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CIRES/ NOAA NCEI Solar Physics Research Scientist

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder has an immediate opening for a Research Associate in solar physics working with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The position focuses on the development of the Compact Coronagraph (CCOR) for the Space Weather Follow-On (SWFO) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-U) missions. The Research Associate will contribute to the development of the CCOR data pipeline and data products in the SWFO Science Center, to be hosted at NCEI, serving space weather data to the scientific community. The selected candidate will also help develop data products to support NOAA’s space weather forecasting operations.

This position will help oversee NCEI’s contributions to in-flight calibration and validation of CCOR and the development of data tools and data products. They may also assist with other NOAA and NOAA-hosted solar imagery and irradiance projects, such as the Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI), Extreme-ultraviolet, and X-ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS), the ground-based Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG) magnetograph, and the Air Force Research Lab solar radio data. CIRES Research Associates may pursue external funding for complementary scientific or operational activities, although external funding is not necessary.

Applicants for this position must possess excellent scientific skills and a capacity for team leadership. Applicants should also possess strong attention to detail, excellent communication skills, and the ability to translate scientific requirements and findings into traceable/concrete tasks. This position is located in the Solar Terrestrial Physics Section within NCEI at the David Skaggs Research Center, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO. The group is currently working remotely during the pandemic; the position is expected to be in person with potential for part time telework after in-person work resumes.

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

At CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, more than 800 environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at the Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, and solid Earth sciences. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system:

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Complete stewardship, calibration, and product development activities for the Compact Coronagraph program.
  • Participate in strategic planning and development for NCEI’s role in the Space Weather Follow-On (SWFO) program.
  • Contribute to efforts to integrate NOAA solar imagery data and tools into community data services like SunPy, Helioviewer, and the Virtual Solar Observatory.
  • Assist in the stewardship of a variety of NOAA solar imagery datasets and related products.
  • Identify research opportunities to bring to bear and encourage the use of NCEI’s solar data (SUVI, CCOR, GONG, EXIS, etc.).
  • Conduct research with solar image data, present results in peer-reviewed publications and at scientific meetings.

What You Should Know

  • Due to the requirement to access export-controlled data and information, only U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (green cards), or other protected individuals (i.e., persons designated as an asylum, refugee, or a temporary resident under amnesty provisions) may apply.
  • If hired, you will need to pass a Federal background check to obtain NOAA credentials.
  • All University of Colorado Boulder employees are required to comply with the campus COVID-19 vaccine requirement. New employees must provide proof of vaccination or receive a medical or religious exemption within 30 days of employment.

What We Can Offer

  • CIRES can offer a generous compensation package. Salary is commensurate with education and experience and determined based on our CIRES internal career track classification.
  • The annual hiring salary range for this position is $65,000 - $95,000.
  • Relocation funds are available for this position following CIRES and the University of Colorado’s relocation processes and procedures.


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 collaborative. Be resourceful. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • Ph.D. in solar physics or similar scientific or engineering field with an emphasis on solar imagery and instrumentation.
  • Due to the requirement to access export-controlled data and information, only U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (green cards), or other protected individuals (i.e., persons designated as an asylum, refugee, or a temporary resident under amnesty provisions) may apply. 

What You Will Need

  • Experience in conducting research on phenomena in the solar atmosphere and/or the heliosphere.
  • Experience developing, implementing, and testing scientific or mathematical algorithms using solar data analysis languages (e.g., SunPy, Solarsoft IDL).
  • Familiarity with scientific image calibration.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team on complex tasks.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Experience with coronagraph or heliospheric imagery.
  • Familiarity with the space-borne instrument development cycle, and experience developing instrumentation for space research.
  • Experience developing or maintaining scientific data calibration or analysis pipelines, especially in Python.
  • Experience with solar community-based tools and data services including Helioviewer, the Virtual Solar Observatory, SunPy, and SolarSoft IDL.
  • Familiarity with solar data product design and usability best practices.
  • Experience working with and disseminating large datasets.
  • Familiarity with data processing and storage for cloud-based applications.
  • Familiarity with space weather drivers, effects, and forecasting strategies.
  • Experience working on science spacecraft mission development and pre/post launch tests.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. Resume or CV
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.
  3. List of contact information for 3 references who will be willing to write a confidential Letter of Recommendation on your behalf. You don’t need to include letters of recommendation with your initial application. The search committee will request letters of recommendation at a later time if you are identified as a finalist for this role.

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 as an optional attachment.

Applications received by December 3rd, will receive full consideration. Position will remain posted until filled.

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: Don Schmit

Posting Contact Email: