Assistant Research Scientist (Geospatial Data Scientist)

Desert Research Institute (DRI)

Reno, NV, USA 🇺🇸

Thank you for your interest in employment with the Desert Research Institute.  We want your  application process to go smoothly and quickly.  We ask that you keep in mind the following when completing your application:

  • Once you start the application process you cannot save your work. Please ensure you have all required attachment(s) available to complete your application before you begin the process.
  • Required attachments are listed below on the posting. Your application will not be considered without the required attachments.
  • Please see the application instructions under each posting for information on submittal deadlines.

If you need assistance or have questions regarding the application process, contact Human Resources Hotline at (775) 673-7431 or

Job Description

The Desert Research Institute’s (DRI’s) Division of Hydrologic Sciences seeks an Assistant Research Scientist to develop, maintain, and apply climate and satellite remote sensing data and cloud computing software and web applications related to quantifying linkages between vegetation, water supply, and climate. This position will support ongoing programs at DRI to develop, analyze, and identify key linkages between water, climate, and vegetation change across the western U.S. and other arid and semi-arid regions. Candidates possessing skills in the development and application of software to process gridded weather and climate data, analyze satellite remote sensing data, produce machine learning models, and use of industry standard software and software development tools and protocols (e.g. GitHub), are strongly encouraged to apply. This position is located in Reno, NV.

Required Experience/Education

  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution with a focus on hydrology, ecology, earth sciences, remote sensing, geospatial modeling, or computer science
  • Expertise and strong evidence of data science, analysis, and management of large spatiotemporal datasets
  • Expertise and strong evidence in using Google Earth Engine (JavaScript and Python APIs)
  • Expertise and strong evidence in using R and Python programming languages
  • Experience in developing and training machine learning models
  • Extensive experience in developing, documenting, maintaining, and applying software tools using industry standard version control and software development and documentation protocols and style guides (e.g. GitHub, Read the Docs)
  • Advanced skills using GIS software (e.g. ArcGIS, QGIS, GDAL)
  • Experience in using satellite remote sensing and spatial climate data in combination
  • Strong evidence of applied statistical and mathematical skills
  • Experience developing advanced data visualizations and web applications
  • Experience with stakeholder engagement, outreach, and trainings on the use of developed software and web applications    
  • Experience working with non-profits and government agencies (e.g. NASA, BLM, Forest Service)
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

Preferred Experience

  • Experience developing software and web applications using multiple software languages (e.g. Python, R, JavaScript)
  • Experience developing examples and tutorial software (e.g. Google Colab, Jupyter Notebooks)
  • Experience with development and editing of technical tutorial videos
  • Experience using Google Cloud products, storage buckets, and Cloud Optimized Geotiffs (COGs)
  • Familiarity with the Climate Engine web application and APIs
  • Familiarity with the data needs of non-profits and government agencies in decision processes


Minimum starting salary is $71,069 and is commensurate with experience and education.

DRI offers a benefits package that includes health, dental, vision, and life insurance; including 15.50% retirement match, 24 annual leave days, beginning balance of 30 sick leave days, 11 paid holidays, educational benefits, and the choice of three health insurance plans that can be supplemented with flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts. Additionally, there is no state income tax and no social security deduction. This position is eligible for relocation assistance.

Organizational Summary

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in basic and applied environmental research. Committed to scientific excellence and integrity, DRI faculty, students who work alongside them, and staff have developed scientific knowledge and innovative technologies in research projects around the globe.

Since 1959, DRI’s research has advanced scientific knowledge on topics ranging from humans’ impact on the environment to the environment’s impact on humans. DRI’s impactful science and inspiring solutions support Nevada’s diverse economy, provide science-based educational opportunities, and inform policymakers, business leaders, and community members.

The position will be based in Reno situated in northwestern Nevada at the base of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, 25 minutes from Lake Tahoe. Reno boasts 300+ days of sunshine and offers unparalleled opportunities for outdoor activities ranging from mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, whitewater paddling, and golfing in the summer and fall to alpine skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing in the winter.


Full-Time Equivalent 100.0%

Required Attachment(s)

Please upload the following documents in the specified section:

  • A cover letter detailing how your experience and professional qualifications prepare you to succeed in this role at DRI
  • A current curriculum vita
  • Contact information for three professional references who will be contacted at the appropriate phase of the recruitment process based on applicant permission

Qualified individuals are encouraged to apply immediately and provide all required attachments to receive full consideration. Lists of eligible candidates will be established and hiring may occur early in the recruiting process. Recruitment will close without notice when a sufficient number of applications are received, or a hiring decision has been made.

For more detailed information about DRI and DRI faculty, research projects, and publications, please visit us at For questions regarding this position or assistance with your application, please call the recruiting office at 775-674-7114.

Posting Close Date

Note to Applicant

Applicants should fully describe their qualifications and experience with specific reference to each of the minimum and preferred qualifications. The search committee will use this information during the initial review of application materials.  

References will be contacted at the appropriate phase of the recruitment process based on applicant notification and permission.

Newly hired faculty and postdoctoral fellows must assure that their official transcript is submitted to the Human Resources Office within 30 calendar days from the effective date of employment.  Academic degrees must have been awarded by regionally accredited institutions.

This position may require a criminal background check to be conducted on the candidate(s) selected for hire.

As part of the hiring process, applicants for positions in the Nevada System of Higher Education may be required to demonstrate the ability to perform job-related tasks.

DRI employs only U.S. citizens and aliens authorized to work in the U.S. DRI only sponsors aliens applying for research faculty or postdoctoral fellow positions (J-1 or H-1B Visas).

All applicants hired by the Desert Research Institute are subject to E-Verify.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development