Research Planning, Inc. (RPI) is a scientific consulting firm that has been in business since 1977. We have an excellent history of working on complex, multi-disciplinary projects, mostly for state and federal government agencies. We also do a lot of international work for private clients, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). We have excellent skills in using GIS to manage spatial data.

RPI is acknowledged as a specialized group of scientists who excel at multi-disciplinary studies dealing with coastal and marine resources. We also conduct field studies for restoration, climate change resiliency, long-term monitoring studies, environmental assessments, and oil spill response.

Please visit our website at to find out more about RPI, our staff, our recent projects, and clients. RPI is an equal opportunity employer and maintains a drug-free workplace.

Job openings are listed below.

Position Title: Coastal Ecologist

Research Planning, Inc. (RPI) has an opening in our Columbia, SC office for a coastal ecologist. The candidate should have a Master of Science degree in biology, ecology, environmental management, or a related field. Two years of post-graduate school experience is highly preferred. This position will involve coastal resource mapping, oil and chemical spill response, and natural resource projects (literature syntheses, natural resource damage assessments, etc.).

Many potential projects, particularly coastal resource mapping, require the candidate to have strong skills in compilation and organization of large numbers of digital data sets, meeting facilitation, an understanding of coastal ecology (e.g., recognition of common marine and estuarine birds, fish, inverts, reptiles, mammals, benthic marine and intertidal habitats), and the ability to feel comfortable corresponding with a wide range of state, federal, and academic partners at various levels. Knowledge in the following areas would be beneficial, but not required: salt marsh ecology, life histories of coastal and marine fauna, and habitat functions and services. Qualified candidates will be asked to provide academic and/or professional references.

Excellent scientific writing and communication skills are essential. Candidates must provide examples of experience in meeting facilitation, lecturing, or instructing scientific material, and/or presenting research or applied scientific topics in a professional setting. Candidates will be asked to present an academic or professional topic of their choosing to the RPI staff during the interview process and will be asked to provide a writing sample from their M.S. thesis, a publication they are lead author on, or equivalent. Experience in using Geographic Information Systems is required and must be demonstrated. Candidates should be able to work independently and as part of a team.

Candidates must be willing to travel nationally and potentially internationally. Typical travel is domestic, up to two weeks (potentially, though rarely, longer), occurs several times per year, and may be at short notice, due to the nature of the position as a member of the Scientific Support Team for oil, chemical, and hurricane response. Destinations vary widely and include some exciting, rare opportunities.

Strong field experience is required. Oil and chemical spill and hurricane response involves travel, long hours, a desire to work in the field under a variety of conditions (including riding in trucks, boats, helicopters, airplanes, etc.) and the ability to use basic field and office equipment (e.g., GPS, camera, laptop computers, basic software, etc.). Opportunities for fieldwork and travel are competitive and require demonstrated competence.

The candidate should have an interest in learning new skills, on-the-job, in a fast-paced, emergency response environment. The candidate should have a strong desire to market existing and new clients, write proposals, present at scientific meetings, and publish papers. RPI staff work on very multidisciplinary projects, and there are many opportunities to learn new skills, publish, and grow professionally. We have excellent employee benefits and value our employees as key members of the RPI family. We hope that you are excited about joining our team.

Please send your resume, representative publications, and a writing sample to:

Jacqueline Michel, Ph.D:
Christine Boring, M.S.: