Call for Geodesign/Geospatial Research Faculty: An Amazing Career Opportunity at NAU

Given our department’s initial efforts with geodesign education and research, we are spreading the word about an amazing opportunity for an accomplished researcher who may wish to relocate to Flagstaff, Arizona. Northern Arizona University is asking for nominations for a “$500K Candidate” who might fit well with “existing faculty research programs and/or centers”. We are pleased that our provost and dean have highlighted the areas of geodesign and/or geospatial sciences/GIS as a highly promising area from which to recruit. Please see the full Call for Nominations pasted here below (I am formatting as best as possible). If you or someone you know might be interested in exploring this opportunity further, please contact me (, 928-523-5853) for the actual Word document and for further information about NAU and our department/college.

Developing Research Capacity at Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University has been directed by the Arizona Board of Regents to increase research expenditures by 2020 to $43.6 million.  This expectation is intensified by the need for NAU to maintain its “High Research” Carnegie designation, which allows us to work with our sister universities in Arizona on relatively equal footing and which provides strong arguments for keeping research at the forefront of our strategic goals.

Last year, NAU successfully pursued candidates with a strong record of high research productivity. After reviewing our process from last year, President Cheng has approved a second recruiting process to bring additional senior researchers to NAU. Through this process, NAU is seeking research faculty who (a) consistently generate at least $500,000 annually in research expenditures, (b) can transfer their external funding to NAU if hired, and (c) can demonstrate the potential to continue external funding sufficient to generate at least $500,000 in annual research expenditures. The hiring package for successful candidates will include:

  1. Start-up funds ranging from $600,000 to $800,000, depending on the candidate and his/her prior record.
  2. Competitive salary based on prior salary and research record.
  3. Research lab space as needed from among existing space. The home unit is expected to contribute space.
  4. Funds to move labs and people (primarily post-docs, mostly self-supporting research faculty, and equipment).
  5. Expectation that a successful hire will come with tenure.

If a “$500K researcher” requires a major package (perhaps $800K to $1 million), we expect that this candidate will return a higher than minimum ongoing level of research funding. The successful candidate will also be ready to build NAU’s research capacity, increase current NAU faculty productivity, expand academic and research programmatic capabilities, bring a strong research network, allow for new large grant opportunities, and promote major interdisciplinary funding possibilities.

Areas of recruitment:

All departments, programs, and centers are eligible to nominate a “$500K” candidate. Preference will go to candidates who will fit in well with existing faculty research programs and/or centers and who address NAU strategic research priorities. Included in these priorities are departments/programs/ associated with PhD programs or which are planning to build future PhD programs.


  1. Faculty will identify, contact and nominate interested candidates.
  2. Initial review will be done by a small planning group consisting of senior administrative and academic personnel. Planning group will forward reviews of promising candidates to the President for permission to recruit.
  3. If President approves, the nominating Faculty and VPR will contact candidate and initiate discussion of interest and possible recruiting package needs. We will then offer to bring candidate to NAU for first-round recruiting. (We see candidate; candidate sees us.)
  4. If candidate is a good match with NAU, negotiate a package. Engage up to 3 or 4 candidates to the negotiations stage.

All contacts at the early stages will go through the Office of the Vice President for Research. Nominations/questions should be addressed to

These hires are based on a special initiative approved by the President. Northern Arizona University strongly encourages the recruiting of women and minorities who meet the minimums set forth above. We also expect that initial interest inquiries and follow up recruiting conversations will conform with AA/EO expectations about appropriate types of questions to ask and personal topics that might be discussed.


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