Desert Research Institute (DRI), NSHE

Executive Director for the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences

Desert Research Institute (DRI), NSHE

Reno, NV, United States; Las Vegas, NV, United States

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is seeking a qualified innovative individual to provide scientific leadership and management for its multidisciplinary Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences (DEES). The primary function of the DEES Executive Director is to support, facilitate, and expand Division faculty research activities through leadership that augments and enhances the Division’s faculty generated revenues and multidisciplinary research. DRI has two campuses, one in Reno and one in Las Vegas, NV, with DEES faculty located on both campuses. The position can be based at either campus and will require routine travel to the other campus.

The successful candidate will: 1) work with faculty to anticipate areas of scientific growth and opportunity to leverage and market DEES capabilities to increase research funding; 2) facilitate the building of teams and partnerships within DRI and with other NSHE Institutions and external collaborators, with the goal of acquiring funding to grow existing research and expand into new research areas, 3) recruit new faculty and staff, help ensure retention of existing faculty and staff, and provide career support for faculty and staff, and 4) provide leadership and oversight of DEES resources. 

The Executive Director for DEES is expected to have experience in research program development and implementation, leadership, and management. Below are some of the responsibilities of the DEES Executive Director (see the full position description for the complete list of research program development and implementation, leadership, and management responsibilities and criteria):


  • Provide guidance and support to individual faculty to assist in program planning and development. Create opportunities for faculty to grow the DEES sponsored research portfolio.
  • Explore new areas of research that play to the strengths of the Division and Institute, as well as expanding current strengths. 
  • Network with potential sponsors, agencies, and clients, as well as build teams and collaborations within and outside of DRI.
  • Lead efforts in workforce planning, recruitment, and retention of diverse faculty and staff. 
  • Be an excellent internal and external advocate for the capabilities and accomplishments of DEES faculty. 
  • Be an effective communicator with a broad range of audiences.
  • Participate in the overall planning for DEES infrastructure sustainability in collaboration with laboratory and facility directors, and division business staff.

Required Qualifications

  • A Ph.D. or Master’s degree from an accredited institution with proven research accomplishments within one of the DEES research topic areas or a related field.
  • Demonstrated experience with externally sponsored research and a proven track record of successful extramural fundraising, research project execution, and delivery of expected results and products.
  • Demonstrated leadership and/or management experience.
  • U.S. citizenship and the ability to obtain and maintain a U.S. government security clearance.

The successful candidate will be offered the position contingent upon passing a mandatory test for the absence of any illegal drugs as defined in 10 CFR 707.4 as well as satisfactory credit, criminal and background checks.

DEES is one of three scientific research divisions within DRI. Since its inception in 1960, DEES faculty have built a solid reputation for delivering high-quality research, development, and education services in highly diversified research portfolio that includes archaeological, biological, and earth sciences. As a nonprofit, DRI’s DEES faculty have earned a reputation for providing high-impact scientific products to our customers and stakeholders, and the public. DHS faculty are engaged in environmental issues throughout the world. 

Qualified individuals interested in this position must apply online. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is closed. Applications will be treated confidentially until the final stages of the search process. References will be contacted at a later date with the permission of the applicant.

For more detailed information about DRI, DRI faculty, and research projects and publications, please visit us at For questions regarding this position, please call the recruiting office at 775-673-7332.

DRI is an AA/EEO employer who gives consideration in employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Individuals with disabilities or protected veteran status are encouraged to apply.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.