Life Science Research Professional 2

California, United States
05 Oct 2019
End of advertisement period
05 Dec 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Natural Capital Project (NatCap) is a partnership among Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, The Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Stockholm Resilience Center. We are pioneering science, technology, and partnerships that enable people and nature to thrive. Among other things, we develop and apply tools (e.g., InVEST) to model and map the distribution of biodiversity and the flow of multiple ecosystem services across land- and seascapes. We seek a creative, collaborative, and talented life science research professional to 1) apply InVEST ecosystem service models in our engagements and 2) serve as a key member of our capacity-building team and help train practitioners around the world in using NatCap’s approaches and tools.

The life science research professional will compile input data for ecosystem service models; learn to use InVEST models; work within teams to elicit stakeholder input; perform routine spatial data analyses; test model outputs; create and maintain spatial databases; contribute maps, graphics, and text for reports summarizing methods and major findings; and present findings to stakeholders. In addition, this position will develop course material and deliver training to practitioners in the use of NatCap’s approach and tools. The specialist will work both independently and as part of a highly collaborative team. This position requires excellent technical, organizational, communication, and independent research skills, as well as an aptitude for teamwork and collaboration. The position likely includes travel to multiple times per year to interface with local partners, stakeholders, researchers, students, and practitioners. Please note this position is fixed-term for 12 months with a possibility of reappointment based on programmatic needs and funding availability. We prefer the position to be based in our office in Seattle, Washington, but will consider applicants interested in working from our office on campus at Stanford. 


Perform more complex functions and activities involved in defined research projects, and independently conduct a portion of the research project(s).


  • Independently conduct a portion of the research project(s). Make recommendations on experimental design and/or research direction to principal investigator.
  • Identify, review, format, and organize data.
  • Run InVEST models, summarize results.
  • Engage stakeholders to create scenarios;
  • Develop course material on the NatCap approach and tools;
  • Train practitioners on NatCap approach and tools.
  • Independently conduct complex (lab and/or field) experiments to gather data for a portion of a major research project.
  • Compile geographic data from a variety of sources including censuses, field observations, GPS, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, social media, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and existing maps.
  • Identify, assess, and display geographic relationships among varying types of data.
  • Interpret and analyze results, often where few guidelines exist, and make modifications to existing procedures and protocols.
  • Analyze and integrate spatial data for geographic statistics to incorporate into presentations, documents and reports, and training material.
  • Develop new research protocols where appropriate protocols are not described in the literature or where modification or adaptation of standard procedures and protocols is required.
  • Develop and maintain geospatial databases. Conduct research to locate and obtain existing databases. Correct data to ensure highest degree of accuracy.
    • Create new data products using GIS and related software (such as python, including pygeoprocessing that underlies our flagship InVEST software).
  • Modify, create, and test software scripts for automating the creation of data products including but not limited to algorithms for habitat and shoreline classification. 
  • Participate in multidisciplinary teams across different faculties or schools.
    • Work with team members and partners to identify data needs.
  • Collaborate with team members, join team and project calls, participate in project planning, and contribute to project deliverables.
  • Perform ongoing literature review to remain current with new procedures and related research; apply to ongoing research and development of new protocols.
  • Contribute substantively to the preparation of papers for publication, especially in the results section, and to publication of findings. Present ongoing work to colleagues and/or academic conferences.
  • Supervise (either formally or informally) staff or students as needed, including oversight and direction on techniques, as well as consultation on project work. Serve as a technical resource for other research staff.

* - Other duties may also be assigned

Other duties include:

  • Assist with planning capacity building workshops and trainings and outreach materials.
  • Serve as a primary partner for the NatCap Training Program Coordinator to scope, plan, and execute trainings, with a focus on the content of our courses.
  • Support NatCap’s virtual training program through updating our online course, conducting webinars, etc.
  • In collaboration with local partners, help to identify pathways for projects to continue building awareness and capacity to incorporate ecosystem service approaches into practice, identifying capacity and resource needs for these tools to be incorporated into future decision-making.


Education & Experience:

Bachelor's degree in related scientific field and two years of relevant work experience; or Master’s degree in a related scientific field. Preference is for an MS degree in Geography, Computational or Environmental Science with focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), new data technologies, and applications to conservation, development, or natural resource economics.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Comprehensive understanding of scientific principles.
  • General computer skills and ability to quickly learn and master computer programs, databases, and scientific applications.
  • Strong analytical skills and excellent judgment.
  • Ability to maintain detailed records of experiments and outcomes.
  • Ability to work under deadlines with general guidance is essential.
  • Excellent organizational skills and demonstrated ability to accurately complete detailed work.
  • Working knowledge of relevant GIS software and scripting languages

Certifications and Licenses:



  • Frequently stand, walk, twist, bend, stoop, squat, grasp lightly, use fine manipulation, grasp forcefully, perform desk-based computer tasks, use telephone, write by hand, lift, carry, push and pull objects weighing over 40 pounds.
  • Occasionally sit, kneel, crawl, reach and work above shoulders, sort and file paperwork or parts.
  • Rarely climb, scrub, sweep, mop, chop and mix or operate hand and foot controls.
  • Must have correctible vision to perform duties of the job.
  • Ability to bend, squat, kneel, stand, reach above shoulder level, and move on hard surfaces for up to eight hours.
  • Ability to lift heavy objects weighing up to 50 pounds.
  • Ability to work in a dusty, dirty, and odorous environment.
  • Position may require repetitive motion.

* - Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.


  • May require working in close proximity to blood borne pathogens.
  • May require work in an environment where animals are used for teaching and research.
  • Position may at times require the employee to work with or be in areas where hazardous materials and/or infectious diseases are present.
  • Employee must perform tasks that require the use of personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses and shoes, protective clothing and gloves, and possibly a respirator.
  • May require extended or unusual work hours based on research requirements and business needs.


  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.
  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University’s Administrative Guide,

The Natural Capital Project is operationally housed in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and is based at Stanford University.

We offer a competitive salary and benefits package, depending on experience and qualifications. be considered, applicants will provide a cover letter and resume. 

Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. All final candidates are subject to a background check. 

Additional Information

  • Schedule: Full-time
  • Employee Status: Fixed-Term
  • Grade: G