Appalachian Laboratory

Ph.D. Position (U. Maryland): Food and the Environment

The Zhang Lab at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) is seeking a motived Ph.D. student interested in investigating the interactions between food production and global environmental change with data-driven approaches. The student would have the opportunity to design his/her own topic of investigation related to food security, agricultural production, climate change, and/or global nitrogen and carbon cycles. In addition, the student will be able to work closely with modeling development groups at Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton and Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) in France.

The Zhang lab has been using interdisciplinary and data-driven approaches to examine strategies for addressing the triple challenges of food security, environment degradation, and climate change. Ongoing research projects include modeling the impact of agricultural production on global nitrogen cycle and assessing the environmental and economic trade-offs between expansion and intensification of agriculture production.

The successful candidate will have working knowledge of the biogeochemical and biophysical processes of the earth system, strong quantitative skills, and proficiency in at least one basic programming language (e.g. Matlab, R, FORTRAN). Prior research experience in environmental science and policy is desirable.

 The position is based at the UMCES Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, Maryland and comes with a highly competitive stipend and benefits package. Three years of support are available through research assistantships, with additional support possible through competitive teaching assistantships. Finalists for the position will also be encouraged to apply for fellowships through UMCES:

The student will matriculate through the Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences Program (MEES) at the University of Maryland, College Park and will reside at the Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg for the duration of the project. Frostburg is a small college town in the mountains of western Maryland, providing abundant outdoor recreational opportunities.

To apply, please email Xin Zhang ( a single PDF containing (1) a statement of interest, (2) a CV, and (3) contact information for three references. Please indicate “Food and the Environment PhD position” in your subject line. Review of applications will begin March 1, 2016 and will continue until a suitable candidate is found, with starting dates available as soon as September 2016 and no later than September 2017.

UMCES is an affirmative action, EOE.  Individuals with disabilities, veterans, women and minorities are encouraged to apply. 

Appalachian Laboratory
Contact Name:: 
Xin Zhang