Postdoctoral Researcher

Position Overview

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher with a passion for water sustainability and socio-environmental research to contribute to a FFAR-funded project focused on feedbacks between soil health practices and hydrology. The postdoc will conduct detailed field-based research and data analysis to develop links between subsurface hydrology, soil health practices, and agricultural outcomes. Ultimately, this will help understand the potential benefits and limitations of soil health management. This role is part of a large, multi-institution, interdisciplinary collaborative project and will include collaboration with both industry and academic agronomists, agricultural engineers, microbial ecologists, and other disciplines. Thus, the ideal candidate would have strong technical skills for field-based research and data analysis, interest in applied research projects, and a desire to engage with an interdisciplinary team of researchers and stakeholders.

This position is based at the University of Kansas as part of the part of the HydroEcology of Anthropogenic Landscapes group (HEAL) supervised by Sam Zipper ( in the Kansas Geological Survey and the Department of Geology. The postdoc will also work with project collaborators at Kansas State University, Iowa State University, and other academic and industry partners involved in the project.

Starting Date: January 2025 (flexible and can be shifted earlier or later if needed)

Application Deadline: Review of applications will begin June 3, 2024.

Work Location: This position will work on-site at the Lawrence, KS campus with the possibility of a hybrid (remote and on-site work) schedule as deemed by the supervisor. The position will require occasional overnight travel to field sites, project meetings, and professional conferences (estimated 3-4 times annually).

Salary, Employment Status, and Fringe Benefits: This position has an expected salary of $55,000 annually. Other benefits include university staff privileges; up to 176 hours of paid vacation earned per year, 96 hours of sick leave earned per year, and nine paid holidays plus one discretionary day annually; group medical, vision, and dental insurance, life and disability insurance, and retirement program options. The initial appointment will be for one year with the expectation of renewal assuming satisfactory performance.

Position term: This position is contingent on funding.

Job Description

35%: Develop and maintain hydrologic monitoring network at field-based research sites.
35%: Use modeling tools and data analysis to conduct innovative soil hydrology research.
20%: Disseminate findings through conference presentations, publications, workshops, and open-source code.
10%: Service to discipline and institution.

Position Requirements

  1. Physical ability and willingness to work outdoors in all weather conditions.
  2. Driver’s license valid in Kansas (within 3 months of start date).

Required Qualifications

Evaluation of the following requirements will be made through (1) descriptions of research and educational experiences in cover letter, (2) record of accomplishments in resume/curriculum vitae, (3) information from professional references, and (4) transcripts.
  1. Ph.D. in a discipline related to hydrology, soil science, agriculture, and/or natural resources, conferred no more than 4 years prior to the start date.
  2. Experience with field-based research related to water and/or soils.
  3. Programming experience in R or a comparable language (Python, MATLAB, Julia, etc.).
  4. Experience working both independently and collaboratively.
  5. Strong communication skills as evidenced by peer-reviewed publications and/or conference presentations.

NOTE: To be appointed at the Postdoctoral Researcher title, it is necessary to have the PhD conferred at the time of hire. Appointments made without a diploma or certified transcript indicating an earned doctorate are conditional hires and are appointed on an interim basis not to exceed 6-months. Upon verification of degree the appointment will be extended to its full duration.

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Familiarity with agricultural management practices typical of the central U.S. as evidenced by application materials.
  2. Experience working as part of an interdisciplinary team.
  3. Experience with the installation, maintenance, and analysis of data from water table monitoring wells and/or soil moisture sensors.
  4. Familiarity with remote sensing methods, particularly related to evapotranspiration as evidenced by application materials.

Additional Candidate Instructions

Please submit the following materials:
  • Cover letter detailing interest in the position and fit with the required and preferred qualifications (max 3 pages)
  • CV including past educational and research experiences.
  • A peer-reviewed publication the applicant believes showcases their research interests and expertise.
  • Transcripts for undergraduate and/or graduate degrees (unofficial copies fine)
  • Contact information for three references

Review of applications begins June 3, 2024, and will continue until a qualified pool of applicants is identified.

Contact Information to Applicants

For additional information contact Sam Zipper,
For HR questions contact Annette Delaney,, 785-864-2152

Advertised Salary Range

$55,000 annually

Work Schedule

8a-5p, Monday through Friday

Application Review Begins

Monday June 3, 2024

Anticipated Start Date

Monday January 6, 2025

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Posting Information

  • Posting ID:  27741BR
  • Department:  Kansas Geological Survey
  • Primary Campus:  University of Kansas Lawrence Campus
  • Assignment:  Hybrid
  • Reg/Temp:  Regular
  • Employee Class:  U-Unclassified Professional Staff
  • Review Begins:  03-Jun-2024

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