance with your application, please email or call the recruiting office at 775-674-7114.

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