Research Program Manager

Apply now Job no: 499450
Position type: Full-Time 12-Month
Department: 080300 - FWRC-Wildlife,Fisheries&Aquaculture
Location: Various locations in Mississippi
Categories: Professional
Position Open Date:

Salary Grade:  16

Please see Staff Compensation Structure or Skilled Crafts and Service Maintenance Compensation Schedule for salary ranges.  For salary grade UC, these positions are "Unclassified" and salary ranges are determined by the hiring department.

Department Profile:

Mississippi State University is ranked as one of the top research institutions in the United States. The Carnegie Institute has designated MSU as a "higher research activity" doctoral granting institution. We are also ranked among the nation's top 100 research institutions based on the most recent National Science Foundation survey. The 35-member faculty within the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture ( leads one of the most productive research programs in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University. The department is well-known for its highly collegial and interdisciplinary faculty, post-doctoral fellows, research and extension associates that help make the department one of the premier institutions for applied wildlife and fisheries science in the nation. As one of the fastest growing undergraduate programs in the region, our 300 undergraduate students concentrate in wildlife agriculture science, human-wildlife interactions, conservation biology, wildlife veterinary medicine, conservation law enforcement, and wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture science. The department also houses 60 graduate students across a variety of programs, with nearly 100% job placement rate following receipt of a graduate degree. Located in Starkville, MS, Mississippi State is the centerpiece of a growing college town with a vibrant and diverse community and economy, a low cost-of-living, main street family atmosphere and connections to over a hundred thousand acres of national forests, national wildlife refuges, and state recreational lands. For more information on the Starkville community visit:

Area of Specialization:

Conservation of Gulf Coast Landscapes

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

With leadership from a Core Working Group representing Restore Council member institutions and in collaboration with a large body of Gulf conservation organizations, the Strategic Conservation Assessment aims to provide a comprehensive and non-regulatory conservation planning support system that integrates stakeholder priorities and values into a transparent, defensible and dynamic framework from which strategic conservation planning can be executed. The Strategic Conservation Assessment project provides a multi-objective toolkit that will: 1) identify shared conservation priorities from existing conservation planning efforts and clarify those priorities with the broader conservation community; 2) use multi-criteria evaluation analysis to identify and evaluate co-benefits of land conservation projects based on stakeholder valuations of ecological, social, and economic measures; and, 3) develop a Gulf-wide spatial prioritization tool that helps identify important areas for voluntary land conservation efforts based on priorities of Gulf stakeholders and the best available scientific data.
The project will require extensive coordination of stakeholders representing federal, state, local and tribal governments, private citizens, non-profit organizations, industry, and public-private partnerships working together toward development of a shared conservation vision along the Gulf Coast Region. We are seeking a qualified Research Program Manager to lead the Strategic Conservation Assessment project. The Research Program Manager will serve as overall project lead for the Strategic Conservation Assessment, working under direction of the project Core Working Group, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Gulf Restoration Program Project Officer, and Mississippi State University (MSU) Principal Investigators. The Research Program Manager must be experienced in landscape-level natural resource conservation planning (ideally in the Gulf Coast Region), and will be responsible for development and coordination of several stakeholder group meetings in coastal communities across the Gulf. The Research Program Manager will serve as lead for on-going development of the conservation planning tool and geospatial framework, and administration/co-administration of a project team including an Ecological Modeler, GIS Analyst, Conservation Applications Specialist, and other administrative and support staff as appropriate. The Research Program Manager is expected to serve in a leadership role in developing and reporting on elements of each project objective and will also be responsible for regular and timely progress reports in the form of in-person meetings, conference calls/webinars, and written reports to the Core Working Group, USFWS Project Officer, and MSU Principal Investigators. The Research Program Manager will be responsible for maintaining existing and developing new partnerships via regular communications with key stakeholders in the Gulf Coast Region. This position requires extensive travel within the Gulf Coast Region, but may also require travel to meetings in other states or countries.
The position will be funded through July 2021. Salary will be commensurate with experience, up to $75,800 per year. The Research Program Manager will be located in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi. The Research Program Manager should be available to start work no later than December 1, 2019.

Minimum Qualifications:

Applicants for the Research Program Manager position must hold a Bachelor’s, Master’s degree, or Ph.D. in natural resource management or planning, or related field; The applicant must have 8+ years’ experience in working across geo-political boundaries to develop large-scale conservation planning products in coastal environments, organizing and facilitating diverse stakeholder groups, and interacting with diverse audiences. The Research Program Manager must have excellent project management skills, including oral and written communication and organizational skills, with demonstrated ability to deliver large-scale and complex projects, preferably along the Gulf Coast. The Research Program Manager must be self-motivated, able to work independently and effectively, and willing to travel extensively within the Gulf Coast Region (minimally one multi-night trip per month).

Preferred Qualifications:

Applicants with advanced degrees, or equivalent experience, are particularly encouraged to submit an application. In addition to required qualifications above, preferred qualifications include breadth and depth of experience working with the Gulf of Mexico coastal conservation and planning community, including federal, state and local governments, non-profit, private entities, and academic institutions; familiarity with the Restore Council activities and funding mechanisms; experience supervising and managing project teams comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives; experience managing/administering fiscal budgets for large conservation planning projects; experience in creating, managing, and prioritizing a multi-scale portfolio of land conservation projects, particularly along the Gulf of Mexico, that incorporates ecological, social, and economic valuation, as well as landscape threats into strategic prioritization of land conservation decisions; familiarity with Strategic Habitat Conservation or adaptive resource management concepts, and demonstrated evidence of implementation of these concepts in previous employment.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Knowledge of landscape conservation design, and partnership-driven decision support; experience with Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, Simple Multi-Attribute Rating Technique (SMART), system-level “scorecard” development, or assessment of alternative conservation planning scenarios; understanding of existing conservation priorities along the Gulf of Mexico coast, including those developed by states (e.g., State Wildlife Master Plans, Coastal Master Plans, etc.), partnerships (e.g., Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation, Gulf of Mexico Alliance, LCCs, Joint Venture initiatives, etc.), and other entities (e.g., National Estuary Programs, etc.); and experience and/or understanding of incorporating geospatial data elements into a spatial conservation planning framework or geospatial decision support system to identify priority areas for land acquisition, easement, or other incentives. Familiarity with GIS and other related software applications, particularly R and RShiny software technologies and technologies is also desirable.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

This position requires extensive travel within the Gulf Coast Region, but may also require travel to meetings in other states or countries. Position will require minimal work in field conditions or strenuous activities.

Occasional and/or light lifting required. Limited exposure to elements such as heat, cold, noise, dust, dirt, chemicals, etc., but none to the point of being disagreeable. May involve minor safety hazards where likely result would be cuts, bruises, etc.
Routine deadlines; usually sufficient lead time; variance in work volume seasonal and predictable; priorities can be anticipated; some interruptions are present; involves occasional exposure to demands and pressures from persons other than immediate supervisor.
Job frequently requires standing, walking, reaching, talking, hearing, handling objects with hands, and lifting up to 10 pounds.
Job occasionally requires sitting, climbing or balancing, stooping/kneeling/crouching/crawling, and lifting up to 100 pounds.
Vision requirements: Ability to see information in print and/or electronically.

Instructions for Applying:

Applications must include: 1) cover letter, 2) resume or Curriculum Vitae, 3) one-page statement of interest and expertise, 4) contact information for five references, and 5) academic transcripts with SSN redacted. Applicants must complete an application through the MSU HRM website, but should also email a copy of the cover letter and resume/CV directly to

Application review will begin October 25, 2019 and will continue until the position is filled. The Research Program Manager must be available to start work December 1, 2019.

Applicants may contact Kristine Evans [] with any questions prior to application submission.

Restricted Clause:

Position is contingent upon continued availability of funding.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.

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