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Status: Open
Department: Mountain Societies Research Institute
Duty station: Khorog/Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Closing Date: 9 December 2022

The ideal candidate should have strong quantitative skills in earth surface processes with a keen interest and/or experience in the cryosphere. These quantitative skills will be applied to important environmental issues in the Pamir and nearby mountain areas in a variety of ways, possibly including analyzing remotely sensed climate, terrain, and vegetation data; modelling cryosphere, hydrological, and sediment hazard processes; assessing the impacts of hazards on mountain communities; and mitigating and adapting to climate change climate variability, and associated hazards. We seek an enthusiastic and adventuresome individual who is excited about studying cryosphere and other earth surface processes that abound in the Pamir as well as how to mitigate their impacts for the benefit of remote mountain communities. The researcher should be comfortable and prepared to engage in challenging field studies, in addition to the modelling and quantitative requirements. The incumbent will be expected to actively recruit, manage, and report on externally funded projects. Experience conducting team-based research, particularly within transdisciplinary environments focusing on mountain landscapes is desired. Collaboration with MSRI and external researchers working in natural resources management, land degradation, food security, and climate change adaptation will be expected. Thus, the incumbent needs to be prepared to work outside of their scientific ‘comfort zone’. Close collaboration with the Director and Associate Director of MSRI is expected to support MSRI’s mission. With time, the incumbent will contribute substantially to recruitment of external funding for projects that support MSRI’s mission. Applicants with exceptional qualifications (extensive and relevant research experience; significant publication and fund-raising records; and 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. MSRI engages with international researchers in Europe, the Americas, and throughout Asia, as well as with agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network and our donor partners.


  • PhD in earth sciences, environmental sciences, physical geography, or a related field, with a focus or strong interest in 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.
  • We expect the selected candidate to publish at least one senior-authored paper per year in a high-quality international 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 or Russian would be an advantage, but not necessary.
  • Ability to or strong interest in conducting team research and outreach.
  • Ability to rapidly understand key issues in the Central Asia mountain regions.
  • Willingness to relocate to and work out of Khorog, Tajikistan, as the duty station, a remote region of GBAO.
  • Interest or experience in development work and technology transfer.

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

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter, CV (with publication list), and contact information for three references to by 09th December 2022. Applications will be reviewed when received. Early applications are strongly encouraged. As your application e-mail subject, please write “MSRI Research Fellow”. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.