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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational Terrestrial Biogeochemistry

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Date: Aug 3, 2019

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37831

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 955 

Pay Band: Postdoc

Relocation:  Domestic and International relocation services are available.



The Computational Earth Sciences Group (CESG) and the Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI; at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are seeking a qualified postdoctoral candidate in the field of computational terrestrial biogeochemistry. ORNL’s CESG conducts world-class research and development in Earth system modeling, model–data integration, large scale data analytics and machine learning, and model benchmarking at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Leadership Class Computing Facilities (LCFs).

Major Duties/Responsibilities:


  • Conduct regional and global Earth system model (ESM) simulations, focusing on terrestrial hydrology and biogeochemistry, and diagnose and benchmark multi-model performance by confronting models with best-available observational data.
  • Collaborate with a diverse team of Earth system and computational scientists, both within the CESG and across DOE Labs and partner universities, to develop and distribute open source benchmarking tools aimed at quantifying land model fidelity and simulation uncertainty.
  • Analyze model simulation results to understand vegetation and soil carbon dynamics, hydrological processes, land–atmosphere interactions, ecosystem responses to global change, and use of isotopes and biogeochemical tracers in the environment.
  • Work with the research community to design and develop model evaluation metrics and to synthesize benchmark datasets for model evaluation.
  • Explore Earth system feedbacks associated with the terrestrial carbon cycle; emissions of VOCs, methane, and dust; dynamics of DOC, nutrients, and sediment in riverine systems and their transport to coastal zones; and impacts of land use and land cover change on the Earth system. Publish research in peer-reviewed journals and present results at national and international conferences.

Technical Questions:


For more information, contact Forrest M. Hoffman <>.


Basic Qualifications:


  • A Ph.D. degree in Earth system science, ecosystem ecology, geography, or a related field;
  • Experience in model analysis and designing and developing model evaluation methods;

Preferred Qualifications:


  • Previous research experience with land surface models (e.g., CLM, ELM), terrestrial ecosystem modules (e.g., FATES, ED), soil biogeochemistry modules (e.g., CTC, ECA, FUN), and simulation protocols (e.g., AMIP, CMIP6, C4MIP, LUMIP, LS3MIP);
  • Knowledge of land-related observational data from in situ measurements and remote sensing platforms (e.g., Ameriflux, FLUXNET, AVIRIS-NG, MODIS, GEDI);
  • Familiarity with data file formats and conventions (e.g., CF, netCDF, HDF);
  • Experience with data manipulation and analysis packages (e.g., NCL, Python, R, NCO, Matlab);
  • Experience with the Linux operating system, LaTeX, Git, Python, and Fortran and/or C/C++;
  • Collaborative research capabilities as demonstrated by existing peer-reviewed publications and technical proposals.
  • Strongly motivated to perform and publish leading edge research;
  • Experience using or developing ILAMB or other diagnostic or benchmarking packages;
  • Experience with high performance computing, advanced statistical and machine learning methods, and visual data analytics approaches;
  • Knowledge of terrestrial ecosystem processes, land–atmosphere interactions, hydrological processes, and terrestrial–aquatic processes and their representations in ESMs;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

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.

UT-Battelle is recognized by our employees and the community as an inclusive environment where diversity is valued and individuals and teams are inspired to contribute fully to the organization's success. ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.


ORNL Ethics and Conduct:


As a member of the ORNL scientific community, you will be expected to commit to ORNL's Research Code of Conduct. Our full code of conduct, and a statement by the Lab Director's office can be found here:


Benefits at ORNL:  


UT Battelle offers an exceptional benefits package to include matching 401K, Pension Plan, Paid Vacation and Medical / Dental plan. Onsite amenities include Credit Union, Medical Clinic and free Fitness facilities.   




Moving is stressful and expensive, and UT Battelle offers a wide range of relocation benefits for individuals and families to make it easier to come and work here. If you are invited to interview, please ask your Recruiter about relocating with ORNL. 





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.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville

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