This is a full-time temporary position with an expected duration of one year. Salary range for this position is $42k-$65k DOQ.
The Institute on the Environment (IonE), Knowledge Initiatives team, at the University of Minnesota, seeks a Research Social Scientist to support sustainability projects. The Research Social Scientist would advance our decision support science portfolio, an area of work that focuses on the processes and tools that enable evidence-based decision-making in public and private sectors. The Research Social Scientist will be critical to the implementation of mixed-methods approaches to rigorously assess and test the usability of environmental data products. The Knowledge Initiatives (KI) team leads the portfolio of interdisciplinary sustainability research and scholarly activity within IonE.
a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) project titled, “The Dashboard for Agricultural Water Use and Nutrient Management”. The goal is to develop a decision support system that helps to increase land, nutrient, and water use efficiency in order to maximize crop production in corn, soy, and bioenergy fields. A core aspect of the project is a robust portfolio of extension research and engagement (link to project)
a National Science Foundation (NSF) project titled, “CRISP 2.0 Type 1: Accelerating restoration through information-sharing: Understanding operator behavior for improved management of interdependent infrastructure.” The goal of this project is to understand infrastructure operator behavior and response to the flows of information (link to project).
a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) project (anticipated) titled, “Diagnose Understandability, Interpretation and Use Challenges and Develop Prototype Improved Solutions for the Climate Prediction Center’s Drought and U.S. Hazards Outlooks”. The goal of the project is to diagnose and test modified visualizations to improve the usability of nationally important data products. The method is an extension of Gerst et al., 2020
Overall, the researcher is expected to balance multiple tasks and manage time efficiently to ensure project activities are completed in an organized and efficient manner for incorporation into peer-reviewed publications. Research outcomes are also co-produced with non-academic project partners to support the implementation of research findings into operations and environmental decision-making, which requires thoughtful partner engagement, regular briefings, and recommendation memos.
This may be a hybrid of teleworking and in-person work, with the exact work location mix dependent on the person and job responsibilities thus preference is given to incumbents who will be located within reasonable driving distance from the UMN St. Paul campus. The person will be expected to engage via web-conferencing and in-person with the team, attend important IonE events, and develop working relationships with other IonE staff.
The appointment is funded externally by grants from NSF, USDA, and an expected grant from NOAA. This is a one year temporary civil service position, with potential to extend for one year, and is based on the availability of funding, work, and employee performance.
Application review will be rolling until filled, with the first review on June 28, 2021. To apply, please submit a cover letter that describes your qualifications and includes a brief diversity statement, CV or resume, and contact information for at least 2 references (i.e., name, title, organization; URL to biographical sketch or similar; address, phone number, and email address; and relationship to the candidate). References would not be contacted until final candidates have been identified; candidates would be notified prior to contacting references.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities
90% designing, conducting, and analyzing mixed-methods data using multidisciplinary social science research methods. Activities, which require both at least weekly team collaboration and expertise to work independently, include:
conducting literature reviews and formal document analyses
preparation and technical lead for Institutional Review Board (IRB) documentation for human subjects determinations
designing and conducting semi-interviews with experts
developing and carrying out survey research
human subjects data curation and metadata documentation given best practices and grant requirements
qualitative and quantitative data analysis, summarizing results, and collaboratively discussing research findings and implications
regular communication with and coordination of project team members
author or co-author peer-reviewed publications develop based on this research
public engagement activities and documents to accelerate and increase the use of research findings in decisions and decision support products
documentation of administrative and project management processes, regular project progress summaries, and other
Assist with new project development including literature review, and budget and proposal preparation
Mentor, train, and supervise undergraduate students, volunteers, and interns, as assigned and if relevant
Participation in IonE community activities
Working with IonE administrative staff, as needed
Other duties as assigned
Working Conditions This is position may be structured to either be in-person or partially/fully remote. Applicants should expect to work with a virtual team, using tools including Basecamp, Zoom, and the Google suite of applications. Part of the work may be done on an independent schedule, upon approval, with regular meetings during core team collaboration hours (M-Th 10-4 CT). The position may involve some occasional travel for workshops, conferences, and meetings as dictated by individual projects.
Master’s degree and two years of related experience or BS/BA degree and four years of related experience
Experience in social science methodologies such as interview and survey design
Both self-directed and team-oriented
Excellent writing and communication skills
Ability to successfully multitask and organize workflow; manage multiple projects and schedules; handle virtual and in-person interruptions during scheduled work hours; and proactively manage up and communicate project status to Dr. Kenney
PhD and/or 2 years of related experiences
Experience in one of the technical areas under consideration: agriculture systems, decision support, stakeholder engagement and analysis, risk and decision analysis, and/or mixed-methods approaches
Experience in peer-to-peer or student mentoring
Experience in team science and partner-engaged scholarship, including professional interactions with stakeholders and faculty
Experience designing and managing complex research projects
Public engagement, speaking, and outreach experience
Internal Number: 341114
About University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
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.