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Research Associate - Archive
Sustainable Cities Initiative

Posting: 041205
Location: Eugene
Closes: 2013-01-15

The Sustainable Cities Initiative(SCI) seeks highly motivated, organized, and action-oriented individuals for the Research Associate Open Applicant Pool to carry out independent research, to develop research proposals and to connect and support others’ research as appropriate to advance issues of interest to SCI. Funding is currently available for a part-time research position up to one year.  Should we secure sufficient funding, SCI intends to conduct a national search for a full-time, permanent research associate position.  SCI’s objective is to secure additional research grants that will allow this position to turn into a full-time and permanent position; however an additional search will be required before the appointment is made.  We will also be accepting applications for possible future research associate positions on a continuous bases and screening those applicants as positions become available, continuing until positions are filled.  These positions are temporary, limited duration appointments with the possibility of renewal for up to three years depending on need, funding and performance.

The current research associate opening will be responsible for carry out currently funded transportation-oriented applied research to support sustainable city design and operation.

Future openings may focus on areas such as citizen involvement, green buildings, sustainable engineering, comparative international city sustainability and a wide variety of other related topics.

These positions will be directly managed by SCI’s Executive Director and will also work closely with SCI’s Associate Directors, other staff, and graduate student fellows who can assist with some job responsibilities.


  • Carry out currently funded applied research to support sustainable city design and operation, broadly defined;
  • Developing research concepts and securing grants and other funding to support the researcher’s own work;
  • Cultivating relationships and promoting research efforts and funding with an interdisciplinary set of potential researchers across the University of Oregon, with colleagues at other Oregon institutions, and with partners at institutions across the country as appropriate;
  • Supervising students, as necessary, to help carry out and disseminate research;
  • Translation of research into actionable items and transmission of that research to policy makers, business and community leaders, and assisting others with this work.


  • Terminal degree in a relevant field, such as planning, environmental studies, public policy, geography, political science, law, architecture, or other related field.
  • Experience in securing research funding, including experience as a proposal writer, and the ability to continue grant writing and fund raising.
  • Excellent writing and communications skills, including ability to publish in academic and lay publications.
  • Demonstrated self-motivation.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and maintain overall program mission.
  • Ability to work cooperatively in an entrepreneurial, action-oriented team environment.
  • Candidates should have the credentials and capacity to carry out already funded research projects relating to transportation planning and triple bottom line analyses of transportation projects and other infrastructure investments (CURRENT OPENING – MAY 2012).


  • Minimum three years of professional research experience, including working as a lead investigator.
  • Scholarly publications or influential policy report writing.
  • Knowledge of and experience with a variety of qualitative and quantitative social science research methods and willingness and ability to learn new methods as need arises to conduct or supervise a wide variety of applied research projects.
  • Candidates who bring relevant funded grants with them are highly desirable.

Candidates must be able to work independently and in a team environment in research effort for SCI. As a quickly growing, start-up organization, all SCI team members must be able to lead in their own tasks while looking for ways to interact and contribute to the other functions of SCI. SCI is aggressively collaborative, and the candidate must be interested in contributing to the whole while developing independent leadership of the research program.

Positions filled through this pool may be subject a criminal background check.

To Apply:

Please send a cover letter and curriculum vita/resume, a writing sample, the names, affiliations, phone numbers, and email addresses of three references via email to: Bob Choquette choquett@uoregon.edu.  Questions about the position and its responsibilities can be directed to Robert Liberty (liberty@uoregon.edu), Nico Larco (nlarco@uoregon.edu) or Marc Schlossberg (schlossb@uoregon.edu).

The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 


SCI is a cross-disciplinary organization at the University of Oregon (UO) that integrates research, education, service, and public outreach. Its mission is to improve the design, development and operation of cities and to serve as a model for universities’ engagement in promoting sustainable cities. SCI works at a variety of scales from large regions to individual buildings.  In addition to design, SCI addresses issues of policy, governance, and the use and conservation of materials and energy, as well as social aspects of sustainable cities.

SCI connects this work to students, scholars, funders, project partners, and policy makers. Service learning is a key aspect of this work.  Eleven different departments and programs participate in SCI activities, including planning, architecture, landscape architecture, public policy, law, business, arts administration, history, journalism, product design, civil engineering, and economics.  SCI is one of the UO’s five Big Ideas, which is an internal program to identify and support key institutional priorities. 

SCI’s multi-disciplinary approach is grounded in the belief that that multiple perspectives and areas of expertise are the key to addressing issues of sustainability within our communities.  SCI synthesizes existing faculty research work under a single theme, and serves as a catalyst for expanded research and teaching endeavors that result in applied, real world solutions.

SCI operates several programs, including:

*Sustainable City Year Program (SCYP)- This is a significant and groundbreaking service learning-based program that directs existing courses across disciplines to serve a single city during an entire academic year. Each academic year, about 25 courses, 25 faculty members in 10 pr, pre disciplines, and 500 students, contribute about 80,000 hours of effort to advancing the sustainability of one city in Oregon. Participating cities have been Gresham, Salem and Springfield. For more information, see http://sci.uoregon.edu/scy

*Applied Research- Many of SCI’s members are national experts on issues of livability and sustainable cities. SCI is interested in developing more integrated and truly collaborative research, including relationships that span campuses. SCI intends to foster more of these ‘real’ collaborations through building on our core strengths in the topics of: Transportation Livability Metrics, Sustainable Suburbs, Active Transportation, and Urban Ecology/Ecological Design.  An important component of SCI research is that it is applied and policy-relevant.

*Policy Advising- Issues of sustainable city design and livability address significant national priorities of climate change, obesity, and general quality of life. SCI has been involved in the policy arena in multiple ways and seeks to strengthen its role in helping guide policy at state and national levels.

*Experts-in-Residence (EIR)- This program brings national experts to Oregon for multi-day engagements with faculty, students, and the community on issues of critical importance. In 2009, Bill Wilkinson, one of the nation’s experts in bicycle and pedestrian policy came to Oregon, and in May 2010, Professor Jonathan Levine from the University of Michigan came to Oregon to talk about transportation, land use, and zoning. In 2011, SCI hosted Gabe Klein, former director of the Washington DC Department of Transportation and now director of Chicago’s DOT.

*International Programs- SCI is currently discussing research, education, and training programs with Chinese universities and planning and design institutes.  We also have begun exploring partnerships with European institutions and universities in Oceania.

SCI is a participant in the University of Oregon’s broader effort to replace greatly diminished funding from the state of Oregon (now less than 6%) with funding from a variety of sources.  Current funding for SCI comes from external grant funding, fee for service contracts, institutional support, and philanthropy.


The University of Oregon has over 24,000 undergraduate students and approximately 4,000 graduate students. There are 3,700 students of color and 1,700 international students.  The university has an institutional commitment to diversity and multiculturalism, and actively supports this goal.  The UO is known for its spirit of cooperation and collaboration, and for its ability to provide a variety of personal and professional opportunities that make a difference.

The University of Oregon is located in Eugene, Oregon, home to more than 155,000 people.  Eugene is part of the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area of 350,000 people. Within 100 miles are ocean beaches, coastal rain forests, lakes, rivers, the Cascade and Coast mountain ranges and the high desert.  Eugene’s climate is characterized by sunny, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.  It is two hours by car and 2.5 hours by train from Portland.