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CIRES/ NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Unmanned Aerial System Remote Fire Sensing

University of Colorado Boulder
Colorado, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Jul 23, 2023

Job Summary

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) is seeking an Associate Scientist, a Post-Doctoral Associate, or a Research Scientist to join the Chemical Sciences Laboratory (CSL), located in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boulder, Colorado. This position entails working in close cooperation with the research staff of CIRES and NOAA CSL to advance and extend NOAA’s “NightFOX” ( ) effort to measure and map fire radiative power (FRP) of wildfires using small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). NightFOX measurements are important for strengthening the connection between satellite-measured FRP and fire emissions and behavior. The selected candidate will improve existing custom instrumentation for the measurements, coordinate deployments to fire locations, travel to support observations, analyze data, and publish scientific findings.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) is an internationally recognized leader in innovative environmental science and research and is located at the University of Colorado Boulder. At CIRES, more than 800 environmental science professionals work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES has partnered with NOAA since 1967, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, solid Earth sciences, and more. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system.

The mission of the NOAA Chemical Sciences Laboratory (CSL) is to advance scientific understanding of the chemical and physical processes that affect Earth’s atmospheric composition. CSL’s vision is a nation that has the needed scientific understanding and information about atmospheric composition to make optimal decisions for the well-being of current and future generations.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

For All Applicants:
  • Optimize, calibrate and operate the NightFOX remote sensing payload (see ); Improve data reduction software.
  • Participate in remote field deployments to carry out NightFOX observations, most likely only in the US.
  • Develop collaborations with other agencies involved in fire science measurements to identify observation opportunities.
  • Quality assure and publish finalized data for further scientific analysis and manuscript preparation.
Additional responsibilities for Research Scientists:
  • Identify important research questions and prepare and interpret scientific data to address them.
  • Take the lead on the design of novel research instrumentation.
  • Potentially act as a supervisor for more junior scientists.
  • Outreach, education, and service activities are also important components of a Research Scientist’s effort.
What You Should Know
  • The position is available for a period of 3 years.
  • This position will be administered by CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder, but will be physically situated in the David Skaggs Research Center, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305, a federal campus.
  • If you are selected for this position you may be required to pass a federal laboratory background clearance for site access. Non-US citizens without green cards may have limited building access, and require an escort in the building.
  • Contact Dr. Ru-Shan Gao ( of CIRES for further information concerning this position.
  • This appointment will be at the Professional Research Assistant (Associate Scientist), Post-Doctoral Associate, or Research Associate (Research Scientist) level based on the candidate’s degree, interests, experience and skills. Post-Doctoral and Research Scientist appointments require a PhD degree.
What We Can Offer
  • CIRES offers a generous compensation package.
  • The annual hiring salary range for this position is $53,000- $90,000 for Associate Scientists, $64,000 - $68,000 for Post-Doctoral Associates, and $68,000 - $90,000 for Research Scientists. Salary is commensurate with education and years of experience and determined based on our CIRES internal career track classification.
  • Relocation funds are available for this role following CIRES and the University of Colorado Boulder’s rules and regulations for relocation reimbursement.
  • CIRES and the University of Colorado Boulder offer a robust training curriculum, opportunities for professional development and a Mentorship Program.
  • Boulder is a vibrant community with access to mountain parks, dog parks, miles of trails, rivers, lakes, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, theaters, museums, and sports venues. Boulder was recently ranked as one of the top places to live in the U.S. by U.S. News.
  • As an employee at CU Boulder, you receive a pass allowing free access to the regional public transit system , which is an outstanding network of buses and light rail systems that provide service within Boulder and connect to Denver, the Denver airport, and surrounding communities.

The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits , including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder .

Be Statements

Be ambitious. Be groundbreaking. Be Boulder.

What We Require

For All Applicants:
  • Professional Research Assistant (Associate Scientist) appointments require a BS, MS, or PhD in physics, engineering, atmospheric science, or a related field.
    • Please note that candidates with a Bachelor’s level education require at least one year of directly relevant experience.
  • Post-Doctoral and Research Scientist appointments require a PhD in physics, engineering, atmospheric science, or related field.
  • A valid driver’s license.
  • Ability to perform required duties associated with field deployments of up to several weeks per year in support of NightFox activities.
Additional requirements for Research Scientists:
  • At least 1 year of post-doctoral research.
  • Proven capability for self-guided, motivated, and original research/instrument development.
What You Will Need

Candidates will be assessed on:
  • Experience with the operation of research grade instrumentation in a laboratory or field setting.
  • Capability to guide interactions with external agencies to enable research opportunities.
  • Programming/analysis skills for interpreting/processing raw data.
  • Ability to work well with other researchers and support staff in a diverse and collaborative research environment.
What We Would Like You to Have

We invite applicants to apply even if they do not have the preferred skills and experience outlined in this section. If you meet the minimum qualifications and have passion for the work, you are encouraged to apply. We encourage on-the-job training for any additional skills or knowledge that become relevant to the position.
  • Experience with instrument design and fabrication.
  • Experience with optics and optical sensors.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Enthusiasm for working in a collaborative research environment.
Special Instructions

Please include the following materials with your application:

  1. CV or resume.
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Hiring Committee describing your qualifications and specific interest in this position.
  3. If you are selected as a finalist, we will ask you to contact 5 professional references (including 2 supervisors/professors) and ask them to complete a SkillSurvey questionnaire on your behalf. SkillSurvey is an online automated reference check solution. This information will be kept confidential and viewable only by the search committee members.

Also, if you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version (if applicable) as an optional attachment.

This position will remain posted until finalists have been identified.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Ru-Shan Gao

Posting Contact Email:

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