Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

CIRES/NCEI Research Associate in Space Physics

CIRES/NCEI Research Associate in Space Physics

The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder has an immediate opening for an up to 3-year duration Research Associate to support NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) work related to the magnetometers on the GOES-R mission satellites. The Space Weather Team within NCEI, is responsible for supporting NOAA’s space weather mission and for ensuring the operational and scientific utility of NOAA’s space environmental data. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Series-R (GOES-R) is NOAA’s next generation of spacecraft, which include a complement of space weather sensors to monitor the local space environment and the sun. The first GOES-R satellite was launched November 2016 and is now called GOES-16. The GOES-16 Magnetometer (MAG) instruments, comprising of two three-axis vector fluxgate magnetometers, continuously observe Earth’s magnetic field at geostationary orbit with 0.1-second time resolution.


The role of the Space Physicist is to support the NCEI MAG Instrument Scientist in all aspects of NCEIs GOES-R MAG efforts including on-orbit instrument calibration and validation, development and implementation of MAG space weather products, determining the quality of Level 1 MAG data, investigating data anomalies, writing technical documents and attending/contributing to NASA/NOAA/vendor technical meetings, briefings, reviews and instrument tests as needed. Initially, the Physicist will support the Instrument Scientist in time-sensitive work supporting the calibration/validation efforts on GOES-16 and both pre- and post-launch calibration/validation efforts for GOES-S. During this time, the Physicist is expected to develop an excellent understanding of the issues related to the GOES-R magnetometer calibration/validation and development programs. As they become more familiar with the mission, the Physicist will be expected to increase their interactions with NASA and vendor groups to ensure that MAGs on the GOES-S, T and U satellites and their processing algorithms are updated using lessons learned from GOES-16. The Physicist will make several short-term trips per year to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, NOAA’s Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) and vendor facilities as required as part of his/her work to participate in meetings and/or calibration activities. The Physicist will develop technical and scientific documents/papers as required. They are also expected to publish in research journals, attend conferences and at a minimum help write grant applications. Continuation of the Research Scientist position beyond the first three years depends on funding and performance. The position is located within the Solar-Terrestrial Physics Branch of the NCEI Center for Coasts, Oceans, and Geophysics (CCOG) at the David Skaggs Research Center, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado.
 Duties Include:
 Help in research, development, implementation and maintenance of operational space weather products.
 Investigate calibration methods for the GOES-R MAGs and determine the appropriateness of algorithms for implementation as part of NOAA’s operational data processing.
 Review the mathematical and physical basis of NASA/vendor calibration methods and quantify accuracies of these methods.
 Update Post Launch Test strategies.
 Investigate and test different validation methods and work with CIRES software engineers to implement methods into operations.
 Investigate anomalies in MAG data from on-orbit satellites and study methodologies to correct the anomalies.
 Help in identifying magnetic cleanliness issues during pre-launch tests and instrument development phases.
 Help produce post-launch test and other reports as needed and present them at GOES-R meetings.
 Validate parts of the vendor Level 1 algorithms.
 Conduct related science research leading to peer-reviewed publications.
 Other duties from time to time as needed.


A recent Ph.D. in physics or similar scientific or engineering discipline with an emphasis on magnetometer instrument design or scientific research using magnetometer data.
 Excellent technical skills and experience handling science-grade magnetometer datasets.
 Strong understanding of how to handle magnetometer data issues such as data gaps, spikes, and other anomalies.
 An understanding of both instrument and external factors that affect magnetometer data quality.
 Strong background in the use of higher-level computer languages, such as Python or IDL or Matlab.
 Ability to work cooperatively within a teaming environment.
 Excellent oral and written communication skills.
 Willingness to make irregularly-spaced short-term trips to NASA-GSFC, NOAA-NSOF or vendor facilities for technical meetings and/or pre-and post-launch activities.
 U. S. citizenship or permanent resident status.
 A recent (within 3 years) Ph.D. in space plasma physics.
 Extensive experience analyzing space science grade magnetometer data either in Earth’s magnetosphere or solar wind or another planetary magnetosphere, as part of their Ph.D. research. Experience using ground-based magnetometer data/instruments is also desirable if the research was focused on space plasma physics.
 Excellent knowledge, through their Ph.D. research, of current systems and/or plasma waves that produce variability in Earth’s magnetic field (e.g., ring current, ULF waves, field-aligned currents).
 Excellent knowledge of geophysical statistical signal processing, spectral analysis and parameter estimation techniques (e.g. sampling theory, Kalman filtering).
 Understanding of spacecraft magnetic cleanliness issues as pertaining to spacecraft accommodation for science magnetometers.
 Understanding of satellite orbit determination and coordinate transformation.
 Experience working on science spacecraft mission development and pre/post launch tests.
 Understanding of NASA spacecraft mission phases.

For further information, please contact Dr. Paul Loto’aniu ( )

Application Materials

Special Instructions to Applicants: The University of Colorado Boulder conducts background checks on all final applicants being considered for employment, prior to the issuance of an offer letter. The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to providing a safe and productive learning, living and working community. To achieve this goal, we conduct background investigations for all final applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include a criminal history record check, and an EPLS (Excluded Parties List System) check. The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires that verification of employment eligibility be documented for all new employees by the end of the third day of work. The University of Colorado is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, the University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, political affiliation or political philosophy in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. Inquiries may be directed to the Boulder Campus Title IX Coordinator by calling 303-492-2127. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, alternative formats of this ad can be provided upon request for individuals with disabilities by contacting Human Resources at

Application Materials Required: Cover Letter, Resume/CV, Reference Letters (Not Confidential), Unofficial transcript(s) 

Application Materials Instructions: Applicants must complete the Faculty/University Staff and EEO Data (application) form, and upload the following required documents: 1 – Cover Letter; 2 – Resume; 3 – The document uploaded for Proof of Degree can be a Transcript which shows the date the degree was conferred; Copy of Diploma; or official letter from the Registrar or the Dean of the School or College conferring the degree; 4 –One letter of recommendation This position is eligible for medical, dental and life insurance, retirement benefits programs, and is eligible for monthly vacation and sick leave accruals. 


Job Number


Date Posted

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Research Associate