Local recruitment: Hydrologic Land Surface Processes Modeler

Desert Research Institute (DRI)

Reno, NV, USA 🇺🇸

Las Vegas, 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 [email protected].

Job Description

The Desert Research Institute is looking for an early to mid-career hydrologic process modeler with experience and interests in developing and applying numerical models to improve understanding of coupled hydrologic processes at the land surface. This position is designed to complement and expand existing expertise within DRI’s Division of Hydrologic Sciences in the area of critical zone processes and earth system science including quantitative analysis of surface water flows and their linkages to ground water systems, evapotranspiration, ecosystem health, snowmelt and runoff processes.  

The position brings opportunities to collaborate with hydrogeologists, hydrogeochemists, soil scientists, hydrometeorologists and eco-hydrologists developing physical and numerical models in studies of complex natural systems. DRI operates as a bottoms-up, soft-money organization that removes barriers to conceiving, proposing and conducting collaborative work with a range of multi-disciplinary scientists and engineers, both within DRI as well as across academic, NGO, government, and commercial organizations. 

The opportunity for a talented, self-motivated candidate to innovate and advance earth systems science and engineering by establishing a research program of their own area of interest at DRI is extraordinary. This position comes with strong opportunities to work with scientists and engineers at the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) on modeling infiltration and runoff processes in basins having experienced wildfires and extending capabilities for simulating rain-on-snow events among other thematic topics.

Candidates are encouraged to review DRI’s research in hydrologic sciences (https://www.dri.edu/researchareas/  and https://www.dri.edu/projects/ ) to identify links with existing research activities. Candidates are directed to provide information on how his/her/their research will complement DRI’s hydrologic research portfolio. The successful candidate will be required to participate in writing single and multi-investigator collaborative grant proposals and will have access to DRI’s high-performance computational resources for running large-scale simulations. The position comes with the opportunity to participate in teaching and advising roles in the Graduate Program in Hydrologic Sciences at the University of Nevada-Reno ( https://www.unr.edu/hydrologic-sciences ) and/or the Water Resources Management program at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (https://www.unlv.edu/sciences/wrm ). 

Depending on qualifications and experience, this position may be filled as an Assistant (Rank 2) or Associate (Rank 3) Research Professor faculty level. The position can be located at DRI’s Reno or Las Vegas campuses and will comprise an integral part of DRI’s hydrologic processes modeling team.

Required Qualifications

  • Ph.D. from an accredited institution in hydrology/hydrogeology, engineering, physics, applied mathematics or other related discipline.
  • Demonstrated success in conceiving and pursuing research programs and obtaining grants and/or contracts to support them.
  • Broad understanding and experience in hydrologic processes and the application of coupled process models (surface water, ground water, soil physics, overland flow) to researching and solving problems.
  • Experience with one or more coupled process codes such as GSSHA, HEC-HMS, ParFlow.
  • Experience in a programming language such as C++, FORTRAN, or Python.
  • Ability to effectively analyze and report research findings to sponsors, at professional meetings, and in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
  • Research focus that is complementary with existing DRI programs.
  • Excellent oral and written English-language communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Background in working with data collection teams and utilizing field data in modeling efforts.
  • Evidence of innovation and success in initiating and completing collaborative research programs in governmental, private sector, or university settings.
  • Experience with the MODFLOW family of codes including GSFLOW and MOFLOW-NWT.
  • Experience  with parameter estimation tools such as PEST, UCODE, or DAKOTA.
  • Expertise in pre- and post-processing of modeling workflows, including scripting, data visualization, and statistical analysis of model outputs.
  • Experience with high-performance computing.

Conditions of Employment

  • Employment is contingent upon a successful completion of a background check.
  • Continued employment will be dependent on the innovation, business development and project management efforts of the faculty to propose, win and complete contract work within a supportive administrative structure.
  • The position requires occasional fieldwork for short periods of time, in settings varying from urban to remote locations.


Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications.  Candidate will be hired at the track and rank that is comparable to candidate’s education, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities.  DRI offers a benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, 15.5% retirement match, 24 annual leave days, a beginning balance of 30 sick leave days, 11 paid holidays, tuition reduction at NSHE institutions for employee, spouse and dependents, and the option to participate in a flexible spending account or health savings account. Additionally, there is no state income tax and no social security deduction. This position is eligible for relocation assistance, and DRI allows for flexibility in remote working arrangements . 

Organizational Summary

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet. For more than 60 years, DRI research faculty, students, and staff have applied scientific understanding to support the effective management of natural resources while meeting Nevada’s needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities. With more than 400 employees and two main campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, DRI is one of eight institutions in the Nevada System of Higher Education.


Full-Time Equivalent 100.0%

Required Attachment(s)

Please upload the following documents in the specified section of your Workday application:

  • A cover letter detailing how your experience and professional qualifications prepare you to succeed in this role at DRI.
  • A one-page summary of your research goals.
  • 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.

This posting is open until filled. 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 www.dri.edu. For questions regarding this position or assistance with your application, please call the recruiting office at 702-862-5548 (Las Vegas) or 775-673-7319 (Reno).

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.