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CIRES/ NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, Research Scientist in Ionospheric Data Assimilation

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado





Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences invites applications for a Research Scientist position at the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The successful applicant will work to advance SWPC’s ability to predict the dynamics and response of the ionosphere and atmosphere to space weather as it pertains to impacts on communication, navigation, and satellite drag applications.

The primary responsibilities will include the development, validation and operationalization of data assimilative models of the ionosphere and atmosphere for the advancement of SWPC’s space weather products and services. This applied research position will require an understanding of the needs and requirements for actionable space weather information, and to educate the operational user community about how they are affected by space weather. The successful applicant will work closely with the space weather testbed to transition proven capabilities into real-time operations. 

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.

As part of NOAA’s National Weather Service, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) operates 24/7 as the nation’s official source of space weather alerts and warnings - safeguarding society with actionable space weather information. SWPC forecasts and products support a wide range of customers, including power grid operators, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), aviation, satellite operators, emergency managers, the general public, industry and government agencies.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

  • Developing and transitioning data assimilative capabilities for SWPC’s operational ionospheric and atmospheric models to predict the impact of space weather on communications, navigation, and satellite drag.
  • Assessing and validating models and applications to establish SWPC priorities.
  • Implementing high-priority capabilities in the space weather testbed, with appropriate documentation and software framework, to facilitate a successful transition to real-time space weather forecast operations.
  • Presenting results and ongoing efforts through peer-reviewed publications and presentations at professional meetings and conferences.

What You Should Know

  • Access to the NOAA Federal Center and computer facilities is necessary to perform the work of this position. Access is not available for individuals working in the United States through a visa or a work permit and therefore we are unable to consider applications from individuals on a visa or working permit, or requiring visa sponsorship for this position now or in the future.
  • Applicants must be currently authorized to legally work in the United States on a full-time basis.
  • 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.

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 $70,000- $122,000.
  • Relocation funds are available for this position following CIRES and the University of Colorado’s relocation processes and procedures.
  • 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

  • A PhD degree is required (Physics fields preferred; other related fields may be considered).

What You Will Need

  • Knowledge of the ionosphere and/or upper atmosphere, space weather and/or similar fields.
  • Strong skills in analysis and validation of physical models, especially the comparison of physical model simulations with observational data.
  • Data analysis and programming skills in Python, IDL, Fortran or similar languages and the ability to implement mathematical models and algorithms as computer code/software.
  • Ability to work well in a team and in a mission-focused, operational environment.
  • Ability to think critically and make independent decisions.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Ability to contribute to a diverse and inclusive workforce at the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA/SWPC.

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.

  • Familiarity with data assimilative techniques.
  • Familiarity with the impacts of the ionosphere and atmosphere on radio wave communications, satellite navigation, or satellite drag.
  • Knowledge and/or experience in modern software management paradigms and tools (e.g. git, Docker etc.).
  • Experience developing high-quality and insightful visualizations of scientific datasets.

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. Be prepared to submit a list of 5 professional references. If you are selected as a finalist, we will contact you through email for this list (2 of whom must be/must have been supervisors) to complete a SkillSurvey on your behalf. SkillSurvey is an online automated reference check solution. This information will be kept confidential and viewable only by the search committee.

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: Hazel Bain

Posting Contact Email: