joining the lab

The lab aims to maintain a vibrant, collaborative, motivated, and creative place to work. That means we want people dedicated to this aim who will be good lab citizens, work hard, help lab mates, and give back to the community. UBC is world-renowned for its ecology and evolution research community so there are many opportunities to engage with others about science (discussion groups, seminars, etc.).

The lab is working hard to be a place welcoming to diverse individuals (e.g., BIPOC, LGBTQ+, religions, socio-economic backgrounds), while recognizing that this as an on-going effort with much to change and work on along the way. We especially encourage applicants from underrepresented groups, and we expect all lab members to join our discussions and efforts to increase diversity in the sciences.

The lab is fairly computational and quantitative: everyone in the lab works in R (or similar), git, LaTeX (we don’t use Word generally) and we use mainly Bayesian approaches (through Stan). We do lots of field work in the lab! We have cool sites Manning Park to Smithers, BC on the west coast, from Massachusetts to Quebec on the east coast, and with vineyards across the globe (especially currently in the Okanagan), but you’ll want a passion or interest in coding and stats to enjoy being a graduate student or postdoc in the lab.

What we value in the lab

Open data. The lab aims to produce robust, re-usable data with adequate additional information and storage practices that give the data a long lifespan. It’s great if your work produces new data while in the lab, but we encourage you to think of it as ‘the data’ or ‘data for science’ and not ‘your data.’ If you love ‘your’ data (and good science), set it free!

Robust models and related code. These take a lot of extra time, but they’re worth it to us. If you’re in the lab, you’ll have to simulate data to test your experimental design, model and assumptions.

Open searches. We’re aiming to make all graduate and postdoc positions filled through open searches (undergraduate positions are already filled this way), but still working out how to do this given the academic system (and funding system). If you contact Lizzie to join the lab and she says you might be a great candidate and there is maybe space in the lab, don’t be offended if Lizzie’s next step is to post an ad for that general spot widely.

Diversity of people. Academia and science are not that diverse along lots of axes (e.g., BIPOC, LGBTQ+, religions, socio-economic backgrounds) and we want to change that by changing both who’s in science and (related) changing the environment. So we value folks who speak up or use their actions in other ways to combat racist, sexist and anti-diversity words and actions.

Engaging with the scientific community. Go to a discussion group or seminar, speak up, help as you can.

Sharing skills, knowledge, and other lab resources.

Other things. This list is in development and we maintain an evolving document of our major lab values here.

Still interested?

If you read the above and you’re still interested in joining the lab as a graduate student or postdoc, check out the UW’s tips on grad school first, review funding information through UBC (through Forestry — Financial Support, or UBC’s full list; either way note that most PhD award deadlines are in the fall or even late summer), then you should contact Lizzie with info on why you’re interested in the lab and why you might be a good fit. If there’s maybe space in the lab, you should consider reaching out to current lab members to get a sense of things — most emails are on our people page.

We’re not currently looking for graduate students, but here’s our last ad (including lots of projects we’re working on) if you want to check it out.

If you’re an undergraduate, we generally advertise Work-Learn positions for the summer (ads up in February I think, USRA applications due sooner) and academic terms (ads generally up in early August), or feel free to reach out to Lizzie at other times. Undergrads don’t need to be so computational (but we’re always looking for undergrads interested in computational skills), we’re mainly looking for undergrads interested in plant ID, lab and field work.