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Scientist II in Greenbelt, MD at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 8/20/2018

Job Snapshot

  • Employee Type:
  • Location:
    Greenbelt, MD
  • Job Type:
  • Experience:
    Not Specified
  • Date Posted:

Job Description

A Scientist II will work to advance land data assimilation within the coupled atmosphere-ocean-land Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model and its associated Data Assimilation System. He/she will integrate and improve existing land data assimilation components, in particular those using satellite observations of soil moisture, snow, and land surface temperature, within the GEOS hybrid (ensemble-variational) atmospheric data assimilation system. The developments support applications of land data assimilation to the initialization of weather and seasonal forecasts and to the improvement of our understanding of land-atmosphere interactions. A particular focus of the candidate will be to lead the science development and implementation of the land component of GMAO’s next reanalysis system.

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Revise new approaches to problems encountered; establish test controls, criteria and research standards and assist in the design of research experiments to define scientific problems.
  • Plan, schedule, and conduct activities in all phases of research projects, often as a member of a larger research team.
  • Ability to be a Co-Investigator and key contributor to a large research or programmatic effort.
  • Perform experiments, collect and analyze data.
  • Prepare research results for publication in reports, papers, journals, books, and other media.
  • Prepare and deliver major briefings and presentations to various national and international seminars, talks or lectures for dissemination of knowledge, particularly the results of research undertaken.
  • Responsible for compiling research data results for publication in reports, papers, journals, books and other media and also into cohesive educational outreach presentations.
  • Act as a mentor for student interns involved in the GESTAR Program. This involves instructing the intern about the nature and extent of the GESTAR program.
  • Write several publications of considerable interest and value to the field as evidenced by favorable reviews, by citation in the work of others, by presenting papers to professional societies, and/or will have contributed inventions, new designs or research, which are of material significance in the solution of important applied problems.
  • Preparation of reports of own scientific and other activity for purposes of annual reports to NASA, annual GESTAR report, and self-evaluation for annual performance appraisals.
  • Engage the academic community in research work through research collaborations, visits, invited guests, workshops, conferences, etc.
  • Develop an awareness of NASA’s mission needs and address them to the best of ability.
  • Maintain an awareness of funding opportunities in area of expertise through internal and external funding agencies; seek and obtain funding to ensure continuation and growth of research efforts.
  • Complete all trainings as scheduled

Other job related duties as assigned


Required Qualifications:


A PhD in Atmospheric Sciences, Hydrology, or equivalent experience, is required for this position.



  • 5 to 7 years’ experience.
  • Experience of coding and running global land and/or atmospheric data assimilation systems on high-end computing systems is highly necessary, as is hands-on ability to run data-processing applications such as Matlab or Python

Licenses, Certifications:    



Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • A proven ability to communicate through conference presentations and scientific publications is essential.
  • Function independently or as part of a team, with minimal direct supervision.
  • Propose credible and innovative research projects, develop the necessary skills to perform the work, and carry out the research, providing the required reporting to the granting agency in a timely fashion.
  • Ability to interpret USRA and Federal Policies and Procedures necessary to function in a scientific research environment, along with the ability to establish priorities, solve problems and make daily effective decisions to promote the advancement of science.
  • Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in and deal with several abstract and concrete variables.
  • Advanced experimental and analytical skills.



  • Excellent computer skills, enabling some supervisory role in large mission-driven computational projects involving for example, model development, algorithm development or data analysis, all  making use of  programming languages, visualization and diagnostic tools,  and High-End Computing resources. Specific requirements from the Lab/Office may add, or replace, this list.

Working Conditions:

Work will be performed in an office or computer lab environment.  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit; talk or hear.  Keyboarding for large time spans each day may be a significant part of this position.



Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at

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