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CIRES Colorado River Basin Assessment Specialist


Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Job Summary

Western Water Assessment (WWA) ( is seeking a full-time Professional Research Assistant to serve as the content lead for the development of a synthesis report on the state of climate and hydrological science in the Colorado River Basin, supported by grants from the Bureau of Reclamation and the Colorado River Climate and Hydrology Working Group. The 1-year term position will be located within the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder campus. 

Western Water Assessment, a NOAA Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) program, conducts innovative research in partnership with decision makers in the Rocky Mountain West, helping them make the best use of science to manage for climate impacts.  WWA works extensively with researchers and stakeholders in fields of water management, natural hazards management, and municipal planning, among others.  

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


The qualified candidate will act as acting as ‘coordinating lead author,’ with primary responsibility for the overall content of the synthesis report. This will include writing original content for several of the report topics, revising content drafted by other members of the author team, incorporating input from reviews by project sponsors and other subject-matter experts, and ensuring a consistent voice and overall flow and readability of the report. They will also help the project manager meet deadlines and keep project participants informed and engaged. The core project team includes two other WWA staff (project manager and senior author) and several WWA-affiliated researchers (contributing authors). The candidate will also interact with project sponsors and other researchers throughout the Colorado River Basin.  

  • Engage with project sponsors to understand their goals for the report and desired topics of emphasis.
  • Review the climate and hydrology literature relevant to the Colorado River Basin and summarize the state of the knowledge.
  • Develop and maintain a bibliographic database for the project.
  • Draft content for the synthesis report and incorporate and revise content contributed by other team members.
  • Review and incorporate comments provided by project sponsors and outside experts.
  • Work with project manager to ensure review and writing process meets deadlines and project participants receive drafts when needed.
  • Work with graphic design staff to develop figures and the report layout.

What You Should Know

This is a one-year term appointment.

What We Can Offer

We can offer a competitive salary, commensurate with experience.


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 Impactful. Be Proactive. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • M.A./M.S. or PhD in Hydrology, Civil Engineering, Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Studies, Geosciences, Geography, Social Sciences, or other relevant field.
  • Broad general knowledge of the climate and hydrology of the western United States, and ideally, the Colorado River Basin.
  • Academic or professional experience in at least one of the following areas: analysis of climate or hydrologic data, hydrologic or climate modeling, climate-change impact on river systems.
  • Demonstrated ability to synthesize scientific literature and adjudicate among divergent findings.
  • Experience with the production of complex stakeholder-facing reports or similar documents in a deadline-driven environment.

What You Will Need

  • Self-motivation and ability to work independently and initiate frequent engagement with colleagues. 
  • Demonstrated ability to write clearly and concisely for non-specialist audiences.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Understanding of water resources and management concerns across the US Southwest.
  • Understanding of Colorado River policy and political climate.
  • Experience working at the interface between research and decision making.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume/CV.
  2. Cover letter briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.
  3. Proof of degree in either a transcript confirming highest degree or a copy of diploma.
  4. List of contact information for 3 references who would be willing to write a recommendation letter if you are selected as the finalist.
    • If you are selected as the finalist, we will contact you through email and request that you submit 1 name and email of a reference who will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation (can be one of the 3 noted above). This information will be kept confidential and viewable only the search committee.
Screening will begin immediately, and applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Posting Contact Name: Karen Dempsey

Posting Contact Email:

The University of Colorado is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer