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CIRES/North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center Understanding and Managing Changing Wildfire Risk (NC CASC Post-Doctoral Researcher)

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Date Posted:


Job Summary

The USGS North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center (NC CASC) is hiring a Postdoctoral Scholar in Understanding and Managing Changing Wildfire Risk to lead an effort on generating the fire science needed for resource management decisions in the ecosystems of the North Central region. Key efforts will be to i) conduct a synthesis of fire-related science that has been done across the eight regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers (, that can inform how we handle changing fire regimes across forests, shrub-lands, and grasslands of the western U.S.; ii) advance fire probability and risk modeling under current and future climate scenarios; and iii) identify key fire metrics that are relevant for species and ecosystem response and management, that will be incorporated into an open platform, the NC CASC’s Climate Scenarios Toolbox. The Postdoctoral Researcher will help lead a working group of partners and scientists whose aim is to better refine the fire information needed for key decisions at management-relevant scales.

The mission of the NC CASC ( is to work with natural and cultural resource managers to identify, gather, and apply the information they need to understand and adapt to a changing climate. The NC CASC is a partnership between the US Geological Survey, the University of Colorado Boulder, and five consortium partners. The NC CASC fosters co-production of actionable science, where partner input is incorporated throughout the research process to better ensure that the science developed informs key management decisions. Further, the NC CASC is committed to open science, making data, code, and tools open and reproducible, to better enable a broad community of participants in the scientific process. The North Central center is one of eight regional climate centers in the national CASC network ( built to help meet the changing needs of land and resource managers across the country. The NC CASC serves primarily Department of Interior agencies, state fish and wildfire agencies, and Tribal partners across a 7-state region, including Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, and Nebraska. The Postdoctoral Scholar will be co-located with Earth Lab ( and a cohort of postdocs and research scientists in a collaborative and dynamic environment, with opportunities for training and professional advancement.

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

  • Conduct fire science synthesis across more than 30 fire-related CASC efforts and other relevant science.
  • Advance fire risk modeling under current and future climate scenarios.
  • Identify key fire risk metrics (e.g., fire size, intensity, or severity), or proxies, that are most relevant for species and ecosystems of interest to the NC CASC & assist in incorporating these metrics into the Climate Scenarios Toolbox.
  • Help manage a team of partners and scientists to inform what fire science is most useful for decisions.
  • Contribute to other team research efforts as relevant, e.g., helping to identify how fire can precipitate ecological transformation.
  • Generate open, reproducible workflows from the efforts above.

What You Should Know

  • For questions about the job, please contact Jennifer Balch, University Director of the NC CASC & Department of Geography,
  • For general information on applying, please contact Dawn Umpleby, Executive Assistant (

What We Can Offer

We can offer a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package. 


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 Effective. Be Impactful. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • A PhD from an accredited university.
  • Remote sensing, or other, with background expertise in the theoretical understanding of fire dynamics.
  • Experience, or strong interest, in engaging with partner communities.
  • A strong quantitative background is necessary, with experience in integrating and analyzing large, and/or heterogeneous datasets.

What You Will Need

  • Publication and grant-writing skills.
  • Team spirit and interest in interdisciplinary settings.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Experience in, or ability to learn, appropriate programming and data analytic tools. Ideally, the candidate will have experience in programming languages (e.g., R, Python, or others), can work in different environments (e.g., Linux), and is proficient in geospatial analysis software (e.g., QGIS).
  • Contributions or a willingness to contribute to open science (i.e., publicly available and/or reproducible data, code, workflows, and/or tools). 
  • Experience in working with high-performance computing or cloud computing environment is a plus (there is existing support for both HPC & cloud computing on AWS, including training).

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 for you. 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.

Review of applications will start on July 13, 2020. 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: Dr. Jennifer Balch

Posting Contact Email: