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Assistant Research Scientist, Community-Based

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ, USA
Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Arizona State University: Office of the Executive Vice President Knowledge Enterprise: Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation: Arizona Water Innovation Initiative


Tempe, AZ

Open Date

May 30, 2024


Do you get excited by action-focused participatory qualitative research, such as identifying community priorities, coordinating with stakeholders, and doing interviews and ethnography? This position includes independently facilitating a wide range of community-based research and research dissemination activities on behalf of the justice-oriented “Arizona Water for All” program of the Arizona Water Innovation Initiative (AWII), with a focus on qualitative approaches.

The Arizona Water Innovation Initiative (AWII) is a statewide project led by the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory that aims to design implementable options to sustain global habitability and improve well-being for all humankind. The initiative has five strategic programs: the Global Center for Water Technology, the Arizona Water Observatory and Decision Support System, Impact Water – Arizona, Arizona Water for All, and the Kyl Center for Water Policy.

We are seeking a dynamic and broadly trained social scientist to lead data collection on varied research activities related to ASU’s Arizona Water for All program. This social science and justice-oriented program is working to design and advance solutions to ensure a future in which all Arizona households will have access to safe and sufficient water. The Assistant Research Scientist is a full-time, fiscal year, non-tenure track, benefits eligible position with an anticipated start date of August 1, 2024.

Under general administrative direction from Arizona Water for All (AW4A) lead Dr. Amber Wutich, the successful candidate is expected to work independently and perform work of considerable difficulty in:

  • Coordinating and directing qualitative community research activities and functions of the Arizona Water for All program within the AWII, both across varied Arizona communities and in relation to the program teams themselves.
  • Independently ensuring that research goals of the Arizona Water for All are accomplished in accordance with priorities, time limitations, funding limitations, ethical standards, or other specifications, and that research outputs are developed and presented in ways that support broader AWII goals.

Essential Duties:

  • Manages community-based social science research activities, such as coordinating with participating communities and stakeholders, recruiting, and supporting and collaborating with site leads
  • Conducts, to a high level of expertise, ethnographic/qualitative research data collection and analysis activities, such as community-based participation-observation, interviews, focus groups, and coding.
  • Manages and conducts qualitative research regarding the broader AWII activities, such as through monitoring and evaluating community and team meetings
  • Develops research outputs, such reports and visualizations, for broad audiences
  • Co-ordinates across research teams to improve community-based research efficiency, ethics, and impact.
  • Supervises training of and provides support for field researchers, such as student workers or citizen scientists.
  • Participates in AWII program management meetings and prepares content for meeting objectives and presentations.
  • Works with teams to develop proposals and other strategies to fund projects and programs (e.g., defining scope, outlining deliverables and milestones, writing/editing support).
  • Other duties as assigned.

Working Environment:

  • Some activities are performed in an environmentally controlled office setting subject to extended periods of sitting, keyboarding, and manipulating a computer mouse; required to stand for varying lengths of time and walk moderate distances to perform work.
  • Other activities require driving and meeting with people across Arizona and may require working in a variety of uncontrolled indoor or outdoor conditions.
  • Occasional bending, reaching, lifting, pushing, and pulling up to 25 pounds.
  • Regular activities require ability to quickly change priorities, which may include and/or are subject to resolution of conflicts.
  • Ability to clearly and regularly communicate to perform essential functions.
  • Will require a flexible working schedule in order to accommodate projects and initiatives.



  • PhD in Anthropology, Sociology, Environmental Social Science, or a related discipline
  • Minimum of 3 years research experience related to qualitative or community-based research


  • Expertise in qualitative data management.
  • Proven record of successful grant-seeking.
  • Substantial peer-reviewed publication record.
  • Spanish language capacities.
  • Proven record of student research mentoring
  • Prior experience in community-based research or activities with vulnerable communities.

Application Instructions

Only electronic submissions will be reviewed. Incomplete applications will not be considered. To apply for this position, submit the following required application materials:

  • A detailed cover letter that includes a description of applicant’s research interests and relevant experience and vision related to the position.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • Contact information for three professional references (include name, title, affiliation, email address, phone number).

Review of applications will begin July 1, 2024 and, if not filled, a review will occur every Friday thereafter until the search is closed. Inquiries should be directed to Sylvia Almanza <Sylvia.Almanza@asu.edu>.