Post-Doctoral Research Associate on the social, economic, and cultural values of clean water

University of Minnesota

Twin Cities, MN, USA 🇺🇸

Job ID: 354702

Location: Twin Cities

Job Family: Academic

Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Regular/Temporary: Regular

Job Code: 9546

Employee Class: Acad Prof and Admin

About the Job

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota seeks a full-time Post-doctoral Research Associate to support research on the social, economic, and cultural values of clean water. The position will be supervised by Dr. Bonnie Keeler and housed in the Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy.

The Post-doctoral Research Associate is expected to build and maintain relationships with external stakeholders, community members, graduate students, along with affiliated researchers, faculty and advisors. The position offers the opportunity to interact with leaders inside and outside academia on pressing environmental and social issues related to the management of the Mississippi River as they intersect with issues of housing, infrastructure, transportation, flood control, federal state and local policy, environmental justice, cultural values, and community capacity. Primary tasks include reviewing and synthesizing literature, leading the development and execution of qualitative data collection, contributing to internal and external research-based reports, and leading the development of peer-reviewed manuscripts that advance concepts related to river management, water quality, environmental justice, and environmental policy.

The post-doc is expected to develop expertise in the social, cultural, and economic values of the Mississippi River in support of an external grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Additional tasks include managing social and biophysical datasets, overseeing key project deliverables and milestones, completing required project reports, supervising graduate or undergraduate research assistants, representing the project to internal and external stakeholders, and writing and editing content.

In addition to work related to EPA, the post-doc may have opportunities to support other research grants under the advisement of Dr. Bonnie Keeler. This may include work on water management and water policy, support of climate change and water resources research in the Great Lakes region, research on water equity in urban and rural areas, and other administrative or research support related to the Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy.

This is a one-year position, funded through summer 2024, with possibility for renewal depending on performance and funding availability.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities
80% Research:
The primary expectation for the post-doctoral scholar is to lead qualitative research in support of the EPA grant on Mississippi River water values. The postdoc will also take a lead role in developing reports and presentation materials for internal use and external distribution, managing databases of existing research, drafting briefs and compiling research for grant proposals, web, and other public-facing outlets.

20% Mentorship, Leadership, and Administration:
The post-doc will perform project management and supervisory duties, including organizing and facilitating meetings and project site visits, leading the preparation of required project reports, and managing project timelines and deliverables. The post-doc will supervise student research assistants as needed and liaison with other UMN and external partners. The post-doc may have other leadership or administrative duties related to lab activities or support for the Center for Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy.


Required Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Geography, Natural Resources, Applied Economics, Public Affairs, Environmental Studies, Communications, or other interdisciplinary program.
  • Evidence of effective writing and communications skills in the form of published written work, peer-reviewed journal articles, or other public-facing knowledge products.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Research interests related to environment, sustainability, environmental justice, or ecosystem services
  • Cross-cultural competency and the ability to communicate effectively with diverse groups of people
  • Creativity, enthusiasm, positive attitude, and ability to work effectively as part of a team
  • Excellent project management skills, organization, and attention to detail
  • Ability to work quickly and efficiently, manage deadlines, and pick up new skills and areas of expertise
  • Interest in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students
  • Familiarity with the Mississippi River and it’s communities

Application Requirements:

Provide a cover letter and current resume or CV with your application materials. Your cover letter should address the required and preferred qualifications noted above and include a summary of your past work experience and interest in the position. As part of the cover letter, applicants are encouraged to submit a brief diversity statement that explains your interest in contributing to an academic community that embraces and engages with a diversity of people and perspectives as one of its core values.

Working Conditions:

The majority of the work will take place in an office setting at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the West Bank Campus of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. There is the potential for some national and (limited) international travel as part of the position. Desk space will be available at the University, although some remote work hours are possible.

About the Department

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota ranks among the country’s top professional public policy and planning schools, widely recognized for its success in advancing the common good through a comprehensive, world-class program. The School offers six distinctive master’s degrees, a doctoral degree, and six certificate programs that match students’ passion with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to solve real-world challenges.


Working at the University

At the University of Minnesota, you’ll find a flexible work environment and supportive colleagues who are interested in lifelong learning.  We prioritize work-life balance, allowing you to invest in the future of your career and in your life outside of work.

The University also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

  • Competitive wages, paid holidays, and generous time off
  • Continuous learning opportunities through professional training and degree-seeking programs supported by the Regents Scholarship
  • Low-cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
  • Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts
  • University HSA contributions
  • Disability and employer-paid life insurance
  • Employee wellbeing program
  • Excellent retirement plans with employer contribution
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) opportunity
  • Financial counseling services 
  • Employee Assistance Program with eight sessions of counseling at no cost

Please visit the Office of Human Resources website for more information regarding benefits.

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, please click the Apply button and follow the instructions.  You will have the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume or CV, and list of professional references.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your “My Job Applications” page and uploading documents in the “My Cover Letters and Attachments” section.  

This position will remain open until filled.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission.  The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  To learn more about diversity at the U:

About the U of M

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMTC), is among the largest public research universities in the country, offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional students a multitude of opportunities for study and research. Located at the heart of one of the nation’s most vibrant, diverse metropolitan communities, students on the campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul benefit from extensive partnerships with world-renowned health centers, international corporations, government agencies, and arts, nonprofit, and public service organizations.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development