Post-Doctoral Position – Department of Forest Resources Management (Deadline: July 3, 2017)

Applications are invited for a Post-Doctoral position in the working group of Dr Verena Griess, Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

We are looking for a high achieving research student with a background in natural resources management, whose research will be guided by the question:

“How to guide decision makers in choosing optimum mitigation strategies to fight forest invasive alien species infestations”

The successful candidate will play a leading role in the development of an IT based tool to aid decision makers with respect to selecting optimum mitigation strategies following infestations with forest invasive pests and pathogens.

What we expect

Applicants must hold a PhD (obtained no later than 4 years ago at time of application) in a related field, such as forestry, forest economic, natural resources management etc. The success full candidate will have an outstanding proven ability to undertake detailed quantitative analyses.

Responsibilities will include applying, validating and developing optimization and decision support software in forest management at municipal, regional and provincial scales, as well as developing new superior approaches to get to a flexible integrated data management.

Working experience with forest DSS (such as Woodstock, Patchworks, FPS Atlas or others), as well as profound knowledge of mathematical optimization approaches are a must. Solid knowledge of Python, GAMS, R, ArcGIS and other tools commonly used in the field is a plus. Strong analytical skills as well as strong skills related to the development of written research outputs, reports and/ or strategy documents are expected.

The successful candidate should be comfortable presenting research findings to a diverse number of audiences, both internally as well as externally and have the ability to work independently and in a team setting involving team members in different locations.

What we offer

We offer the successful candidate a fulltime 2 year postdoctoral position with the possibility of extension* at a minimum stipend of C$55,000 annually before tax, including benefits.

We offer an outstanding opportunity to pursue excellent research at UBC, one of the top research universities globally, working with an international group of young researchers in one of the most modern labs within the faculty, where we give bold thinking a place to develop into ideas that can change the world. The university is located in Vancouver, which is considered to be one of the most desirable places in the world to live in and a beautiful city that provides an incredible background for your research.

* subject to performance and availability of funds

How to apply

Your application should include the following in a single PDF file:

  • a letter of intent describing your motivation to apply for this specific posting, your career goals, as well as a short description that separately and clearly addresses how you possess each of the skills and experiences listed above (“what we expect“),
  • your current CV,
  • transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended,
  • a sample of your scientific writing (a published paper, report, manuscript, conference proceeding), and
  • names and contact information of three references familiar with your work.

Please indicate in your application if you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. All qualified persons are encouraged to apply. However, Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada will be given priority. UBC hires on the basis of merit and is strongly committed to equity and diversity within its community. We especially welcome applications from members of visible minority groups, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to engage productively with diverse communities.

The deadline for applications is Monday, July 3rd 2017 12pm Pacific time. The expected starting date for this position is September 1st 2017 but an alternative date may be arranged.

Please direct inquires and applications by email to

Dr. Verena Griess
Asst. Professor, Forest Resources Management
Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia
verena.griess@ubc.ca

Additional information

Questions regarding the project should be directed to Dr Griess. For information on the Department of Forest Resources Management at UBC, visit http://frm.forestry.ubc.ca. For information on Dr. Griess’ working group, FRESH (Forest Resources and Environmental Services Hub) visit http://fresh.forestry.ubc.ca

About the project

As part of a large scale applied research project will develop a decision support system (DSS) that integrates the risk of invasive species outbreaks with related economic consequences. Our forest DSS will help inform management decisions of end users such as government, provincial departments of natural resources, and international authorities.

A robust DSS requires accurate estimates of risk, impact, and the financial costs of an invasion. To fill this knowledge gap, we will use tools from mathematical finance, as well as operations research, to build a risk sensitive DSS that will be translated into a software application available to our end-users.

Earlier DSS developed for pest management in Canada focused mainly on timber supply losses but identified a need for incorporating other forest values. Our DSS will incorporate timber supply, forest structure, and a detailed cost-benefit analysis of mitigation strategies under several pest threat scenarios.

One key feature of our DSS will be a mechanism to search for the best mitigation option(s) based on user-selected criteria. We intend to develop a DSS driven by economic criteria, but we will allow end users to select other indicators of interest (eg forest loss, lowest costs or others) and provide tabular and graphical outcomes based on those selections.

The DSS will integrate existing pest risk assessment data, as well as related social, economic and ecological information to select appropriate risk management approaches. We will develop pre-defined scenarios along with a risk management continuum ranging from ‘do nothing’ to ‘implement immediate eradication’, as well as the related sensitivity analyses. The DSS will be developed using a modular approach which ensures a flexible, adaptable framework into which data components can be added as they are developed.