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Assistant Scientist CC&SD

Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America Req #114
Thursday, February 7, 2019

Candidates should submit the following in a single pdf file: 1) CV, 2) cover letter, 3), research statement (3 pages maximum), and 4) contact information for three referees.

The Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) explores and implements new, science-based approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity. CCSD’s strategies for conservation are based on a sound, scientific understanding of the occurrence and distribution of plants. CCSD applies the knowledge of plant diversity accumulated by Missouri Botanical Garden researchers over many years, making that knowledge usable for conservation planning and decision-making. Operating under the auspices of the Garden and as part of its division of Science and Conservation, CCSD builds upon the Garden’s institutional expertise, scientific programs, influence and resources.



The holder of this position is expected to develop an innovative and extramurally-funded research program that advances the science of restoration ecology. Specific research foci could include but are not limited to one or more of the following: plant community ecology, fire ecology, plant-soil interactions, plant-pollinator interactions, biological invasions, ecosystem processes/function, and/or plant ecotypes. The candidate’s research should build upon the strengths of MBG’s local and international field programs, and complement CCSD’s research in conservation biology, conservation genetics, global change, community ecology, and biodiversity science. This individual will also interact with a broader community of students and scientists at universities, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies. Scientists have the opportunity for academic appointments and interactions with students and faculty at St. Louis area universities.


The successful candidate will have capacity to attract financial support for research activities by preparing proposals and obtaining grants from outside funding sources. The successful candidate will conduct daily operations of assigned projects or programs without direct supervision, prepare scientific papers as leading author, and interact with Garden staff and other collaborators to prepare collaborative scientific papers. Additionally, this individual will present lectures to professional organizations and broader audiences as appropriate and will assist visiting scientists as appropriate.


Supervisory Responsibilities: This position supervises undergraduate and graduate students associated with the Garden’s restoration projects; position may lead and direct volunteers and may participate on selection committees regarding other employees.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Takes leadership role in implementing research on the restoration of degraded ecosystems at MBG’s Shaw Nature Reserve and other field sites and natural areas in the St. Louis region, nationally, and internationally.

  • Conducts independent research and writes results for publication in peer reviewed journals. Works with the CCSD team in ongoing research projects.

  • Builds restoration capacity in MBG international field program in the neotropics and Madagascar.

  • Identifies potential funding sources and writes proposals to secure external funding for research projects and program expansion.

  • Participate in scientific meetings and delivers lectures to professional organizations and to the general public as requested.

  • Attracts new scientific collaborators and develops partnerships with organizations, establishing cooperative agreements for strengthening the program, as appropriate.

  • Works within MBG established guidelines in preparing and monitoring grant proposal budgets.

  • Collaborates with staff in other relevant divisions of MBG to support complementary restoration activities, including (but not limited to) Horticulture, Education and the Shaw Nature Reserve

  • Mentors and supervises students, interns, and volunteers working with a team of scientists.

  • Reviews scientific papers and grant proposals as requested.

  • May participate in the hiring and selection process of employees and volunteers.

  • Demonstrates highest level of professional and ethical conduct.

  • Adherence to all health and safety guidelines.

  • Behave & communicate in a manner that promotes and fosters a culture of teamwork, cooperation, and respect within our division and throughout the Garden with all employees, supervisors/managers, volunteers, visitors and others.


  • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills; sound judgment/decisiveness.

  • Exceptional time management, planning, and organizational skills.

  • Excellent work quality and dependability; demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness.

  • Results oriented; strives to achieve or surpass objectives; works to improve performance with a commitment to continuous improvement.

  • Strong technical ability.

  • Good ability to work as part of a team,.

  • Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity. Strategic Thinking - Develops strategies to achieve positional goals; Understands department’s strengths & weaknesses; Adapts strategy to changing conditions.

  • Innovation - Displays original thinking and creativity; Meets challenges with resourcefulness; Generates suggestions for improving work; Develops innovative approaches and ideas; Presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others' attention.

  • Motivation - Sets and achieves challenging goals; Demonstrates persistence and overcomes obstacles; Measures self against standard of excellence; Takes calculated risks to accomplish goals.

  • Judgment-Displays willingness to make decisions; Exhibits sound and accurate judgment; Supports and explains reasoning for decisions; Includes appropriate people in decision-making process; Makes timely decisions.

  • Dependability - Follows instructions, responds to management direction; Takes responsibility for own actions; Keeps commitments; Commits to additional work hours when necessary to reach goals; Completes tasks on time or notifies appropriate person with an alternate plan.

  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings, as required.

  • Interpersonal - Focuses on solving conflict, not blaming; Maintains confidentiality; Listens to others without interrupting; Keeps emotions under control; Remains open to others' ideas and tries new things.

  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively, using correct spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Presents numerical data effectively; Able to read and interpret written information.

  • Ethics - Treats people with respect; Keeps commitments; Inspires the trust of others; Works with integrity and ethically; Upholds organizational values.

  • Professionalism - Approaches others in a tactful manner; Reacts well under pressure; Accepts responsibility for own actions; Follows through on commitments.

  • Safety and Security - Observes safety and security procedures; Determines appropriate action beyond guidelines; Reports potentially unsafe conditions; Uses equipment and materials properly.


  • Strong background including a minimum of (2) year’s prior experience or coursework in one or more of the following fields: restoration ecology, conservation science, community ecology, landscape ecology, spatial analysis.
  • Demonstrated ability including a minimum of (2) year’s experience using R and ESRI software (or at least one of the above tools).
  • Prior experience writing scientific papers, grant proposals and reports.
  • Demonstrated experience in seeking external funding.
  • Strong understanding of financial budget development/management and forecasting process to effectively manage grant’s budget.
  • Willingness and flexibility to conduct field work.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills; professional, speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; listens and gets clarification; responds well to questions; is tactful and treats others with respect.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively at all levels; working with diverse teams including international colleagues required.
  • Frequent domestic and international travel required.
  • The requirements and duties listed above are representative and do not constitute an exhaustive list of the knowledge, skill, and/or abilities required.
  • An equivalent combination of skills, education and experience may be considered.

Education: Ph.D. in ecology, restoration science, conservation science, or related discipline required.

Computer Skills: Proficient with Microsoft Office suite (i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).

Other Skills and Abilities:  Exceptional public speaking skills required.

Language Skills:  Ability to communicate effectively in English (oral/written).  Fluency in Spanish and/or French a plus.

Mathematical Skills: Proficient college math aptitude-ability to work with statistics.

Reasoning Ability:  Requires ability to conduct independent research and to actively participate in team work; apply facts and principles for developing approaches and techniques to problem resolution; represent the interests and projects a positive image of the Missouri Botanical Garden

  • Certificates, Licenses, Registrations: 

    ·         Must be able to obtain and maintain a valid driver’s license.

    ·         Must be able to obtain and maintain a passport for international travel.

    ·         Must be able to obtain visas, vaccinations and immunizations for all countries where travel is required.

  • Physical Demands:

    • Ability to travel independently in economy class on airplanes, trains and other conveyances both domestic and international.

    • Ability to lift 35 lbs. and over.

    • Manual dexterity to use a computer keyboard for the purpose of accurately. communicating, writing, and managing research data.

    • Ability to walk, stand, kneel, or climb as required and move about for extended periods of time.

    • Physical fitness necessary for field studies involving multi-week hikes/rides/camping in difficult terrain.

    • May be required to perform tasks at varying heights and at high altitudes.

    • Ability to wear Personal Protective Equipment, as needed.

    Work Environment:

    • Office and laboratory environment in St. Louis and overseas; overseas field trips, including in developing countries and/or in remote and rugged regions

    • Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions, especially those encountered in tropical regions   


    Candidates should submit the following in a single pdf file: 1) CV, 2) cover letter, 3), research statement (3 pages maximum), and 4) contact information for three referees.

  • Other details

    • Pay Type Salary
    • Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America