The Natural Capital Project (NatCap), an ongoing collaboration among the University of Minnesota, Stanford University, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund, seeks an experienced researcher to work on the natural capital and ecosystem services value that golf courses provide in urban areas funded by the United States Golf Association (USGA).
This position will (1) complement existing sponsored projects funded by NatCap and (2) join a growing urban ecosystem services team at IonE with additional projects focused on quantifying urban ecosystem services (a collaborations with the Nature Conservancy) and understanding issues of governance and environmental justice in urban areas, a project funded by the EPA.
We seek a researcher with expertise in quantitative urban ecology, ecohydrology, and/or ecosystem services to join this collaboration. The position will be based at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE) and supervised by Dr. Eric Lonsdorf (Lead Scientist for NatCap at IonE), with additional oversight from Dr. Brian Horgan (Lead Scientist at the UMN Science of the Green Initiative) and collaboration with the larger project team at IonE NatCap, Science of the Green, and USGA.
ABOUT NATCAP & THIS PROJECT
The vision of NatCap is to promote integrating and valuing the benefits that nature provides people, also known as ecosystem services, into planning at all scales of development, from national scale to private and individual decisions. In that vein, IonE NatCap team is partnering with the USGA and the Science of the Green Initiative to integrate the potential economic, environmental, and social value of golf courses into facility management. Recognizing that the approximately 16,000 golf courses in the US represent a large portion of available green space in urban environments, there is increasing desire to align the use and maintenance of golf courses with a positive contribution to the environment and society.
MORE ABOUT THIS POSITION
We envision that this is the start of a 2-3 year project to quantify ecosystem services provided by golf courses in urban areas. In the first year, we plan to quantify the value of a single ecosystem service attribute for courses in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (TCMA). The project would then expand to include multiple services and multiple cities. In this first year, the researcher will be responsible for gathering necessary data, coordinating the work with the USGA, performing the analytical work by developing or applying a quantitative model and analyzing the chosen attribute’s socio-economic value to the public for each TCMA golf course.
The position is funded externally for at least one year. There may be an opportunity to extend the appointment for an additional 1-2 years depending on funding and performance, based on results from the first year pilot program with USGA. The researcher will be encouraged to collaborate on grants and pursue additional partnerships and funding opportunities through IonE and NatCap.
This is a Research 5 (job code 9742R5) P&A position.
APPLICATION PACKAGE REQUIREMENTS
Our favorite candidates are those who are not only capable of doing the work required of the position, but those who are most excited to be working at IonE. When applying, please ensure you include a customized cover letter, CV, reference list (minimum of 3 persons) and a copy of your most recent/relevant publication (if applicable). Your CV should include your publications, awards and field experience. Candidates should also address their potential to contribute to an academic community that maintains a diversity of people and perspectives as one of its core values.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities
40% Modeling of ecosystem services relevant to golf courses
Modeling to support the NatCap, Science of the Green, and USGA partnership on ecosystem services of golf courses
May require candidate to integrate diverse methods in spatial analysis, ecosystem services modeling, hydrology, and economics
Outcome of research investments should support a visualization tool for urban ecosystem services
25% Metric Development and Refinement
Development and refinement of ecosystem service metrics to be used to evaluate the value of golf courses in the Twin Cities
15% Project Management, Facilitation and Engagement
Facilitate or coordinate meetings, outreach, and capacity-building efforts with relevant stakeholders, academics, NGOs and other groups in the TCMA and broader golf community
Promote collaborations and improve the uptake and impact of the work
15% Communicating Results
Writing for peer reviewed publications, sharing findings and results about the project through presentations
5% Other project-related tasks as needed and assigned
Advanced degree (Master’s included) and one year research training in Ecology, Hydrology, Ecohydrology, Geography, Urban Planning, Economics, Engineering or related field
Strong quantitative skills and demonstrated proficiency with R, MatLab, python or another modeling or programming application.
Experience developing or using quantitative ecological and/or hydrological models.
Interest in applied conservation science and producing impactful and decision-relevant work.
Interest in and affinity for working in interdisciplinary research teams.
Effective and responsive team member with track record of successful collaborative engagements.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills and an ability to work both independently and collaboratively with researchers and practitioners from different backgrounds.
Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communications skills.
Demonstrated ability to follow through on project deliverables and communicate findings in high quality peer-reviewed journals.
Strong attention to detail, evidenced by prior research.
Research or work experience in urban ecosystems, urban hydrology, urban design, planning, engineering or urban sustainability.
Experience developing and applying ecological or economic models.
Familiarity with iTREE or InVEST software tools.
Experience with ArcGIS or other GIS software.
Demonstrated ability and/or desire to integrate results across interdisciplinary teams.
Experience facilitating workshops and meetings with diverse stakeholder perspectives.
Experience working with diverse non-academic audiences.
Experience supervising interns or undergraduate research assistants.
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.