New PhD level graduate student position in Environmental Science and Policy (Filled by 03/01/2021)

The Environmental Science and Policy Lab at the Appalachian Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (AL-UMCES) is seeking a motivated Ph.D. student interested in investigating the interactions between agricultural production and sustainable Food-Energy-Water nexus with data-driven approaches. This position is funded by a research project recently awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF), titled “INFEWS: U.S.-China: Managing agricultural nitrogen to achieve sustainable Food-Energy-Water Nexus in China and the U.S.” ( The student will be advised by Professor Xin Zhang, the PI of the project, and will be co-advised by Professor Eric A. Davidson. The student will work with the project team to apply a state-of-art nitrogen (N) budget model to the U.S. and develop it into a policy analysis tool to inform sustainable N management. Through this transdisciplinary and transnational project, the student will have ample opportunities to work with a range of stakeholders and experts.

Qualifications: The successful candidate will have 1) a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Soil Science, or similar field; 2) good quantitative skills, including statistics and mathematics; 3) proficient in at least one programming language; and 4) basic knowledge about nutrient cycles.

Start Date: August 2021 or earlier. The review of applications will begin Dec. 20, 2020 and continue until a qualified candidate is found.

Location: The UMCES Appalachian Laboratory, Frostburg, MD. Frostburg is a small college town with a low cost of living and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities. Nearby amenities include numerous state forests and wildlife areas, scenic Appalachian Mountains, and Frostburg State University.

Description: The assistantship will include tuition coverage, benefits, and a 12-month annual stipend of over $26,000. Three years of support are available through the NSF research assistantship, with additional support available through AL-UMCES institutional funds and fellowships.

Program: The student will matriculate through the Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences Program (MEES;, a University of Maryland multi-campus joint degree program, and will reside at the Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg for the duration of the project. For the MEES program, the application deadline for fall enrolment is Jan 10, 2021. Note that the GRE is no longer required for the application.

In addition to the MEES application, interested candidates should also send an email to Xin Zhang ( containing following documents as a single PDF: (1) a statement of interest, (2) a CV, (3) contact information (names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses) for three references, and (4) copy of academic transcripts (optional).  Please indicate in your subject line “[NSF-NSFC positions]”. Informal inquiries are also welcome.

Information about AL and UMCES can be found at:  UMCES is an affirmative action, EOE.  Individuals with disabilities, veterans, women and minorities are encouraged to apply.