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European Geosciences Union

Senior Research Scientist, Earth Surface Processes and Natural Resources Management

Senior Research Scientist, Earth Surface Processes and Natural Resources Management

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University of Central Asia

UCA Graduate School of Development’s Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI), is a University-wide research institute that seeks to generate, disseminate and promote the application of knowledge for the development of mountainous regions and their societies.

MSRI aims to fulfill five complementary objectives:
1. Generate and disseminate relevant knowledge based on scientific research
2. Inform development policy and practice by advancing knowledge in its practical application
3. Strengthen regional capacities to conduct research relevant to mountain societies
4. Become a knowledge hub in Central Asia for scholars, practitioners and policy makers
5. Inform UCA’s academic programmes with a primary focus on mountain societies

MSRI’s research encompasses the social and the natural science dimensions of mountain societies and their economies and environments. Founded in 2011, MSRI has moved its central office to the UCA campus in Khorog, Tajikistan, and is expanding its research in earth and environmental sciences.


Khorog, Tajikistan


Relevant divisions
Earth and Space Science Informatics (ESSI)
Earth Magnetism & Rock Physics (EMRP)
Natural Hazards (NH)

Full time


Commensurate with qualification and experience to attract the best candidate.

Preferred education

Application deadline
30 April 2019

14 February 2019

Job description

Senior Research Scientist, Earth Surface Processes and Natural Resources Management

Duty Station: Khorog, Tajikistan
Department: Mountain Societies Research Institute, Graduate School of Development
Deadline: April 30th 2019
Commencement Date: The position will commence in 2019 (preferably before September 2019).

Summary of the Position
UCA’s Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI) is now recruiting an energetic, Senior Research Scientist with proven experience in team-based research and related development projects. We seek an individual with experience working in a transdisciplinary environment, focused on aspects of earth surface processes and related management of natural resources in mountain ecosystems.

The successful candidate will have a PhD and strong research background in geoscience, hydrology, environmental sciences, critical zone processes, environmental/water resources engineering, or a related discipline and will lead and collaborate in the primary fields of MSRI research, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Natural hazard assessment and disaster mitigation, including impacts of roads, land management, and climate change.
  • Promoting sustainable land management in dynamic ecosystems.
  • Reversing legacies of land degradation – e.g., overgrazing, poor irrigation practices.
  • Glacier and snow dynamics – effects on agricultural and domestic water supplies and streamflow and appropriate adaptation measures.
  • Mountain community resilience and adaptation in the context of dynamic environments.

Experience with field research, environmental modelling, quantitative methods, and the ability to apply these technical attributes to the solution of environmental problems and policy dialogues is desired; some background in spatial analysis is beneficial. Additionally, the successful candidate will contribute toward technology transfer to various user groups.

The position involves:

  • the development and implementation of applied research projects, including securing external funding;
  • training regional faculty members and practitioners;
  • development of international networks and collaborations; and
  • contributing to the Earth and Environmental Sciences undergraduate specialization offered by the School of Arts and Sciences, Khorog campus, and programmes offered by the Graduate School of Development.

The successful candidate will develop a research program related to relevant earth surface processes in this mountainous region, including how these processes affect and are affected by land management and mountain communities. Processes within the ‘critical zone’ (near-surface environment) are highly dynamic due to geomorphic hazards, tectonic uplift, variable snowpacks, erodible soils, episodic flooding, permafrost melting, and climate change. Thus, the interplay between earth surface processes and land use have contributed to regional land degradation, uncertain water supplies, hazard vulnerability, food insecurity, and poverty. It is expected that the successful candidate will apply their research experience to these management and societal issues.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead and collaborate in the design and implementation of interdisciplinary, applied research within the outlined thematic areas.
  • Actively recruit funding for research, including developing cutting-edge research proposals, managing external grants, and working with development agencies.
  • Publish scientific papers and support public communication of their findings.
  • Develop strong collaborations with international universities and research institutions.
  • Support Central Asian and collaborating researchers from national partner institutions.
  • Support the Earth and Environmental Sciences program at UCA in Khorog, Tajikistan.
  • Support the MSRI Director with strategic administrative duties.

Required Qualifications and Experience

  • PhD in a relevant discipline as outlined.
  • At least five years of relevant research experience, preferably in mountain environments.
  • Strong publication record, particularly in international peer-reviewed journals.
  • Experience writing successful grant proposals and managing externally funded research.
  • Excellent conceptual skills in assessing complex earth surface processes.
  • Strengths and track record in quantitative assessments and/or modelling.
  • Teaching experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement research projects, particularly field projects, and building and maintaining dynamic research teams.
  • Evidence of being a team player and willingness to engage in transdisciplinary research.
  • Able to work in a remote developing country environment and to communicate. effectively with partners and stakeholders from different backgrounds.
  • Excellent English-language writing skills.

Desired Qualifications

  • Knowledge of issues relevant to mountain societies and mountain area development.
  • Experience with remote sensing applications related to earth surface processes.
  • Knowledge of the greater Central Asia region.
  • Some experience with development activities.
  • Working knowledge of Russian language, and/or one or more Central Asian languages.

How to apply

How to Apply
To apply for the position, please visit the AKDN Career Centre ( or send your application to Please indicate a cover letter explaining your interest to work at MSRI/UCA and your experience in relation to the advertised position. The cover letter must address each of the required qualifications and experience criteria listed previously. Also include a CV (with a publication list arranged by publication type) and contact information for three references.

For more information about MSRI, visit: