Postdoctoral Research Associate on Hydrogeology and Natural History of Mpala Research Center (Kenya)

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ, USA 🇺🇸

We solicit applications for the position of postdoctoral or more senior research scholar to study the hydrogeology and natural history of Mpala Research Center (Kenya), a hub for biological and wildlife conservation research currently suffering from extreme drought. The successful candidate will be co-mentored by Prof. Elizabeth Niespolo (Geosciences) and Prof. AgustĂ­n Fuentes (Anthropology) at Princeton University in collaboration with Dr. Emmanuel Ndiema at the National Museums of Kenya. Research aims include geologic mapping, water and rock sampling, and geochemical assay of samples utilizing facilities at Mpala and Princeton.

Qualifications include a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences, Civil Engineering, or a closely-related field with a research focus of topics such as hydrogeology, catchment hydrology, and environmental geochemistry. The successful candidate will have experience with geologic mapping, groundwater sampling, auger or other coring techniques, and basic soils characterization. Required technical skills include: water sampling (groundwater, surface waters, soil waters) for stable isotope analysis; use of GPS; and advanced use of Geographic Information Systems or other mapping software for interpreting geospatial data. Other additional skills of strong candidates include groundwater modeling, participation in drilling projects, advanced knowledge of soil science, and/or coordinating with government water resources management agencies. Experience running isotope analyzers (such as cavity ring-down spectroscopy instruments, and/or inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometers) is a plus but not required.

The candidate will spend a significant amount of time at Mpala Research Center in Kenya for field work and some laboratory work, as well as time at Princeton (USA) to conduct laboratory work and interact with a rich and diverse array of scholars in the Departments of Geosciences and Anthropology, the High Meadows Environmental Institute, and beyond. The postdoc will also collaborate with other researchers in the field to conduct surveys related to geological, paleontological, archaeological, and other paleo-sciences projects – thus, prior interdisciplinary experience of this nature should be mentioned in the cover letter. There is potential to expand the study to the Turkana Basin, also experiencing extreme drought. Fluency in Swahili is not a requirement, but the candidate will be expected to learn basic Swahili.

The position is funded by a grant awarded by the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) at Princeton pertaining to the “Water and the Environment” Grand Challenges program (link). This is a two-year postdoctoral position with an anticipated start date of July 1, 2023, which is offered first for one year, with a possibility for renewal for an additional year contingent upon satisfactory performance. Applicants should include a cover letter (2 page maximum), a curriculum vitae including a publication list, contact information for three references, and must apply via the Princeton University academic hiring site:

For additional inquiries, please contact Elizabeth Niespolo ( and AgustĂ­n Fuentes (

This position is subject to the University’s background check policy.

Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Requisition No: D-23-GEO-00007





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