Job Openings

The following positions are currently open at the Woods Hole Research Center:

President and Executive Director

Summary: The Board of Directors of the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) seeks a leader, innovator, and strategic thinker for the position of President & Executive Director. WHRC is a private non-profit research organization focusing on environmental science. The mission of WHRC is to advance scientific discovery and seek science-based solutions for the world’s environmental and economic challenges through research and education on forests, soils, air, water, and particularly global cycles of carbon and nitrogen. In realizing this mission, WHRC envisions a world in which the insights of science guide management of the Earth’s natural resources, so that we and future generations may sustain prosperous and fulfilling lives without degrading the ecosystems that support humanity and a diverse abundance of life.

The new President & Executive Director will serve as the face of WHRC in providing vision, leadership, management, and effective fundraising for its programs and its outstanding team of interdisciplinary research scientists and staff. She or he will guide the organization through its next phase of development, innovation and growth, serving as WHRC’s public voice in providing visibility and outreach. Reporting to a 22-member Board of Directors and serving as a member of that Board, the President & Executive Director leads a staff of 55, including 13 Principal Investigators working on programs and initiatives around the world. The new President & Executive Director will be an individual of exceptional intellect, vision and scientific judgment, a proven leader, institution builder, and team builder who listens well, communicates persuasively, and embraces the work of the Center with passion.

This is a unique opportunity for the right leader to help a committed organization achieve even greater visibility, recognition, and impact. For the right individual, WHRC will be an important platform from which to influence global environmental policy and enhance public understanding and support.

See the full job description in PDF format.

Nominations, inquiries, and expressions of interest [cover letter, CV and five references] should be directed electronically to:

Assistant, Associate or Senior Scientist

SUMMARY:The Woods Hole Research Center seeks a plant ecologist or forest scientist to contribute to and expand our ongoing research in biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, and terrestrial responses to climate change. Applicants for assistant, associate, and senior scientist will be considered.

Responsibilities: The successful candidate will:

  • Conduct research on biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, and forest ecology related to global change processes, particularly the effects of drought on tree growth
  • Secure research funding
  • Collaborate on other research and education activities with WHRC scientists and staff
  • Lead in presentation and publication of scientific results

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Ph.D. and postdoctoral experience in a relevant field
  • Experience with terrestrial ecology and the global carbon cycle
  • Experience with land-use change
  • Modeling skills
  • Success in obtaining external funding
  • Excellent record of publications
  • Collaborative, flexible, organized, and efficient work ethic
  • Excellent writing and communication skills

Application Deadline: May 1, or until filled.

Desired Start Date: Summer 2014.

Salary Range: Commensurate with experience, with full benefit package.

Application Instructions: To apply, please send cover letter referencing "Job# SCIENCE14," curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to . Please type “Science14” in the subject line.

Volunteer Technical Assistant Position (unpaid) Project Management and Group Development

SUMMARY: In the DRC despite decades of internal turmoil many church missions have maintained some basic level of services in their community areas, often at time when no other international NGO or government development agencies have been able to work. The Covenant Church of Congo (CEUM) has had a long history of rural development as part of its pastoral mission and a network of local contacts to implement project activities, making it an excellent partner for project implantation.  The TA will be building on this local institutions vast local knowledge and networks and interest in environmental management alongside rural development by working with key staff from CEUM, assigned to the project, to develop their knowledge and expertise in project planning and management and their operational ability to train and mobilize people at the village level. Methodologically this means transforming the way CEUM currently works as direct implementers of projects in communities, to project coordination and management. The TA will provide CEUM support in transferring the capability of implementation of activities to the nascent community level organizations.

The WHRC project headquarters is based in the provincial capital of Mbandaka on the Congo River.  CEUM mission headquarters (where the incumbent will be based) are in the town of Gemena in northern Equateur Province a short flight from Mbandaka. There they have a well-established, but basic infrastructure to support their activities. Related project activities are in rural communities within a 2-hour drive of the CEUM HQ.

Reporting to the Project Manager (DRC) and under joint technical supervision of the project Direction (USA) the incumbent will:

  • Provide day-to-day technical support and coaching to the CEUM project team on project cycle planning and management to Project Equateur standards
  • Work closely with the CEUM project team to develop individual capacities and the project group development, training and capacity building  strategy for the implementation of project activities in the target communities
  • Provide administrative and reporting training to the CEUM staff in order to meet the ADB reporting standards
  • Provide local support to CEUM to help build capacity and implement Project Equateur communications and project monitoring and evaluation activities.
  • Critically evaluate and report to the WHRC management team on the performance and progress of the CEUM Project Equateur staff and community activities, particularly focusing on local needs to improve/facilitate project implementation
  • Help coordinate and facilitate the logistics and support of periodic project field missions to the Gemena area including scientific research activities and the REDD+ Free Prior and Informed Consent process

Knowledge, Experience and Skills:

  • MSc from a recognized international university in rural development, agricultural economics, natural resource a management, social development or other related discipline.
  • At least 12 months experience of living or working in a developing country, preferably in a rural area.
  • Expert knowledge of and some experience in project planning and management
  • Knowledge or experience of rural enterprise development and group development strategies.
  • Knowledge and experience of participatory techniques for development, rural training, capacity building and extension
  • Written and spoken fluency in French essential, knowledge of English is an advantage
  • Highly self motivated, resilient individual with ability to organize own work, and to manage time and resources effectively and effect the same in others
  • Interpersonal and intercultural skills

Application Deadline: Until filled.

Desired Start Date: Summer 2014.

Compensation: This position is unpaid, but reimbursement of direct expenses and basic lodging will be provided. Airfare at beginning and end of term will be covered, as well as a roundtrip ticket after 6 months on the job.

Application Instructions: Please refer to Job# GBVTA01 and email cover letter, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to .

Research Assistant, Carbon Monitoring, Land Use and Social Forestry

Project Equateur Description
Since early 2013, WHRC, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment (MECNT) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been implementing Projet Equateur (PE), a pilot REDD+ project in Equateur Province, DRC.  The project is financed for 3 years through a grant from the African Development Bank, Congo Basin Forest Fund.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Increase the capacity of stakeholders for the development of REDD+ strategies and preparation for the management of carbon funds and
  • Design and implement community based REDD+ pilot projects with potential for continued carbon financing

The focus of the project is to develop community based REDD+ projects with regard to common property, resources and rights. Because carbon emissions currently generated from forest loss in DRC are a result of small holder farming activities and charcoal production on public land, a community based approach to REDD+ implementation will be the cornerstone of an effective, efficient and equitable national implementation strategy. The success of REDD+ projects will depend on sustainable forest management as the foundation for development; climate-smart development is thus critical for forest communities.

Project implementation
WHRC implements the project through four principal project partners at the local level – two DRC based rural development agencies, a national university, and a botanical garden.  WHRC’s role is to provide key technical expertise in REDD+ project development at the local level, technically backstopping the national partners to implement a range of mutually supportive activities in the three key domains of applied research, training and education, and community based natural resource management with suitable rural development. Along with project implementation, WHRC is responsible for scientific study of the REDD+ implementation process and outcomes in terms of environmental, social and economic effectiveness, equity and efficiency.

Areas of operation
The project is focused in two pilot areas of Equateur Province: Gemena in the north and Mbandaka in the central region. These are contrasting regions in terms of demography, environmental degradation and development context. The areas chosen are on public lands and are not listed for either forest or nature conservation.

The region of Gemena has experienced historically high levels of forest loss from extensive coffee and livestock production, leaving a mosaic of riverine and remnant natural forest surrounded by degraded pasture. It is a transition zone between tropical forest and grassland. After periods of civil instability, the extensive grazing activities once common there have dwindled, yet there seems to be no natural tendency for forest regeneration. Deforested areas tend to remain as degraded grassland. Local inhabitants are faced with the increased challenge of living in a degraded forest environment and having to travel greater distances for fuel wood and timber for construction.  

The project site near Mbandaka is in a wetland forest area, and is, in terms of forest cover, what Gemena was like perhaps 40 years ago. Blessed with what they perceive as limitless rainforest, communities practice traditional slash and burn agriculture and charcoal production, their main concerns being conflict with logging concessions over rights to exploit timber and access to their customary tribal lands. Against this backdrop is the prospect of intensive cultivation of wetland rice to meet local and national food security needs, providing attractive incentives for poor households to increase forest clearance for income and food security.

Position Description
WHRC seeks a research assistant to work on a variety of community level REDD+ carbon monitoring and land use planning research, development, and capacity building activities. The successful candidate will be expected to spend lengthy periods (2-3 months) in Mbandaka, Equateur Province. Under daily direction and supervision of the Project Manager and technical supervision of the project scientist, the position will be based at the WHRC-Mbandaka field office and operate in the PE project sites in and around Mbandaka and Gemena.

The position consists of two distinct yet interrelated components. The carbon monitoring component will explore methods and pathways for establishing community integration into REDD+ monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). The land use planning component will similarly look at options to develop participatory land use maps and plans in the context of developing community institutions for local land use and development management. The successful candidate will work alongside other technical experts from WHRC and with PE project partners and stakeholders to develop technical capacity and institutional approaches as a potential for wider impact from the PE project monitoring and communications activities.


  • Provide high quality research and training support to the field programs, to develop and train WHRC staff, project partners and stakeholders on MRV and land use planning;
  • Assist project manager in the efficiency and effectiveness of the project activities by identifying and testing different implementation approaches;
  • Assist project manager and support the development of a community MRV approach, together with plans for village level activities, including a field monitoring plan;
  • Assist the project manager to supervise carbon assessments and land use surveys in villages as a foundation for community REDD+ plans;
  • Support the WHRC field program technical assistant. Assist with the identification of capacity gaps in the field for carbon MRV and land use planning in the pilot communities
  • Contribute to technical working group meetings with partners;
  • Contribute to technical report writing and development of field guides and policy briefs

Qualifications and Experience:

  • MSc degree in forestry, conservation biology, ecology, social forestry, or natural resource management
  • At least 2 years of international work experience in forestry, rural development or conservation
  • REDD+ experience preferred
  • Relevant working experience in the field of social forestry, rural development and/or community based natural resource management  
  • Excellent command of written and spoken French, good working knowledge of English
  • Ability to think and work logically and precisely with attention to detai
  • Initiative, sound judgment, and demonstrated ability to work harmoniously with staff members of varied national and cultural backgrounds

Application Deadline: July 30, 2014

Desired Start Date: September 20, 2014

Salary Range: $50,000-$55,000, with full benefit package, exempt position

Application Instructions: To apply, please send cover letter referencing Job # GBRA01, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to .

Post-Doctoral Research Position - Aboveground Carbon Dynamics

SUMMARY: We seek a Post-Doctoral Researcher for a two-year position focused on development of novel approaches to the direct measurement and mapping of aboveground carbon dynamics at local to global scales. The successful candidate will work closely with the lead scientist and his collaborators as part of a new research effort supported by NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System initiative. This position requires advanced remote sensing, GIS, and statistics experience, including the ability to manipulate large data sets and utilize a cluster-computing environment.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Assemble/analyze large airborne LiDAR, Landsat, MODIS, and VIIRS datasets
  • Understand/manage large databases of field-measured biomass and related variables
  • Advance multi-temporal algorithm development for biomass change mapping
  • Perform complex geoprocessing utilizing supercomputing resources (NASA/Google)
  • Conduct accuracy/uncertainty/sensitivity analyses
  • Work in a collaborative environment with minimal oversight
  • Author peer-reviewed journal articles and contribute to grant proposal preparation
  • Contribute to WHRC’s ongoing tropical and global biomass modeling activities

Qualifications and experience: Ph.D. degree with experience in a relevant discipline (geography, ecology, forestry, natural resources, or environmental science) with demonstrated expertise using multi-temporal/multi-sensor Earth observation data for large-area measurement and mapping of forest biophysical variables.

  • Experience with field, airborne LiDAR, Landsat, MODIS, and/or VIIRS datasets
  • Experience building statistical relationships between field and satellite image data
  • Advanced computational/programming skills
  • Open-source statistical/spatial software experience (R/GDAL/Python, etc.)
  • Knowledge of tropical forests and three-dimensional forest structure
  • Familiarity with REDD+ and forest carbon MRV
  • Established peer-reviewed publication record
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to work independently in an organized and detail-oriented fashion

Desired Start Date: Fall 2014

Application Deadline: September 30, or until filled

Salary Range: $48,000 to $54,000 with full benefit package, exempt position.

Appointment: This is a two-year appointment, with a possibility to extend.

Application Instructions: To apply, please send cover letter referencing "Post-Doctoral Researcher Position # WWPD14", curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to . Please type "WWPD14" in the subject line.

The mission of the Woods Hole Research Center is to advance scientific discovery and seek science-based solutions for the world’s environmental and economic challenges through research and education on forests, soils, air, and water. Our scientists combine analysis of satellite images of the Earth with field studies to measure, model, and map changes in the world’s ecosystems, from the thawing permafrost in the Arctic to the expanding agriculture regions of the tropics. We merge natural science with economics to discover sustainable paths for human prosperity and stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources.

Equal Opportunity Employer:

The Woods Hole Research Center considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, disability, age, marital or veteran status, sexual preference, ancestry or any other protected status recognized under law. We will evaluate your experience and background in relation to the requirements of the position(s) for which you apply. The Center will check references on all applicants, and any offer of employment is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of reference and background information. In addition, an individual offered employment will need to: complete appropriate tax forms, complete an I-9 form, and provide documents showing proof of eligibility to work in the United States.