View job on Handshake

USFS Office/Lab and Location: Two research opportunities are available at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS), with the Pacific Northwest Research Station located in Corvallis, Oregon. Telework is authorized but not required.

At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service’s mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

Research ProjectWant to gain valuable experience being part of a federal agency team? An ORISE fellowship can open a door to a career in natural resources and making a difference. 

The US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station is seeking highly motivated fellows to collaborate with scientists and land managers conducting research about plant invasions in forests. We anticipate filling one appointment at the postdoctoral and one at the MS level. Opportunities are available at the masters and postdoctoral level. Hands-on experience will be centered on field-based invasion ecology research projects, including an opportunity to co-lead a new western to potentially national field experiment focused on evaluating the role of plant propagule pressure (via weed pretreatments) and disturbance intensity in understanding plant invasion in forests. Complex interactions between disturbance (fire, thinning or logging), other abiotic factors, biotic processes, propagule pressure, and invasion are rarely studied together. This is a unique opportunity to design and implement a series of manipulative experiments and author novel contributions to the literature. The fellow will have the opportunity to consult extensively with leading experts in the field and local land managers to help design the study using a co-production approach. Additional opportunities may include participating in or supporting other research projects related to fire, invasive plants, understory plant communities, and natural resource management. Forest Service Research and Development (R&D) works at the forefront of science to improve the health and use of our Nation’s forests and grasslands. The Pacific Northwest Research Station is one of five geographically based research station within the US Forest Service. 

Learning ObjectivesUnder the guidance a mentor, the fellow will be provided the opportunity to learn the following:

  • Enhance knowledge about invasive plants and disturbance issues in western US forests while helping to develop approaches that will facilitate the integration of invasive plant management with fuel management in forests
  • Advance science project leadership skills, including project design, experimental design, logistics, field project implementation, and networking with colleagues and partners
  • Further develop original research approaches, experimental design, and analysis
  • Develop advanced science synthesis skills for a broad topic
  • Expand collaborative and networking skills, learn how to conduct co-produced research studies, outcomes, and deliverables
  • Gain first-hand knowledge of Forest Service Research & Development science and National Forest System management
MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Becky Kerns ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October 2022.  Start date is flexible and negotiable, and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for two years, but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time. A part-time fellowship would be considered. 

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The current yearly stipend for this opportunity ranges from $57,000-$75,000. Relocation expenses up to $5,000 are authorized. 

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity. 


The qualified candidate should have received a master’s or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion by June 2023. Degree must have been received within the last four years.

Preferred Skills:

  • Strong quantitative skills with demonstrated experience in field based experimental design and statistical analysis including time series of ecological, vegetation, or other quantitative datasets
  • Experience with quantitative vegetation or fire models
  • Experience developing novel research ideas, questions, and approaches
  • Record of publishing scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, including senior authorship; strong writing skills
  • Understanding of quantitative ecology, fire and invasion ecology, disturbance ecology and understanding of ecological principles, methods, including forest vegetation treatments (prescribed fire, thinning, invasive plant treatments)
  • Experience conducting ecological field research in forested or rangeland ecosystems
  • GIS and geospatial analysis skills
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to balance multiple projects simultaneously
  • Capacity to work independently and prioritize activities to meet project schedules
  • Strong presentation skills and the ability to effectively communicate and work with diverse stakeholders including land managers