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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Model-data Integration

Date: Jun 1, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 5948 



The Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Lab is seeking a post-doctoral researcher with interest and expertise in model-data integration and uncertainty quantification focused on belowground plant trait observations and terrestrial biogeochemical or Earth System models. 


Major Job Duties/Responsibilities:


  • The researcher will help synthesize and analyze observational and experimental data from the Fine-Root Ecology Database (FRED;, species-specific observations from the Morton Arboretum (, as well as other data sources to improve the representation of fine-root form and function in the Energy Exascale Earth System Land Model (ELM). 
  • The researcher will help design, execute, and analyze model simulations to: (1) quantify uncertainty in root trait observations and their functional representation in the current version of ELM under different environmental conditions and across different plant functional types or biomes, and (2) develop new algorithms for root form and function to improve model performance. 
  • The researcher will work closely with a highly-skilled, interdisciplinary team of modelers and empiricists across our multi-institution DOE-funded projects.


Basic Qualifications:


  • Ph.D. in Terrestrial Biosphere Modeling, Ecology, Biogeochemistry, Computer Science, Data Informatics or a related field completed within the last 5 years is required.
  • The work will require an applicant with a wide range of skills: (1) understanding terrestrial biogeochemical processes and their representation in land-surface biogeochemical models; (2) understanding methods to evaluate land models using a diverse range of observations; (3) programming experience in Python, R or Fortran and execution of code on high performance computing (HPC) systems, (4) oral and written presentation of results; and (5) ability to work in an integrated team environment.


Preferred Qualifications:


  • Experience with terrestrial biosphere model development and simulation, data-model integration, large databases, development of algorithms for HPC systems and cross-disciplinary collaboration is preferred. 
  • Terrestrial biosphere models may include but are not limited to ELM, which is the land model in the Energy Exascale Earth Model (E3SM) or the Community Land Model (CLM).


Hiring managers and post-doctoral mentors: Dr. Dan Ricciuto and Dr. Colleen Iversen (


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


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This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

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ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

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