Postdoctoral Associate on Collaborative Governance & Social Marketing

Job Description

The Virginia Tech Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Laboratory in Manassas Virginia seeks a highly motivated and collaborative researcher with expertise in collaborative governance, particularly at the science-policy interface, and/or with social marketing. The postdoctoral associate will contribute to the implementation of a National Science Foundation Growing Convergence Research (NSF-GCR) project on inland freshwater salinization. With the Occoquan Reservoir in Northern Virginia as its test bed, this NSF GCR project aims to understand the various sources of freshwater salinization and catalyze stakeholder-driven management strategies to address freshwater salinization. The project brings together faculty and students from four universities and nearly 40 stakeholders representing a broad range of societal sectors, perspectives, and expertise in freshwater salinization (

This position is an initial two-year postdoctoral appointment. The salary is $70,000 per year, with a start date of February 1, 2023. PhD must be awarded no more than two years prior to the effective date of appointment with a minimum of three years eligibility remaining.

The postdoctoral associate will be based in the Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Lab (OWML) in Manassas, VA, with occasional required travel to the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, VA. Occasional travel to attend professional conferences and engage in project activities is also required.

With the guidance of their faculty mentors and in cooperation with other project team members, the postdoctoral associate will work on the following research activities:
(1) Designing and facilitating stakeholder engagement, particularly to advance ‘joint fact-finding’ as a means to build a shared understanding of the nature of freshwater salinization and implications of potential decisions.
(2) Planning and executing studies to evaluate the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement and collaborative governance approaches applied, and in particular joint fact-finding efforts.
(3) Designing, implementing, and assessing a social marketing program within the water and sewershed to test the efficacy of strategies to reduce non-point contributions of salt to the system.
(4) Working with the team overall to advance its transdisciplinary convergence agenda, including a two-week transdisciplinary research summer bootcamp for undergraduates.
(5) Presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on collaborative governance, social marketing, and the facilitation and evaluation of convergence research.

With mentorship, the postdoctoral associate will lead the design of research, data collection and analysis, and manuscript writing on the aforementioned research topics. The postdoctoral associate will help support coordination and collaboration among the project team and with other stakeholders. The postdoctoral associate will have the chance to mentor masters and PhD students. The postdoctoral associate will receive guidance and training in the preparation of manuscripts for scientific journals, presentations for conferences, and proposal writing.

Required Qualifications

(1) Ph.D. in a relevant Social Science discipline (e.g., Public Policy, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, Psychology); PhD must be awarded no more than two years prior to the effective date of appointment with a minimum of three years eligibility remaining.
(2) Expertise in collaborative governance and/or social marketing.
(3) Publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at conferences about collaborative
governance and/or social marketing.

Preferred Qualifications

(1) Expertise and experience in designing, facilitating, and assessing multi-stakeholder collaborative governance processes, ideally within the context of environmental management.
(2) Expertise and experience in designing, implementing, and assessing a social marketing campaign.
(3) Evaluation expertise.
(4) Knowledge of Common Pool Resource Theory.

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Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges , a school of medicine , a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School , and Honors College . The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers . A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Todd Schenk at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Advertised: November 3, 2022
Applications close:

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