CIRES/ EARTH LAB Harnessing the Fire Data Revolution Post-Doc

Earth Lab, funded by the University of Colorado Boulder’s “Grand Challenge: Our Space, Our Future” and part of CIRES, seeks post-doctoral researchers to join a dynamic team pushing the frontiers of coupled Earth and social system science ( Earth Lab’s mission is to harness the data revolution through research, analytics, and education to accelerate understanding of global environmental change to help society better manage and adapt.


Earth Lab is seeking a Post-Doctoral Research Scholar to lead a research agenda in the following area: Harnessing the Fire Data Revolution. This targeted research area represents Earth Lab’s efforts to explore natural and social system vulnerability and resilience to global environmental change, while also capitalizing of the diversity of data available to generate new insights. All postdoc positions are for one year with the possibility of extension based on performance and funding availability.


Earth Lab seeks a Post-Doctoral Research Scholar who can advance a research agenda to utilize the plethora of fire observations from satellites to understand how and why fire regimes are changing and the consequences to society. Key research questions include: 

How are fire regimes changing in the modern era? 

How do fine-scale fire dynamics reflect large-scale changes in fire behavior? and 

What is the role of people in changing fire regimes & the consequent risks to lives and property?  

The research goal of this project is to advance our understanding of some aspect of fire dynamics using cutting-edge technologies or sensors, machine learning approaches, and/or data harmonization techniques applied to the wealth of fire data available (e.g., MODIS, VIIRS, GOES, Sentinel, Landsat, FPA-FOD government records, or others). New fire data products from Earth Lab include a satellite-derived U.S. fire events database and ICS-209-PLUS, an integrated database of all government situation reports on U.S. wildfires. The desired applicant would ideally have experience in one or more of these data types or approaches. Earth Lab has existing partnerships with DigitalGlobe, USGS, Zillow, and others which can be leveraged for this work. We are particularly interested in how our understanding of fire processes scales from individual fire events to large-scale fire regimes. The specific work will be determined in collaboration with the successful applicant, based on skills and interest area. The application cover letter should reflect the applicant’s thoughts on how to build a research focus that builds on these ideas and capitalizes on their past experience. 


Work  with  individual  team  to  meet  research  goals  of this position, with the expectation of submitting  one  manuscript  for  publication  to  a  peer-reviewed  journal  by  the  end  of  Year  1, and contribute  to  and/or  submit an  independent  funding  proposal.

Use  research  agenda  to  develop  use  cases  for  the  Analytics  Hub  (staff  and  Viz-studio)  with  heterogeneous  and/or  big  data  streams  that  require  specialized  data  management,  analysis,  and/or  visualization  support  (with  emphasis  on  data  from  the  Earth  Observation  enterprise,  from  ground-based  to  space-based  sensors).

Contribute to  discussions  with  industry,  federal,  and  other  academic  partners, and contribute to  opportunities  to  make  Earth  Lab  visible  in  the  community.

Contribute to the open, reproducible science objectives of Earth Lab.  This could  include  contributing  or  publishing  well-documented  data sets  or  code  recipes  that  could  serve  multiple  users  within  Earth  Lab  or  other  audiences.

Work  on  synergistic  activities  across  the  post-doc  cohort  and  Science  Teams.  This  could  include  collaboration  on  external  proposals,  papers,  workshops,  opportunities  with  industry/federal  partners,  or  other  collaborative  activity and should amount to 20% effort.

What You Should Know

This position is located at the University of Colorado at Boulder's main campus

All postdoc positions are for one year with the possibility of extension based on performance and funding availability.

To learn more about Earth Lab, visit Earth Lab’s website ( and Earth Lab’s learning portal (

Review of applications will begin October 18. The position will remain open until filled.

What We Can Offer

We can offer a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package.


Ph.D. in a related field is required, such as geography, ecology, environmental studies, forestry, remote sensing, or other.

Background expertise in and theoretical understanding of fire regimes.

Applicant must have demonstrated interest and skills in one or more of the approaches described above (e.g., machine learning approaches, remote sensing fire data, data integration across multiple sources, etc.).

A strong quantitative background is necessary.

The ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team.

What You Will Need

Experience in, or willingness to learn, appropriate programming and data analytic tools. Ideally the candidates will have experience in programming languages (e.g., R, Python, or others), can work in different environments (e.g., Linux), and are well versed in geospatial analysis software (e.g., QGIS).

Demonstrated contributions to open science (i.e., publicly available and/or reproducible data, code, workflows, and/or tools) or willingness to contribute to open science.

Experience in integrating and analyzing large, and/or heterogeneous datasets.

Experience in working with a high performance computing or cloud computing environment is a plus (Earth Lab supports both HPC & cloud compute on AWS).

Demonstrated publication and grant-writing skills.

Team spirit and interest in interdisciplinary settings, with a willingness to engage with Earth Lab’s Analytics Hub and Education Initiative teams.


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Application Materials

To apply, please submit the following materials:

Resume or CV

Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.

List of contact information for 3 references who will be willing to write a confidential Letter of Recommendation for you. 

If you are selected as the finalist, your degree will be verified by the CU Boulder Campus Human Resources department using an approved online vendor. If your degree was obtained outside of the United States, please submit a translated version as an optional attachment.


Review of applications will begin October 18. The position will remain open until filled.


Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Job Number


Date Posted

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


Post-Doc Opportunity