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Postdoctoral Researcher – Land Systems Science

We are recruiting a postdoctoral researcher to lead a multi-scalar investigation of farmland conversion and its relationship to state and federal agricultural land retention policies. The U.S. has an increasing demand for developed land, and agricultural lands are being converted to meet that need. From 2001 to 2016, 11 million acres of American farmland were converted for development. The U.S. has implemented a suite of land use policies to balance agricultural production with development needs, but there is limited empirical evidence describing the effectiveness of those policies in reducing farmland conversion or their potential to shift farmland loss to neighboring locations (i.e. leakage). Building on American Farmland Trust’s “Farms Under Threat” project, the post-doc will use spatial econometric and causal identification strategies to evaluate a) the drivers of farmland loss, b) the impact of policies on the rates and patterns of farmland loss, and c) policy leakage across multiple scales and for different agricultural production systems.


The ideal candidate with have strong spatial and quantitative modeling skills, a broad understanding of policy impact analysis, and experience with counterfactual and quasi-experimental statistical analysis techniques. They will have experience handling large datasets, expertise in GIS, database development and management, and strong coding skills. Strong written and verbal communication skills are required, as is the ability to work well in a team that includes interdisciplinary scientists and professionals.


This project has strong potential for high-impact peer-reviewed publications. In addition, the project has strong potential to influence policies associated with farmland protection because it is conducted in collaboration with American Farmland Trust, which is a leader in farmland protection policy and advocacy. The project team includes Dr. Jodi Brandt (land use scientist at Boise State), Dr. Mitch Hunter (Research Director at American Farmland Trust), Dr. Jayash Paudel and Lee Parton (economists) and Matt Williamson (conservation scientist).  The post-doc will join the Human-Environment Systems community (, a group of faculty, researchers and students committed to trans-disciplinary, team-based, actionable research that addresses real-world environmental challenges.



We are seeking a candidate with expertise in land use, land systems, econometrics and spatial analysis, and social-ecological systems. Competitive candidates will have a PhD and research or job experience related to the topics above. Boise State University embraces and welcomes diversity in its faculty, student body, and staff. Accordingly, applicants who would add to the diversity and excellence of our academic community are encouraged to apply.

Salary and benefits

This position is funded by a USDA NIFA AFRI grant that includes salary ($50,000/year) and full benefits for at least two years. The position starts Summer of 2021.

To Apply

Applicants should apply with CV, contact information for 3 references, and cover letter that includes specific examples of data science and analysis skills. Apply through the Boise State application site, found here. Informal inquiries about the position can be directed to Jodi Brandt (

About Boise

Boise State is in the beautiful city of Boise, which strikes a perfect balance with close-by outdoor recreational activities as well as a vibrant downtown life. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the capital of the State of Idaho, Boise is frequently featured as a top-ranked metropolis. The city has ample opportunities for world-class outdoor activities year round and a thriving arts and entertainment culture. In 2017, US News and World report ranked Boise the 12th best city to live in the United States. To learn more, please view “Visit Boise” link at: