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Status: Open
Department: Mountain Societies Research Institute
Duty station: Khorog/Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Closing Date: 08/01/2022

The ideal candidate will be excited about studying cryosphere and other earth surface processes that abound in the Pamir and neighboring mountain regions as well as how to mitigate their impacts on remote mountain communities. The researcher should be comfortable and prepared to work in the following modes: field-based studies; innovative modelling; and the recruitment, management, and reporting of externally funded projects. Excellent field research skills (particularly in cryosphere and hazard studies) and quantitative modelling experience are essential. The incumbent will have experience conducting team-based research projects, particularly within transdisciplinary environments focusing on mountain communities. Collaboration with our researchers working in natural resources management, land degradation, food security, and climate change adaptation is required. Close work with the Director of MSRI and senior MSRI team members is expected to support MSRI’s mission. With time, the incumbent will contribute to recruitment of external funding for research projects that support MSRI’s mission. Applicants with exceptional qualifications (about 8 years relevant research experience; significant publication and fund-raising records; and large project leadership) may be considered at the Senior Research Fellow level.

About Mountain Society Research Institute

Established in 2011, MSRI is part of University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Graduate School of Development. MSRI is dedicated to the generation of interdisciplinary knowledge and its application for the sustainable development of mountain societies of Central Asia and beyond. MSRI’s core geography includes the three Founding States (Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan), as well as northern Afghanistan. Thematic foci include natural resource management, mountain hazards and risk mitigation, cryosphere processes, water supplies, food security, and socio-economic resilience, all in the context of global/regional changes. Operating at the interface of academia and development, MSRI conducts original research and serves as a regional knowledge hub for scholars and practitioners, enhances research capacity through training, and seeks to impact development policy, practice, and scholarly understanding of mountain environments. MSRI’s headquarters are situated in UCA’s Tajikistan campus in Khorog, with researchers contributing to student mentorship and teaching in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department. MSRI also maintains an active research team in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and a smaller team in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. MSRI engages with international researchers in Europe, the Americas, and throughout Asia, as well as with agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network.

Required Qualifications, Experience, and Expectations 

  • PhD in earth and environmental sciences or a related field, ideally with a focus on cryosphere processes.
  • Research experience in the context of mountain environments and climate change.
  • Modelling experience is required; remote sensing and statistical skills are desirable.
  • Physically fit to conduct long-term field work in harsh environmental conditions.
  • Ability to publish in high-level scientific journals; the incumbent is expected to publish at least one senior-authored paper per year in a refereed journal.
  • Contribute to publication of MSRI Reports on projects in a timely manner.
  • Contribute to external fund raising as requested by the Director.
  • Ability to manage research and development projects, including budgetary matters.
  • Excellent communication skills (written and verbal) in English required; skills in a local language would be an advantage, but not necessary.
  • Ability and or interest to conduct team research and outreach.
  • Ability to rapidly understand key issues facing the Central Asia mountain regions.
  • Willingness to relocate and work out of Khorog or possibly Dushanbe, Tajikistan, as the duty station.
  • Interest or experience in development work is desirable.
  • A valid driver’s license is desirable.

Candidates from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan are encouraged to apply

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter, CV, and contact information for three references to by August 1, 2022. Applications will be reviewed when received. Early applications are strongly encouraged. As your application e-mail subject, please write: “ Research Fellow”. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.