Opportunities at the Natural Capital Project

Join the NatCap team

Postdoctoral Associate

Understanding and modeling urban ecosystem services

The Natural Capital Project at Stanford seeks a creative and independent researcher to support the development of models, tools, and approaches to assess urban ecosystem services. The postdoc will lead the technical development of the models and their application in case studies in the U.S. and internationally.

The position will be based with The Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, in the lab of Prof. Gretchen Daily (Biology; Natural Capital Project founder and faculty mentor), and will be co- supervised by project lead Dr. Perrine Hamel and Prof. David Freyberg (Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and project advisor).

The Natural Capital Project (NatCap) is developing practical tools and approaches to account for nature’s contributions to society, and mainstreaming these into policy, finance, and management. NatCap is a partnership among Stanford University, the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. We are a team of academics, software engineers, and practitioners with the optimism, commitment, and humility to work together. Our common quest is to shine a light on the intimate connections between people and nature, and to reveal, test, and scale ways of securing the well-being of both.

The postdoc will be responsible for: i) improving existing ecosystem services models and developing new models to expand the InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) software suite for applicability in urban environments, working closely with software engineers; ii) leading the application of these tools to conduct ecosystem services assessments in pilot cities in China, the U.S., and elsewhere; and iii) maintaining and expanding our academic network to collaborate with leading groups in the field of urban ecosystem services, particularly through a working group of experts we are convening to develop and test these models. The initial focus of model development will be on stormwater retention, urban heat mitigation, and urban recreation services.

The position is funded for 12 months, with potential to extend the appointment depending on funding and performance. The post-doctoral researcher will be encouraged to collaborate on grants and pursue additional partnerships and funding opportunities through the Natural Capital Project and its partners.

Required Qualifications:
PhD in urban ecology or hydrology, microclimate science, environmental engineering, or related field Experience with environmental modeling in the urban environment
Interest in producing impactful and decision-relevant work Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communications skills

Preferred Qualifications:
Experience working internationally and with diverse non-academic audiences
Experience with ArcGIS or other GIS software and/or processing remotely sensed products Experience developing models in engineering, hydrology, or climate science
Experience with programming languages or applications (MatLab, R, python) Experience supervising interns or undergraduate research assistants International travel experience and foreign language skills

Start date: December 2017, negotiable
Duration: 12 months, with possibility of extension
Compensation: Stanford offers a competitive postdoc salary and benefits package, commensurate with experience

How to apply:
Email your CV and a cover letter describing your experience and interest to perrine.hamel@stanford.edu with URBAN POSTDOC in the subject. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and we expect to make a decision by Nov 20.

Stanford University is committed to equal opportunity through affirmative action in employment and we are especially eager to identify minority persons and women with appropriate qualifications. More information on the project can be found at www.naturalcapitalproject.org.

Software Engineer

We are a small software engineering team embedded in a cross-disciplinary academic, science, and policy making partnership. Our team develops and supports our open source ecosystem service modeling software, InVEST, as well as PyGeoprocessing, our open source geoprocessing pipeline, and several other tools. We also provide support for data processing, numerical computation, server maintenance, and whatever tasks ease a scientist’s workload. Our daily workflow includes design documents, source control, code review, and test suites. While our software toolkit includes Python, BitBucket, Jenkins, and a bit of Google Cloud. We are fans of “Soul of a New Machine”, “The Pragmatic Programmer”, and “JavaScript: the good parts”.

Our software team has been working at the Natural Capital Project for over 6 years. And we are hiring new engineers to help us develop our next generation platform. This includes the integration of cloud data services into InVEST, reasonable optimization methods, and an end-user workbench. We are seeking engineers that have experience in scientific software development, numerical programming, user interface implementation, and cloud development. We are very open to engineers who have a good track record of developing and deploying any kind of significant software project.

To apply, submit a traditional CV with work and school experience and a cover letter describing why you would be a good fit for this position. If possible, please include examples of a code portfolio or links to any software you have developed. We’re also interested in other things you’ve created, books, art, design, even back to childhood. Anything that shows a standing dedication to long term projects.

Our main office is located on the beautiful Stanford campus. Though many days we meet at local coffee shops and libraries in the area. We offer a relaxed and flexible work environment.

Feel free to check out our work on BitBucket: bitbucket.org/natcap


  • BS, MS, or Ph.D. in Computer science or equivalent required.
  • Experience developing and deploying a significant software project.


  • Experience in open source software development or software for scientific applications.
  • Experience scripting or programming in GIS especially the GDAL and OGR libraries.
  • Experience with distributed computing or cloud development.
  • Experience in user interface design and implementation especially with the Qt5 library.

Stanford University is committed to equal opportunity through affirmative action in employment and we are especially eager to identify minority persons and women with appropriate qualifications. More information on the project can be found at www.naturalcapitalproject.org.

Apply at the Stanford careers page, job number 76177.

Fellows Program

Scientists interested in pursuing research that aligns with the mission and programs of the Natural Capital Project can engage with us as a NatCap Fellow. This mechanism provides mid- to late-career researchers and professionals with the opportunity to work with NatCap for a short time. It is intended for researchers who have defined a specific project to work on in collaboration with NatCap, and a position to which they will return following this Fellowship (e.g., an academic sabbatical). The Fellowship is designed to provide a self-directed and mutually beneficial learning environment, we hope to learn as much from you and your research as you do from us. Fellows are initiated only after mutual agreement and identification of a primary liaison from NatCap, who will foster mutual learning with other researchers and the broader NatCap team.

If you are interested in engaging with NatCap as a Fellow, discuss first with one of our Lead Scientists or co-founders, and we can take the discussions from there!