Opportunities at the Natural Capital Project

Join the NatCap team

Geographic Info Systems Specialist 1

We seek a creative and talented remote sensing expert for a Geographic Information Systems Specialist position to advance the use of remote sensing in our ES models. With remotely sensed indicators of ecosystem condition, phenology or biomass, and other ecosystem characteristics such as soil moisture becoming available at increasingly fine resolutions and broad extents, ES tools should be adapted to make better use of this information. Cutting edge approaches to derive ecosystem structure and function from continuous variables could be mainstreamed into ES tools, to replace or augment inputs currently represented by categorical land use information. This position will identify useful data sources derived from remote sensing, perform routine spatial data analyses and derive new products where necessary test these products against observed data, create and maintain spatial databases of remote sensing inputs to ES models, and prepare maps and graphics using a variety of geospatial software and graphic applications. Please note this position is fixed term for 18 months with a possibility of reappointment based on programmatic and funding needs.

Under general supervision, perform routine spatial data analyses, create and maintain databases and prepare maps and graphics using a variety of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and graphic applications


  • Create maps, charts, tables, graphs and graphics using GIS and related software. Identify attributes to be associated with mapped features and link to features as data are collected, surveyed or drafted.
    • Create new remotely sensed data products using GIS and related software (such as python, including pygeoprocessing that underlies our flagship InVEST software)
  • Develop and maintain geospatial databases. Conduct research to locate and obtain existing databases. Correct data to ensure highest degree of accuracy.
  • Compile geographic data from a variety of sources including censuses, field observations, GPS, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and existing maps.
  • Analyze and integrate spatial data for geographic statistics to incorporate into documents and reports.
  • Identify and display geographic relationships among varying types of data.
  • Enter new map data through use of a digitizer or by direct input of coordinate information using various cartographic methods.
  • Work with clients to identify data needs.
  • Move, copy, delete and add files, drawings, and maps to output reports in hard copy or for electronic transfer.
  • Modify or test existing scripts.
    • Create software scripts for automating the creations of new remote sensing products.

* Other duties may also be assigned

Get more information and apply at the Stanford Careers page.

Post-doctoral Researcher

Environmental justice and urban ecosystem services

The CREATE Initiative (z.umn.edu/createchange), funded by the University of Minnesota’s Grand Challenge program, seeks a post-doctoral researcher to work on community-engaged, anti-racist research on urban environmental change. The position will be based at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Geography, Environment and Society and supervised by Dr. Kate Derickson and Dr. Bonnie Keeler. The position is funded for two years.

CREATE is co-directed by Dr. Bonnie Keeler (Institute on the Environment, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Natural Capital Project) and Dr. Kate Derickson (Dept. of Geography, Environment and Society) in partnership with faculty across the University of Minnesota and a network of community leaders in the U.S. and internationally. CREATE supports research at the intersections of water and equity, particularly with communities whose priorities have historically been underrepresented in academic research. The CREATE Initiative aims to pilot new models of engaged-scholarship, grounded in historical context, that address geographies of racial inequality, infrastructure investments, and the delivery of environmental services. The Initiative also offers training to graduate students from a range of disciplines interested in designing collaborative co-developed research on environmental justice and water issues.

CREATE will build on ongoing collaborations with the Mapping Prejudice Project – a comprehensive spatial visualization of historical racial covenants that have shaped the development of Minneapolis neighborhoods, the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, and the Natural Capital Project’s Livable Cities program. Working with community-based partners in Atlanta and Minneapolis, the Initiative is conducting research to identify how past urban infrastructure investments continue to shape outcomes with implications for racial equity and future park and water infrastructure planning.

As part of CREATE, the post-doctoral researcher would conduct research to identify how past urban infrastructure investments continue to shape environmental outcomes with implications for racial equity, water quality, and future policy and planning. We seek a motivated and resourceful scholar interested in playing a leadership role in this new initiative, including developing collaborative relationships with external partners, identifying and exploring research questions at the intersection of water, equity, and urban transformations (past and future), and mentoring students in actionable, community-oriented research. The post-doctoral researcher will also assist with designing and teaching a 1-credit course and participate in supervising and facilitating graduate summer research with community-based collaborators. They will also take a leadership role in planning and writing scholarly papers on the basis of the work of the Initiative.
For more information and to apply see: z.umn.edu/praxislab_CREATEpostdoc

Postdoctoral Associate

Quantifying and mapping urban ecosystem services

The Natural Capital Project at Stanford seeks a creative and independent researcher to support the development of models, tools, and approaches to assess urban ecosystem services. The postdoc will lead the technical development of the models (e.g. habitat quality for biodiversity, noise attenuation, physical and mental health services) and their application in case studies in the U.S. and internationally.

The position will be based with The Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, in the lab of Prof. Gretchen Daily (Biology; Natural Capital Project founder and faculty mentor), and will be co-supervised by project lead Dr. Perrine Hamel and Prof. David Freyberg (Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and project advisor).

The Natural Capital Project (NatCap) is developing practical tools and approaches to account for nature’s contributions to society, and mainstreaming these into policy, finance, and management. NatCap is a partnership among Stanford University, the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. We are a team of academics, software engineers, and practitioners with the optimism, commitment, and humility to work together. Our common quest is to shine a light on the intimate connections between people and nature, and to reveal, test, and scale ways of securing the well-being of both.

The postdoc will be responsible for: i) developing new models to expand the InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) software suite for applicability in urban environments, working closely with software engineers; ii) leading the application of these tools to conduct ecosystem services assessments in pilot cities (e.g. in China and the U.S.); and iii) maintaining and expanding our academic network to collaborate with leading groups in the field of urban ecosystem services, particularly through a working group of experts we are convening to develop and test these models. The initial focus of model development will be on physical and mental health services, habitat quality for biodiversity, and noise attenuation.

The position is funded for 12 months, with potential to extend the appointment depending on funding and performance. The post-doctoral researcher will be encouraged to collaborate on grants and pursue additional partnerships and funding opportunities through the Natural Capital Project and its partners.

Required Qualifications:
PhD in urban ecology, environmental science or engineering, or related field
Experience with environmental modeling in the urban environment
Interest in producing impactful and decision-relevant work
Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communications skills

Preferred Qualifications:
Experience working internationally and with diverse non-academic audiences
Experience with ArcGIS or other GIS software and/or processing remotely sensed products
Experience developing models in environmental engineering or science
Experience with programming languages or applications (MatLab, R, python)
Experience supervising interns or undergraduate research assistants
International travel experience and foreign language skills

Start date: June 2018, negotiable
Duration: 12 months, with possibility of extension
Compensation: Stanford offers a competitive postdoc salary and benefits package, commensurate with experience

How to apply:
Email your CV and a cover letter describing your experience and interest to perrine.hamel@stanford.edu with URBAN POSTDOC in the subject. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and we expect to make a decision by mid May.

Stanford University is committed to equal opportunity through affirmative action in employment and we are especially eager to identify minority persons and women with appropriate qualifications. More information on the project can be found at www.naturalcapitalproject.org.

Fellows Program

Scientists interested in pursuing research that aligns with the mission and programs of the Natural Capital Project can engage with us as a NatCap Fellow. This mechanism provides mid- to late-career researchers and professionals with the opportunity to work with NatCap for a short time. It is intended for researchers who have defined a specific project to work on in collaboration with NatCap, and a position to which they will return following this Fellowship (e.g., an academic sabbatical). The Fellowship is designed to provide a self-directed and mutually beneficial learning environment, we hope to learn as much from you and your research as you do from us. Fellows are initiated only after mutual agreement and identification of a primary liaison from NatCap, who will foster mutual learning with other researchers and the broader NatCap team.

If you are interested in engaging with NatCap as a Fellow, discuss first with one of our Lead Scientists or co-founders, and we can take the discussions from there!