Staff Scientists

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Panama (PA)
Annual salary is commensurate with experience.
September 14 2017
Organization Type

Staff Scientist Positions in
Animal Behavior
Terrestrial Microbial Ecology
Forest Biology
Marine Science
Tropical Science – open field

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI; announces openings for permanent staff scientists to pursue independent, internationally recognized research programs in the tropics. Previous tropical experience is not required. We seek outstanding colleagues who will complement and enhance our existing strengths, and further develop our intellectual community.

Positions are full-time research. Internal research funds are provided for laboratory setup, core ongoing research and travel expenses. Staff scientists may compete for additional intramural and external research funds. Opportunities are available to mentor post-doctoral fellows, students, and interns drawn from an international community, to teach in graduate training programs with affiliated universities and to participate in outreach to local and international audiences.

STRI is headquartered in the Republic of Panama, with modern research facilities and terrestrial and marine field stations throughout the country. Panama and adjacent regions of tropical America are rich in terrestrial and marine habitats, archaeological sites and geological deposits. STRI hosts a vibrant and collaborative scientific community of 30 staff scientists and over 1500 scientific visitors per year, including fellows and interns supported through an intramural program. Staff scientists work throughout the tropics, and maintain diverse research programs in the ecology, evolution, physiology, development, and behavior of marine and terrestrial organisms and ecosystems, both ancient and modern, and the role of human interactions in shaping tropical environments. We are especially interested in hiring scientists in the following broad disciplines, though we will consider exceptional candidates in any of our research areas:

  • Animal Behavior, including behavioral ecology, sensory and neuroethology, the genetic basis of behavior, behavior development physiology and functional morphology, and chemical ecology of behavior. Candidates working on any animal taxa, marine or terrestrial, will be considered.
  • Microbial Ecology, including plant-soil-microbial interactions, the role of microbes in biogeochemical cycling, pathogen dynamics, and responses of microbial communities to global change. STRI seeks a scientist to understand the functional roles played by microbes in tropical forests, part of a new initiative funded by generous support from the Simons Foundation.
  • Forest Biology, including ecosystem ecology as well as the ecology, evolution, and organismal biology of forest plants and animals.
  • Marine Science, including ecology, evolution, physiology, and behavior of marine organisms; paleo- and archaeo-biology; ocean biogeochemistry; and microbial ecology.

Early- to mid-career candidates are especially encouraged; applicants at all postdoctoral stages will be considered. Annual salary is commensurate with experience. Compensation packages are internationally competitive, and have additional allowances to support educational expenses for dependent children at private schools, including those following international curricula. Positions are based in Panama and relocation expenses are provided. For more information on the positions including answers to frequently asked questions, please see

To Apply: Applicants must have a Ph.D. and post-doctoral research experience in a relevant field. Interested candidates should submit the following as PDF files: a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statement of research accomplishments and interests, three to five significant publications, and the names and contact information of three references to

Please address inquiries in the four focal fields to respective search committee chairs: animal behavior, Dr. Rachel Page, at; microbial ecology, Dr. Kristin Saltonstall at; forest biology, Dr. Helene Muller-Landau at; and marine science, Dr. Mark Torchin at For other research fields please address inquiries to Dr. William Wcislo at Positions are open until filled; review of applications will begin on 15 November 2017.


Appointments are made without regard to nationality. STRI is an Equal Opportunity Employer, is committed to diversity in its workforce, and encourages applications from dual career couples.