Postdoctoral Scholar in Sociohydrology

University of California-Merced

Merced, CA, USA 🇺🇸


Position title: Postdoctoral Scholar

Salary range: See Table 23 for the salary range for this position. A reasonable estimate for this position is $60,000 – $ 71,952.

Percent time: 100%

Anticipated start: May 1, 2023

Position duration: 2 years


Open date: March 3, 2023

Next review date: Monday, Apr 3, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Saturday, Mar 2, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


We are seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral scholar for a two-year position to lead research on the socio-geopolitical aspects of ensuring a secure water future in the American West. The successful candidate will have a strong background in social science (anthropology, geography, political science, sociology, or a related field), and an understanding of agricultural systems, natural resources management, environmental science, water systems, and adoption of technology. Experience with western US water law, contemporary water management, and climate change adaption and the effects of climate change on water resources will be helpful, as the scholar will explore the emerging discipline of sociohydrology. The successful candidate will work with multiple kinds of data from large quantitative reanalysis and distributed qualitative surveys to qualitative focus groups; experience in mixed methods analysis and responsible conduct of research practice is necessary. The incumbent will work across diverse research teams to serve project audiences, including but not limited to CA, NM, and UT-based growers, water managers, natural resource managers, Extension clientele, residents, and students.

This position is part of multiple funded research projects, including the recently commissioned California Drought Impacts study, the USDA NIFA SAS Securing a Climate Resilient Water Future for Agriculture and Ecosystems through Innovation in Measurement, Management, and Markets (, and the USDA NIFA AI Institute for Transforming Workforce and Decision Support ( As such, the successful candidate will work with a diverse team of leading scientists at UC Merced, and their collaborators in California (UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Agriculture & Natural Resources, Public Policy Institute of California, and Environmental Defense Fund), Utah State University, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, and Washington State University, as well as the regional USDA Climate Hubs and additional partners.

Responsibilities of the position will include conducting original research that integrates social, economic, technical, and environmental aspects of water management. This will require the ability to survey human subjects with confidentiality, use data analysis software collaboratively, and publish findings in high-quality journals and outreach publications. The successful candidate will be expected to work closely with community advisors from various backgrounds, including community leaders, policymakers, technical experts, and representatives of tribal governments. The scholar will join a team using data science to advance translational outcomes for improved decision-making in water management throughout the American West. Additionally, they should have experience conducting interdisciplinary research, a proven track record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and a commitment to addressing social and environmental justice issues. The successful candidate should be able to work with community members from diverse backgrounds, including those who are traditionally underrepresented in decision-making processes.

The scholar will be expected to lead development of several studies in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, mentor undergraduate and graduate students, and undertake professional development activities in consultation with the PIs to further their own training and career advancement. Limited supervisory activities are required, as the scholars will coordinate Student Assistants and junior staff as needed. Occasional travel will be required to visit collaborating organizations and to team meetings. Best practices in data management, as well as in team science, are expected.

If you are passionate about ensuring a secure water future for the American West, have a commitment to working with diverse communities, and can address complex social and environmental issues, we encourage you to apply for this exciting opportunity. You will grow a large network of researchers and collaborators while participating in novel training opportunities and transformational research.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy: All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees should refer to Appendix F, Section II.C. of the policy for applicable deadlines. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.


Basic qualifications

PhD in relevant area; well-developed study design, data analysis skills; excellent written communication skills and record of research. Strong collaboration ethic and organizational and interpersonal skills.

Preferred qualifications

Candidate should have a strong record of research at the intersection of water systems and social systems. In particular the application of social science theory and methods to help understand cultural, sociological and economic aspects of natural resources management and environmental problem solving. Collaboration with diverse and interdisciplinary team is required for high-level and high-impact publication in peer reviewed journals. Candidate should have a proven publication record.


Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae – Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter
  • Statement of Research
  • Statement on Contributions to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – Statement on your contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion, including information about your understanding of these topics, your record of activities to date, and your specific plans and goals for advancing equity and inclusion. Please review the UC Merced Diversity Statement Guidelines and UC’s Commitment to Diversity

Reference requirements

  • 3 required (contact information only)

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The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and invites applications from all qualified applicants, including women, minorities, veterans, and individual with disabilities, who will enrich the teaching, research and public service missions of the university. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy (

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system’s 10 campuses. With over 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students (, UC Merced provides outstanding educational opportunities to highly qualified students from the heart of California, the nation, and abroad. The campus has special connections to nearby Yosemite National Park; is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design; and supports the economic development of Central California. The Merced 2020 Project doubled the physical capacity of the campus, and enhanced academic distinction, student success, and research excellence (

UC Merced is a smoke & tobacco free campus (


Merced, CA





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development