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Research Associate in Applied Genetics

Hiring Organization:
Field Projects International and Inkaterra Association

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Field Projects International, in partnership with the Inkaterra Association, announces an opening for an experienced molecular ecologist to carry out molecular field research programs and oversee the operation of the Green Lab, a genetics field laboratory located in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Ideal candidates will be fluent in both English and Spanish, have prior training in molecular research, including the application of genomic techniques, have prior success obtaining research grants, and be able to problem solve and work independently. Previous tropical research experience is not required. We seek an ambitious colleague who will complement and enhance our ongoing research programs, facilitate publication of research outcomes, and contribute to field science outreach efforts in lowland Amazonia.

The genetic sciences are at the core of wildlife research and conservation biology today, but the vast majority of genetics research is accomplished only in high-earning countries. For years, FPI has been involved in large-scale sample collection programs in Peru, followed by relentless work to transport samples to outside labs for data analysis. Innumerable delays, significant effort, and large amounts of money are involved in analyzing biological samples this way. Further, there is a substantial loss of opportunity for professional growth and advancement to bright and ambitious local researchers. We hope to combat this imbalance through the implementation of the Green Lab Initiative. In collaboration with ITA, the first Green Lab in Peru will be outfitted with field-friendly technology that offers everything from on-site DNA isolation to sequencing and analysis. Our hope is for 1) local researchers to gain access to comparable tools for DNA barcoding, phylogenetic, population genetics, and genomic methods as foreign researchers; 2) cut costs and improve efficiency for field scientists; 3) provide real-time molecular services to local conservationists involved in wildlife rescue and reintroduction, and biodiversity monitoring and preservation. The scientist hired for this position will be integral to the success of this initiative and be committed to both research and education.

This is a full-time, in-residence position for one year, at the newly renovated Inkaterra Guides Field Station, near Puerto Maldonado, Peru.

Primary Responsibilities:

Manage and supervise the use of the field genetics laboratory
Assist in the development and execution of several research projects pertaining to molecular disease ecology, feeding ecology, microbiome research, and taxon barcoding.
Assist with workshops on applied genetics for local researchers and students
Supervise field research interns
Assist with short workshops on applied genetics for foreign student groups

Main Benefits:

All-expenses-paid opportunity to live and conduct research in the Amazon rainforest at a brand new field molecular laboratory
Assist with local conservation research
Empower local scientists and students to use molecular techniques
Ongoing opportunities to pitch and carry-out your own research interests

This position is ideal for early- to mid-career candidates with a Ph.D., or equivalent training, in a relevant field, with an interest in having unique access to a molecular laboratory in the Amazon rainforest.

Internal research funds are provided for ongoing research projects of the Green Lab. Lodging and food will be covered. Travel reimbursement will be provided for one round-trip ticket after successful completion of a 1-month review and training period. This is an all-expenses paid research-residency and is NOT a salaried position; however, opportunities for teaching field genetics training programs and overseeing research internship programs will occur throughout the year and compensation is provided for all teaching efforts.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
See above

Term of Appointment:
Start dates for this position are either May 1, 2018 (preferred) or July 16, 2018, for a period of 1 year

Application Deadline:
The position is open until filled; review of applications will begin on March 12, 2018.

Interested candidates should submit by email a cover letter, curriculum vitae, two to four significant publications, and the names and contact information for three references to Dr. Gideon Erkenswick at

Contact Information:
Gideon Erkenswick Watsa


E-mail Address:

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