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Applied Earth Scientist/Portfolio Manager in Huntsville, AL at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 4/7/2018

Job Snapshot

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Job Description

The USRA Science and Technology Institute (STI) is seeking a full-time scientist with experience in Applied Earth Sciences to support the NASA SERVIR project and other Applied Sciences projects.  SERVIR is a NASA-USAID joint project that partners with leading regional organizations in developing countries to apply NASA remote sensing, modeling and geospatial technologies for managing risks associated with natural disasters, agriculture, water, ecosystems and land use. The position will serve SERVIR as the Portfolio Manager for a number of projects within the SERVIR Applied Sciences Team (AST).  This task will involve basic project management responsibilities and requires a broad knowledge of NASA Applied Sciences, both programmatically and technically, and International Development practices. 

The successful candidate may also perform scientific analyses in support of SERVIR activities, both at the Science Coordination Office in Huntsville and at the five regional SERVIR hubs located in Asia, Africa and South America.  This work will involve remote sensing and geospatial data analysis as well as geophysical modeling to support development and implementation of data products and models vital to addressing issues in hydrology, agriculture, land use, and natural disasters.  The successful candidate will exhibit skill and experience in satellite remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems, scientific programming and quantitative data analysis. 

Or, the successful candidate may also work with USRA, NASA and other scientists on a range of applied research projects, many of which are focused on the relationships between the physical environment (climate) and public health.  For example, current and recent activities on which USRA/STI scientists are participating include studies of the effects of extreme heat and air quality on adverse health outcomes, and the impacts of climate variations on the prevalence of vector-borne diseases.  Other projects relate to use of remote sensing data as inputs to water quality and soil moisture models. These projects rely heavily on analysis of national to global data sets, much of which is from satellite remote sensors or global climate models.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Managing a portfolio of Applied Sciences projects within NASA’s SERVIR project. This involves maintaining currency on progress, deliverables and issues for each project, evaluating technical deliverables, and communicating frequently with the PIs and SERVIR personnel.
  • Environmental and health data analysis, particularly in the use of satellite remote sensing data and climate and weather data for these purposes.
  • Scientific programming, statistical programming (such as R), spatial analysis methods (i.e. Geographic Information Systems) and satellite remote sensing.
  • Other job-related duties as assigned.


Ph.D. in Earth Science, Atmospheric Science, Meteorology, Environmental Science, Environmental Public Health or a closely related discipline is required.    


At least 5 years of relevant work experience after receipt of Ph.D. is required; 10 years is preferred.  Experience directly interacting with NASA Applied Sciences Program personnel is essential.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:  

  • Proficiency in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and general geospatial concepts
  • Intermediate to advanced scientific computer programming
  • Knowledge of atmospheric and/or hydrologic processes
  • Knowledge of atmospheric or land surface remote sensing
  • Statistical analysis and other analytical techniques, including geospatial analysis
  • Excellent oral, written, and presentation skills (both technical and non-technical)
  • Basic Project Management capabilities
  • Extensive knowledge of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program


  • Broad knowledge of Earth Science, Applied Earth Science and the NASA Applied Sciences Program
  • Excellent skills in geospatial analysis and scientific programming
  • Oral and written communication skills



  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and its applications.

Working Conditions:

This job is largely a sedentary role and operates primarily in a professional office environment. Incumbents will constantly perform desk-based computer tasks. Keyboarding for large time spans each day will be a significant part of this position. The employee may need to lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.


Up to 10% travel.

All interested candidates must apply directly on our website at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity