Open RA / TA Positions and Graduate Funding
The College of Natural Resources offers a number of opportunities for awarding competitive funding to graduate students.
Also, each semester the Departments within the College have several teaching assistantships available for meritorious graduate students. Some of these teaching assistantships include a waiver of resident tuition and fees. If you are interested in potentially becoming a teaching assistant please discuss this option with your intended graduate advisor.
The faculty within the College do also offer Research Assistantships associated with funded projects. If you are interested, please view these announcements.
Open Research and Teaching Assistantships
The Intermountain Forestry Cooperative (IFC) at the University of Idaho is seeking a Ph.D. candidate with an interest in remote sensing, forest biometrics and silviculture. The student will stem map a network of IFC thinning trials across Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Stem mapped plots will evaluate growth and yield (G&Y) at both the tree and stand level, utilizing traditional field measurements and a variety of space and air-based remote sensing platforms. The candidate should be well versed in R or similar analytical/programming language, have a solid understanding of statistics, and is willing to obtain a drone pilot license. Project analytics will be used to develop algorithms for refining G&Y height/diameter/crown relationships as related to silviculture treatment responses and remote sensing products.
Start date is flexible, but no later than August 23rd, 2021. The student will be based in Moscow, ID at the University of Idaho. This assistantship includes a competitive stipend through research and teaching assistantships. Tuition waivers are available. The student will be expected to report semi-annually to project partners and present their research at national conferences. They will also have opportunities to present their findings to local and regional forest managers and publish in peer-reviewed journals.
Required qualifications include a M.S. degree in Forestry, Biometrics, or related discipline. This project requires extensive field work across the Intermountain West, ability to work individually as well as team environments and work across varying terrain and inclement weather. Applicants must have a valid U.S. driver’s license. The student must be able to pass a criminal background check and become qualified to drive University of Idaho vehicles, including ATVs.
To apply, applicants should send a single PDF file to Dr. Mark Kimsey (email@example.com) that contains the following: 1) cover letter expressing their interest in the position, 2) CV, 3) unofficial transcripts, 4) GRE scores, 5) contact information for three professional or academic references, and 6) examples of past research publications. Applications must be received no later than March 11th to meet University of Idaho AY 2021 application deadlines.
Ph.D. Assistantships in Fire Science and Ecology evaluating the effectiveness of fuel breaks in mitigating size and risk of damaging wildfires and the fuel break ecological impacts in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. Dr. Eva Strand and Dr. Tim Prather in the University of Idaho Rangeland Center are seeking a highly motivated PhD student in Natural Resources at the Department of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences and Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Idaho.
The successful applicant would conduct research that involves vegetation and fuel sampling in the field, spatial and statistical analysis of data from past interactions of fuel breaks and fire, modeling of fire behavior using existing tools and decision support systems, and conduct plant community analysis within and around fuel breaks. The successful applicant will provide evidence of experience with some aspect of computer modeling and spatial analysis, vegetation sampling, and utilize herbicides for annual grass management and ability to work in natural areas. The successful applicant will also provide evidence of good communication skills both written and oral.
The successful candidate will be working in an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students evaluating the effects of fuel break types on fire mitigation, plant community ecology, and the rural economy. The team collaborates closely with research partners including the Bureau of Land Management and the local ranching community of southern Idaho. The project is funded by the Joint Fire Science Program.
The PhD assistantship has a starting date of January 2021. The assistantships include a stipend of $21,000-24,000 per annum. To apply, please email Eva Strand (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tim Prather (email@example.com) with a cover letter describing your research interests, goals and relevant experience, a complete CV, college transcripts, GRE scores and contact information of three referees.
Review of applications will begin immediately, and the position is scheduled to remain open until a suitable candidate is found. After the selection, the successful candidate will apply to be admitted to the College of Graduate Studies of the University of Idaho with the earliest start date of January 2021; information about the application procedure is available online.
The Policy Analysis Group at the University of Idaho is accepting applications for potential Ph.D. and M.S. research assistantships. We are looking for highly qualified candidates committed to pursuing graduate degrees focused on policy analysis and economic applications in natural resources. Potential topics vary and may include evaluation of state wildfire funding mechanisms and policy responses; modeling forest product sector markets; modeling the economic contribution of natural resources to state economies; understanding the impacts of drought, wildfire, and other disturbances on communities and corresponding policy responses. For more information contact Dr. Dennis Becker or Dr. Greg Latta.
The Department of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences at the University of Idaho is accepting applications for potential Ph.D. graduate research and teaching assistants. Competitive stipend and tuition packages are available. We are looking for highly motivated candidates committed to pursue research that may include fieldwork, laboratory research, computer modeling, and/or stakeholder engagement. Topics could include: biogeochemical cycling, ecology, fire sciences, forest biometrics, silviculture, forest operations, forest entomology and pathology, forest policy, hydrology, rangeland sciences, restoration and regeneration, remote sensing and GIS, renewable materials, tribal and traditional knowledge, among others. For more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife Sciences at the University of Idaho is accepting applications for potential Ph.D. graduate research and teaching assistants. Competitive stipend and tuition packages are available. We are looking for highly motivated candidates committed to pursue research that may include fieldwork, laboratory research, computer modeling, and/or stakeholder engagement. Topics could include: avian ecology, animal and fish ecology, conservation biology, endangered species, fisheries sciences and aquaculture, limnology, molecular genetics, tribal and traditional knowledge, wildlife sciences, among others. For more details, please contact email@example.com.
The Department of Natural Resources and Society at the University of Idaho seeks exceptional M.S. and Ph.D. applicants to begin graduate study during the 2020-2021 academic year. Our students and faculty engage in integrative research exploring the coupling of human and natural systems, with projects spanning theory and application. Our department has an excellent track record of alumni gaining leadership positions across a wide spectrum of environmental and natural resource fields.
Please see below for our list of project opportunities. For some projects research assistantships are available, and for some projects financial support is available via teaching assistantships. We encourage you to learn more by first visiting individual faculty webpages, then directly contacting faculty before applying. We look forward to hearing from you.
Research Themes and Project Opportunities:
- Wildland fire and resource management
(Faculty advisor: Travis Paveglio):
Projects examine the interactions between wildfire planning, land management agency practices, and policy in fostering human adaptation to wildfire across the U.S. West. Examples include:
- Examining how human communities are organizing or partnering to plan for potential wildfire impacts or the reintroduction of prescribed fire on landscapes.
- Collaboration or conflict surrounding the planning for or implementation of fuels reduction treatments on public and private lands.
- Recovery from impactful wildfire events and their affect on communities or land management practices.
- Emerging policy tools or incentives seeking to foster cross-boundary management of wildfire at landscape scales.
- Investigating legacies of land use change
(Faculty advisor: Mary Engels):
Projects seek to elucidate the legacies of human caused land-use change on natural resources. Examples include:
- Investigating the relationship between urbanization and plastic pollution of Inland Northwest waters.
- Examining coconut legacies in tropical island ecosystems using remote sensing techniques.
- Recreation management and Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSRs)
(Faculty advisor: Travis Paveglio):
Data collected for these projects are intended to inform recreation management on public lands and explore private-public partnerships surrounding Wild and Scenic River management. Examples include:
- Recreation surveys and other documentation of visitor use activities to adaptively plan for changing recreation needs or challenges.
- Public involvement in federal land management decisions surrounding outdoor recreation.
- Exploring successful and unsuccessful agency-private collaborations surrounding Wild and Scenic Rivers, including the exploration of how WSRs benefit local communities.
- Making drought data more accessible and useful to stakeholders across the northern Rockies
(Faculty advisor: Chloe Wardropper):
- Conduct co-produced social science research with landowners and landscape management organizations to make drought data more useful and salient. This work represents two simultaneous projects in the northern Rockies region, one focused on rangelands management, and the other on tourism and recreation.
- Human dimensions of fish and wildlife conservation
(Faculty Advisor: Kenneth Wallen):
- Use social and behavioral science theory and methods to examine (a) norms, rules, and institutions; (b) cognitive, social, and policy processes; (c) individual and group dynamics; or (d) behavior change and behavior-centered design in the context of game management and wildlife conservation (potentially in collaboration with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game).
- Services and tradeoffs in the human dimensions of agroecosystems
(Faculty advisor: J.D. Wulfhorst):
Projects examine the ecosystem service challenges to provision resources need for food and forage production while attending to resource conservation and sustainability needs. Research designs may have case sites as well as connectivity within LTAR – the Long Term Agroecosystem Research network. Examples include:
- Investigating trends of rural community stability and cohesion in food production landscapes grappling with challenges of emigration, climate fluctuation, and new social risks (e.g., opioids).
- Examining core indicators of rural prosperity and community well-being tied to risks and sustainability within the U.S. food production system. Focal areas may concentrate on rangelands or crop production aspects of food and fiber demands.
- Design of secondary data analyses to construct an ‘atlas’ of human dimensions aspects within services and tradeoffs of agroecosystems. Outcomes of this approach will concentrate on measurable impacts within sustainable intensification as the longterm network evolves.
- Climate change and natural resource resilience
(Faculty advisor: Mary Engels):
Projects look at factors impacting of natural resource resilience to changing climate. Examples include:
- Investigating the resilience and vulnerability of island ecosystems (both physical and ecological islands, etc.) to climate change.
- Examining the saline soil remediation potential of coconut and date palms and their suitability for long-term soil salinity management.
- Climate change and community resilience
(Faculty advisors: Jaap Vos, Karla Eitel, Teresa Cohn):
- Fifty years ago, Ian McHarg published “Design with Nature”. In this book McHarg argued that communities should be developed based on an understanding of the local environment rather than the individual whims and desires of local property owners. According to McHarg planners needed a solid background in the natural sciences and use ecological knowledge as way of thinking and goal setting. According to McHarg, everything connected to everything. With the increasing impacts of climate change, McHarg’s ideas are now even more relevant to planning but they are oddly enough still not at the center of either planning theory or education. In fact, the vast majority of planning schools are still teaching comprehensive planning, permitting and zoning with sidelines in urban design or public policy.
- We are looking for a student to do applied research to help us create a graduate certificate for planning professionals that is based on a strong foundation in ecology and connects natural resources and environmental change to community values, social needs and aspirations.
- Climate change, Whitebark pine ecophysiology, and science communication
(Faculty advisor team: Mark Wolfenden, Jan Eitel, Lee Vierling, Teresa Cohn, Karla Eitel):
- We are seeking a motivated Ph.D. student who is interested in studying climate change effects on ecosystems affected by Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) functioning. Whitebark pine is considered a keystone species in the Northern Rockies, playing a critical role in the lifecycle of other plants, mammals and insects; it has also been identified as a candidate for listing as an endangered species. The Ph.D. candidate will have access to a suite of chemical ecological, ecophysiological, and remote sensing tools and use these to study ecological communities impacted by Whitebark pine presence. As part of this project, the student will be working at remote field sites near McCall, Idaho and the University of Idaho’s Taylor Wilderness Research Station. The student will also work closely with U of I’s award-winning McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) to integrate and communicate research findings to a broader audience including K-12 students and teachers. The student will be advised by U of I MOSS faculty who have expertise in chemical ecology, remote sensing and education.
The Environmental Science Program at the University of Idaho is accepting applications for potential Ph.D. graduate research and teaching assistants. Competitive stipend and tuition packages are available. We are looking for highly motivated candidates committed to pursue research related to the intersection of biological, physical, and social sciences. Topics could include: biodiversity and evolution, climate and land use change, community and human dimensions, earth sciences, economics, ecology, energy, education, policy and regulations, food and fiber, human health, remote sensing and GIS, waste management, water resources, among others. For more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho is accepting applications for potential Ph.D. and M.S. graduate research and teaching assistants. Competitive stipend and tuition packages are available. We are looking for highly motivated candidates committed to pursue research related to remote sensing and spatial analysis of natural science disciplines that may include geographic information systems, landscape ecology, remote sensing, spatial ecology, etc. Disciplinary areas can cover disturbance ecology, forestry, fire sciences, rangeland sciences, fish and wildlife sciences, environmental sciences, land use policy and planning, among others. For more details, please contact email@example.com.
If your appointment as a teaching assistant, research assistant, or a combination equals 20 hours a week then the current policy of the University of Idaho is to waive non-resident tuition and fees. However, prior to accepting any offer we encourage to check with your intended graduate advisor as to what tuition or additional fees you may be responsible for.