Research Director

LOCATION: MSI’s program office in Silverton, Colorado, with travel to San Juan Mountain communities and research sites throughout the region

APPLICATION: Apply by February 18, 2013 for full consideration. Electronic submittal only. Include: cover letter, resume, and name of three references to Marcie Bidwell,, 970-382- 6908; also see Opportunities page for more details.


The Research Director will be responsible for continued development of MSI’s mountain research program and achieving MSI’s research goals to develop problem-oriented, interdisciplinary and disciplinary research projects for the San Juan Mountain region. The Research Director will direct, facilitate, and promote research projects and the growth of research conducted collaboratively with MSI’s partners and scientists. The Research Director will set research goals, priorities, and objectives for both the near and long-term. The Research Director will work with MSI’s Executive Director, staff, and advisors to identify and propose research opportunities and to develop partnerships, funding, and resources to accomplish these goals. The Research Director will be responsible for developing MSI’s research program and job responsibilities will include, and with certainty expand from, the following immediate areas of responsibility:

  • Promote and develop MSI’s long-term areas of study, research, and related programs through directing projects and staff, writing proposals, and partnering with MSI’s partner scientists, agencies and governments, at local, regional, state and national levels. Develop and maintain long-term monitoring programs, such as MSI’s participation in Global Observation Research In Alpine Environments project.
  • Produce, publish, and review research and science-related written and oral materials, including but not limited to: reports, peer-reviewed articles, newsletters, press releases, posters, and oral presentations in order to communicate with a broad range of audiences.
  • Maintain current partnerships such as the San Juan Collaboratory and foster new partnerships with local and regional government, agencies and researchers to define and assess research needs, to permit areas for research, and to further the mission of the organization.
  • Host college-level courses professional development trainings and seminars, and specialized short courses with diverse audiences, including students, interns, professionals, citizens, businesses and volunteers.


  1. Education: PhD (preferred) or Masters degree in a relevant field to MSI’s program themes of air quality, water and snow, ecosystems and biodiversity, climate variability and change, and community and land use transitions.
  2. Professional experience: At least five years work experience in a non-profit, agency, higher educational institution or field station is preferred. Successful candidates will possess experience in the following areas:
    • Mountain research science, natural/environmental science, and/or mountain geography, and teaching expertise (field education and curriculum development); prior experience in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado, and knowledge of southern Rocky Mountain ecology and geography is preferred.
    • Research initiative and program development/project management, including successful grant writing record.
  • Excellent communication skills including public speaking, a keen interest in mountain communities and environments, and in providing science and information to multiple stakeholders who possess a wide-range of scientific understanding.
  • Physical ability, confidence, and desire to support strenuous, sometimes multi-day field work in high altitude, remote locations under rigorous, adverse-weather conditions.


    The Research Director will possess integrity, be a creative team player, and will have the ability to: work independently in developing and accomplishing tasks; communicate well both verbally and in writing; have excellent interpersonal skills; coordinate and prioritize work in situations where multiple and diverse demands are involved; be detail-oriented; adjust to a changing environment and evolving list of job duties; and be willing to work some evenings, overnight trips, and weekends.


    MSI is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Salary is commensurate with experience and education, with a range of $45k – $60k with opportunities for growth. Vacation and health benefit package is provided. MSI is a growing research and education center. We are looking for candidates with the ambition and passion for mountain research to help grow the Institute, to explore new ways to interpret the environment, and to communicate and apply our research for the betterment of the region and the world.

Silverton, Colorado
Mountain Studies Institute
Marcie Bidwell