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USDA-ARS Agroecosystem Sustainability Research Internship

*Applications are reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline.

ARS Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory located in Mandan, North Dakota.

Research ProjectThe mission of the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory is to develop adaptive and integrative practices for sustainable, crop, livestock, and rangeland systems. Research in support of this mission involves the quantification of multiple ecosystem service over the long term. A major challenge in understanding trade-offs among ecosystem service outcomes stems from the myriad of disparate data streams collected over time. Harmonizing multiple data streams using a consistent format can facilitate the development of new scientific insights at different spatial scales. 

Given this context, the objective of this project is to facilitate integration of Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network data onto Agricultural Collaborative Research Outcomes System (AgCROS). This project is being used as a pilot project to facilitate engagement of LTAR researchers with the support structure represented by AgCROS and PDI personnel. The Farming Systems Project that will serve as the pilot project is a long-term cropping systems comparison that includes data collected within microplots to evaluate impacts of poultry litter application rate on soils with different management histories. Integrating data collected at this scale with data collected at a full plot scale will provide a useful template for other sites with equally complex datasets and will allow evaluation of sustainability of poultry litter application within treatments with different long-term management histories.

Learning ObjectivesParticipation in this project will provide hands-on experience with novel data entry templates (DETs), exposure to GIS-enabled databases, and in-depth understanding of network data requirements for national-scale research projects. Knowledge and skills developed over the course of the project will contribute to those needed to be a successful database manager.

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Mark Liebig ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: August 31, 2020.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed or extended up to five years upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.