Lead Scientist

Truckee, CA is preferred
$65,000-$75,000 depending on experience
Nov 29, 2018
Jan 29, 2019
Job Level
Mid level
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type

Conservation Science Partners (CSP; csp-inc.org) seeks a Lead Scientist who will provide analytical and project management leadership and support as part of a team of ecologists for landscape and conservation planning projects. Most projects focus on US and North American terrestrial ecosystems, but may include freshwater systems, as well as interactions with human systems (e.g., land use, water use, protected areas, social networks). The work requires highly creative quantitative thinking based on in situ and remotely sensed data, computer modeling, and advanced inferential techniques. Outcomes of projects are designed to explain ecological phenomena and lead to tools and strategies decision-makers can use. This position will likely emphasize active or future projects involving: modeling the ecology (and phenology) of fuels and fire in arid systems, applied statistics, mathematics, machine learning methods, ecological data science, and species habitat modeling. The individual in this position will work with others at CSP to help promote a culture of diversity, creativity, innovation, and experimentation.

About Conservation Science Partners. CSP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit scientific collective established to meet the analytical and research needs of diverse stakeholders in conservation projects. Our mission is to apply human ingenuity to the preservation of species, populations, and ecosystems using scientific principles, innovative approaches, and lasting partnerships with conservation practitioners. We connect the best minds in conservation science to solve problems in a way that’s comprehensive, flexible, and service-oriented.

Organizational Values and Culture. Since 2015, CSP has put a special emphasis on innovation and creative co-leadership. Through staff workshops and retreats; collaborative Innovation Labs; cross-sector outreach and trainings; and staff-driven technical and facilitative approaches, we seek ways to increase our creativity, efficiency, and effectiveness, while enjoying the process.

Our core values include scientific and technical excellence and integrity; diversity, equity, and inclusion; creativity and innovation in practice and products; respectful co-production of knowledge; engagement with social justice; and connection to the living world.

In particular, we are committed to realizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all we do. We intend to actively pursue projects that directly involve communities of color and diverse international partners, address disparate impacts of environmental change, and support social justice. We have begun a process to ensure that such goals come alive, recognizing the sustained attention, learning, and long-term commitment that this requires. An effort to further define our collective values is also underway, as is a commitment to evaluating our projects in light of our values.

Our culture stems from highly skilled, independent people working in dynamic collaboration to implement quality projects while imagining the future shape, form, and landscape of conservation partnerships. Our staff includes artists, musicians, athletes, collectors, mechanics, and people pursuing other passions beyond conservation. As a group, we are candid and embrace respectful communication, intellectual independence, intentional collaboration across a dispersed network, personal accountability, ownership of quality and joy in our work, and adaptability and resilience.

Core responsibilities and skills: This position focuses on technical and analytical capacity, and also involves direct communication with clients and partners. We also welcome the broader complement of knowledges and skills that stem from applicants’ professional and life experience.

  • Implementing or developing tools to estimate and map fire behavior and threat (e.g., risk, hazard, connectivity) to natural and human systems, based on existing fuels and fire modeling applications or novel approaches in this area of research.
  • Conducting advanced statistical and spatial analyses using the Python and R programming languages.
  • Model fitting and evaluation (either using machine learning methods or inferential statistics, e.g., maximum likelihood or Bayesian parameter estimation methods).
  • Working with cloud-based computing environments/APIs (e.g., Google Earth Engine, Microsoft Azure) and online repositories for code (e.g., GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket); using data wrangling/munging skills for large datasets.
  • Contributing to the design, development, and management of multiple projects simultaneously; liaising with multiple academic and agency partners or clients, among others.
  • Developing or supporting manuscripts, reports, proposals, professional presentations, and science communication tools that may broaden the audience that our products typically reach.
  • Demonstrated capacity to work in creative collaboration with diverse partners.
  • Linking quantitative analyses and models to the development of land management strategies; engaging stakeholders and end-users early-on and iteratively in research (i.e., drawing on concepts of ‘user-centered design’) to ensure scientific outputs are actionable.

Additional responsibilities and desired skills (or a willingness and aptitude to receive training):

  • Experience working with diverse communities and non-traditional conservation partners.
  • Familiarity with additional programming languages, such as JavaScript or Julia.
  • Deriving or utilizing remotely sensed and other spatially referenced data (e.g., Landsat, PRISM) originating from multiple sources.
  • Applied experience in mathematics, data visualization, and web application development.
  • Experience with one or more of the following is a plus: sampling design, the implementation of field sampling efforts, or fire ecology and fuels in forested or arid ecosystems.
  • Prior experience hiring and overseeing field crews also desirable.

Required qualifications: MS or PhD in ecology, conservation biology, or a related field AND a minimum of three years of research or professional experience. 

Application deadline and expected start date. Priority will be given to complete applications received by December 14, 2018, with screening to begin soon thereafter, interviews in December, and an ideal start date on or before January 28, 2019.

Location. We prefer the position to be based at our office in Truckee, CA, 30 minutes from Reno, NV. The Reno-Truckee area offers a high quality of life near natural beauty, a vibrant evolving city, outdoor recreation, excellent educational institutions, and a convenient international airport.

Compensation. The Lead Scientist salary range is $65,000-$75,000 depending on experience. We offer a comprehensive group medical, dental, and vision insurance package; retirement benefits; and professional growth and advancement opportunities.

How to apply. Please email a cover letter explaining how your goals, skills, and experience fit the core responsibilities of the role and please also describe how your broader knowledges and experiences can contribute to our organizational culture and values. Include the names and contact information of at least three relevant professional references, as well as your CV, and send to: hiring@csp-inc.org. Your cover letter, reference list, and CV should be compiled and sent as a single PDF file. Please indicate LEAD SCIENTIST in the subject line.

The full position description can also be found here: http://www.csp-inc.org/public/CSP_Lead_Scientist_Position_Announcement_112018.pdf

CSP is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, creed, veteran status, parental status, or marital status in its programs and activities. We recognize that diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences can only enrich our community and our conservation mission and goals. As part of our intentional efforts to increase inclusivity, equity, diversity, and justice, we encourage applicants from underrepresented groups in conservation, e.g., those who identify as women or non-binary, LGBTQ+, are people of color, or represent any combination of these and other identities.