Skip to content

CIRES/NOAA-NCEI Solar Wind / Heliophysics Physicist

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado





Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Posting Close Date:


Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) has an immediate opening for a Research Scientist supporting NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Solar-Terrestrial Physics (STP) section on different NOAA/NASA spacecraft missions. This hire will work within the space magnetic fields (MAG) group providing solar wind / heliophysics subject matter expertise, support spacecraft MAG instrument science efforts, work on MAG data product research-to-operations efforts and data product stewardship. They are also expected to undertake scientific research, publish results in scientific journals and contribute to grant applications. The successful candidate will be an essential member of a team of scientists, analysts, data managers and software developers dedicated to diverse projects to validate, process, disseminate and do research with NOAA’s space weather data. We work on multiple satellite programs including the GOES-R mission series consisting of four spacecraft, and the SWFO-L1 mission that will orbit 1.5 million kilometers towards the Sun providing solar and solar wind measurements.

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

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 950 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 NCEI-STP space weather team is responsible for oversight of the NOAA space weather sensors on several satellite constellations, including GOES, DSCOVR, and SWFO. These missions provide data critical for NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) efforts to protect life and property, as well as to the broader scientific community. The space weather team’s responsibilities include calibration and validation of space weather measurements and data products, development of scientific processing algorithms used in real time to produce data for forecasters, development of retrospective algorithms to create scientifically authoritative (‘best’) products, and prototyping real-time processing systems.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Work on research-to-operations for MAG solar wind space weather higher level data products.
  • Provide level 2 MAG solar wind product data stewardship.
  • Work with NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) on data products anomalies and validation.
  • Provide solar wind physics scientific subject matter expertise to the team.
  • Write or revise data product scientific codes as needed and work with the software team to reprocess data products.
  • Participate in future missions planning.
  • Undertake scientific research about the solar wind and heliosphere and publish results in scientific journals and present results at scientific conferences.
  • Write grant applications.
  • Participate in our group meetings and other meetings as required.

What You Should Know

  • This appointment will be at the career track level of RS1, RS2 or RS3.
  • This position will be rostered in CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder, but will be physically situated in the David Skaggs Research Center, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80305.
  • If you are the selected finalist you will be required to pass a federal laboratory background clearance for site access.
  • Normal working hours will be observed except for occasional irregular hours during data collection or conferences/workshops conducted at remote sites.
  • 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 asylee, refugee, or a temporary resident under amnesty provisions) are eligible for hire.

What We Can Offer

  • CIRES offers a generous and comprehensive compensation package.
  • The annual hiring salary range for this position is $72,000 - $115,000. Salary is commensurate with education and experience and determined based on our CIRES internal career track classification.
  • Relocation funds are available for this position following CIRES and the University of Colorado’s relocation processes and procedures.
  • This position can accommodate a hybrid work modality.
  • 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.
  • CIRES and the University of Colorado Boulder offer a robust training curriculum, opportunities for professional development and a Mentorship Program.


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 engaged. Be unique. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • A Ph.D. in physics or similar scientific or engineering field with an emphasis on solar wind or heliophysics.
  • 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 asylee, refugee, or a temporary resident under amnesty provisions) may apply to this position.
  • Significant experience analyzing science data using Python and its scientific packages (e.g., NumPy, SciPy, and Matplotlib).

What You Will Need

  • Scientific subject matter expertise as shown through PhD studies and publications in an area within solar wind or heliophysics.
  • Ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a diverse and inclusive workforce.
  • Ability to creatively problem solve, productively manage multiple tasks, and thrive in a highly interactive team environment.
  • Willingness and ability to seek answers from others, and to help others with their questions.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills.

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 working with space-based magnetic field and/or particle data.
  • Expertise in analyzing science datasets.
  • Expertise in scientific code development in Python.
  • Expertise in developing scientific algorithms.
  • Experience using heliophysics data analysis tools (e.g., pyspedas, spacepy and NASA cdaweb API).
  • Experience working with large datasets.
  • Familiarity with space weather solar wind 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 act as references or write a confidential letter of recommendation on your behalf. You don’t need to include letters of recommendation with your initial application. If you are identified as a finalist for this role, the search committee will request letters of recommendation at a later time.

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.

Position will close on May 31, 2024.

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: Paul Lotoaniu

Posting Contact Email: