Research Scientist

Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
20 Mar 2018
End of advertisement period
17 Apr 2018
Contract Type
Full Time

Description of Work Unit

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), steward of agriculture for the nation, has long been concerned about the impacts of environmental variability and weather extremes. Changes in environmental and weather patterns can lead to unprecedented changes in the Ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface, raising the concern of direct and indirect effects to crops, ecosystems and humans.

The UV-B Monitoring and Research Program (UVMRP) is guided by National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA’s) mission to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges, and vision to catalyze transformative discoveries, education, and engagement to address agricultural challenges. Specifically, UVMRP addresses NIFA’s Strategic Plan goal to advance the development and delivery of science pertaining to the adaptation of agricultural, forest, and range systems to climate variability and to mitigate climate impacts.

The UVMRP fulfills these mandates with three established, long-duration program areas:

  • Monitor and examine solar radiation (with an emphasis on UV) at the Earth’s surface,
  • Study the interaction of UV radiation upon agricultural crops/production, forests, rangelands, ecosystems, and weather extremes,
  • Develop an Integrated Agricultural Impact Assessment System

Position Summary

The position provides scientific expertise on the transfer of solar radiation in the atmosphere and the remote sensing of atmospheric parameters influencing the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. This expertise is essential to assure that UVMRP data and data products meet internationally accepted standards.

This position will conduct research, and publish scientific findings in refereed journals, and make oral presentations at scientific conferences.

In conjunction with UVMRP staff members, the position develops data analysis techniques, provides expertise in calibration procedures, and delivers up-to-date quality control practices to support the monitoring program.

The position research duties also include the development and validation of radiative transfer codes and various related data processing algorithms to enhance the data products offered by UVMRP. This position also writes computer compiled code and/or scripting language code to retrieve ozone and aerosol properties from radiometric data using satellites such as Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), Ozone Monitoring Instrument(OMI) and Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) to use in comparing/enhancing Program data, and data products.

The position also assists with answering scientific questions concerning solar radiation from stakeholders and data users.

The position is in charge of the development and operation of the indoor optical characterization unit.

The positon meets regularly with scientific staff. The position is also part of the annual progress report writing team, and participates in the writing supporting documentation of the program (e.g. program brochure, strategic plan, etc.).

Required Job Qualifications

Ph.D. with at least 2 years of research experience.

Demonstrated potential for independent research. May work independently or as member of team. Solicit research projects.

The successful candidate will have earned a Ph.D. degree in Atmospheric Science, Applied Meteorology, Physics, Mathematics or a related discipline with expertise in the transfer of solar radiation in the atmosphere and/or the remote sensing of atmospheric parameters influencing the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.

Proficiency demonstrated in one or more of the common programming languages such as FORTRAN, C, C++, IDL, or MATLAB is required.

Preferred Job Qualifications

The applicant should understand important processes affecting the transfer of solar radiation in the atmosphere although previous work in the UV portion of the spectrum is not required.

A familiarity with radiation transfer models is desirable as well as a basic understanding of the role of radiation in climate change scenarios.

A background that includes the knowledge of surface solar irradiance from satellite observations such as Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS), Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) is preferred as well as familiarity with the measurement of surface solar radiation.

An understanding of model validation, data assimilation and quality assurance as well as familiarity with radiation detectors and the use of optical calibration equipment.

Excellent written communication skills are desired.

Diversity Statement

Reflecting departmental and institutional values, candidates are expected to have the ability to advance the Department’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Essential Duties

Job Duty Category Quality Assurance/Quality Control Duty/Responsibility

  • On a daily basis determine the quality of the UVMRP data and apply quality control flags where necessary.
  • Notify staff of technical issues and provide advice on scientific procedures and data handling.
  • Prepare, record, and update the Network status documentation, which contains a summary of all technical aspects of the UVMRP Network.
  • Distribute documents to director and staff for further data control and troubleshooting.

Percentage Of Time 20 Job Duty Category Calibration Procedures Duty/Responsibility

  • Revise and update calibration procedures for the program’s entire suite of instruments.
  • Develop and evaluate new calibration protocols to insure continued high quality data.
  • Monitor and review the Mauna Loa, Hawaii calibration to insure performance of all of the solar UV measuring instruments (UV- and VIS-MFRSR, UVB-1).
  • Develop, design, and support the optical characterization unit, which consists of the spectral and cosine response optical benches, along with the absolute calibration bench.
  • Provide expertise and research to order parts needed for the operation of the calibration lab.
  • Will operate the optical characterization unit, and prepare and disseminate measurement protocols, and continued development and update user’s handbook.

Percentage Of Time 25 Job Duty Category Data Analysis / Modeling Duty/Responsibility

  • Review, process and analyze the time series of UVMRP data for annual and seasonal patterns.
  • Run radiative transfer models as an ancillary way of supporting and evaluating the original data, which reveals the cause and effect of changes in the measured data.
  • Develop Retrieval algorithms based on UV and visible irradiance data.
  • Evaluate and validate calibration procedures, and retrieved products through available independent collocated datasets.

Percentage Of Time 20 Job Duty Category Reporting / Meeting organization / Scientific Coordination Duty/Responsibility

  • This position will conduct research and publish scientific findings in refereed journals, and make oral presentations at scientific conferences, and work with collaborators on all publications.
  • Work with scientific staff to jointly prepare, organize, and coordinate reporting from regular scientific UVMRP meetings.
  • Member of the UVMRP writing team that develops USDA related reports.
  • Research potential opportunities to advance the UVMRP impact on the scientific community through publications, conferences, poster presentations, workshops.
  • Actively solicit new funding opportunities.
  • Communicate with the principal investigator, scientists and staff on projects regarding progress to ensure all deliverables completed in a timely manner.

Percentage Of Time 35

Special Instructions to Applicants


  • Clearly document job duties you have performed that relate to minimum qualifications, preferred qualifications, and essential job duties in the Work Experience section on the application. Human Resources must be able to evaluate your experience based on this information.
  • Clearly outline dates of employment and hours worked per week for each employment experience listed in the Work Experience section of the Application so that Human Resources can calculate full-time work experience.
  • The APPLICATION is the only document that will be utilized to determine if minimum qualifications, as outlined in the job posting, have been met. The Application is considered to be the legal document on file; resumes will not be reviewed for minimum qualification requirements.


  • If an Application is considered “Incomplete”, the Application will be removed from consideration for the position.
    • An Application is incomplete if no current/ previous employment is included in the Work Experience section of the Application.
    • An Application is incomplete if “see resume” (or something similar) is noted, or previous employment does not contain job duties for every position in the Work Experience section of the Application.
    • Positions requiring a degree or if using education as a substitution for work experience (eg: Associate or Bachelor’s) transcripts are required in order to verify receipt of the required degree or coursework. If official or unofficial transcripts are not supplied at the time of application, the Application is incomplete.


  • When a resume is listed as a required document, it may be used in the comparative analysis/ evaluation process to determine the candidates that most closely meet the qualifications of the position. This process occurs after an application has passed the minimum qualifications screening.
  • Resumes will not be accepted in place of a completed application; however, some positions may still require a resume as a component for complete application materials.
    **Please see the Required Documents section of the posting.


  • The selection process for State Classified positions may include an exam(s), which requires candidates to physically appear (at the CSU campus in Fort Collins, CO) at the candidates’ own expense.
  • All status updates for this position will be sent via email from In addition to your Inbox, remember to check the Deleted and Junk folders for these important communications.
  • Pertinent updates to your Application status can be obtained by logging into your application account at


  • Please check the Help link online at for assistance on your application or for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
  • All other inquiries should be directed to the Colorado State University Human Resources Office

Conditions of Employment

Pre-employment Criminal Background Check (required for new hires), Pre-employment Physical - Successfully complete the WorkSteps evaluation., Essential Services Designation - Required to report without delay or interruption to provide essential or emergency services to ensure health, safety, and welfare., Special Requirements/Other - Per CSU HDS food safety training policy, the incumbent must successfully pass the ServSafe certification exam within 6 months of hire date.

EEO Statement

Colorado State University is committed to providing an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment based on race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy and will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. Colorado State University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce and complies with all Federal and Colorado State laws, regulations, and executive orders regarding non-discrimination and affirmative action. The Office of Equal Opportunity is located in 101 Student Services.

The Title IX Coordinator is the Executive Director of the Office of Support and Safety Assessment, 123 Student Services Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523 -2026, (970) 491-7407.

The Section 504 and ADA Coordinator is the Associate Vice President for Human Capital, Office of Equal Opportunity, 101 Student Services Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523-0160, (970) 491-5836.

Background Check Policy Statement

Colorado State University (CSU) strives to provide a safe study, work, and living environment for its faculty, staff, volunteers and students. To support this environment and comply with applicable laws and regulations, CSU conducts background checks. The type of background check conducted varies by position and can include, but is not limited to, criminal (felony and misdemeanor) history, sex offender registry, motor vehicle history, financial history, and/or education verification. Background checks will be conducted when required by law or contract and when, in the discretion of the university, it is reasonable and prudent to do so.

Employment and Appeal Rights

If you receive notice that you have been eliminated from consideration for the position, you may protest the action by filing an appeal with the State Personnel Board/State Personnel Director within 10 days from the date you receive notice of the elimination. Also, if you wish to challenge the selection and comparative analysis process, you may file an appeal with the State Personnel Board/State Personnel Director within 10 days from the receipt of notice or knowledge of the action you are challenging.

Refer to Chapters 4 and 8 of the State Personnel Board Rules and Personnel Director’s Administrative Procedures, 4 CCR 801, for more information about the appeals process. The State Personnel Board Rules and Personnel Director’s Administrative Procedures are available at

A standard appeal form is available at: If you appeal, your appeal must be submitted in writing on the official appeal form, signed by you or your representative, and received at the following address within 10 days of your receipt of notice or knowledge of the action: Colorado State Personnel Board/State Personnel Director, Attn: Appeals Processing, 1525 Sherman Street, 4th Floor, Denver, CO 80203. Fax: 303-866-5038. Phone: 303-866-3300. The ten-day deadline and these appeal procedures also apply to all charges of discrimination.