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 a Research Associate (Research Scientist). This position supports NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in work related to the magnetometers (MAG) on the GOES-R mission satellites. The Physicist shall split their time between space plasma physics research of Earth’s magnetosphere and work on data correction algorithms, depending on need. The position is initially for one year, with up to two additional years depending on performance and availability of funding. 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 geostationary weather satellites, which include a complement of space weather sensors to monitor the local space environment and the Sun. Two of the GOES-R satellites have been launched and are now called GOES-16 and GOES-17.

The role of the Space Physicists is to support the NCEI MAG Team in all aspects of NCEI's GOES-R satellite series MAG efforts. But specifically, undertake space plasma physics research and also work on algorithm corrections. On the algorithms, the Physicist will evaluate different correction methods in the literature, develop test code, extensively test the algorithms using GOES-R data, and select the best method to implement. For research, the physicists shall undertake scientific research which includes utilizing GOES-R MAG data that leads to published journal papers and presentations at scientific conferences. Through this work the science community will be better informed and educated of the scientific utility of the high-resolution 10 Hz MAG data. In addition, the physicist will be involved in other aspects of the MAG team work including refining the MAG observational requirements at GEO and looking for funding opportunities that further utilize the science data and allow studies of alternate science mission concepts that can provide complementary datasets to improve our knowledge of the magnetic field around GEO. The position is located within the Solar & Terrestrial Physics program of the NCEI Center for Coasts, Oceans, and Geophysics (CCOG) in the NOAA David Skaggs Research Center, 325 Broadway, Boulder, Colorado.

Who We Are

At CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, more than 800 environmental scientists work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES is a partnership of NOAA and the University of Colorado Boulder, and our areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at the Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, and solid Earth sciences. Our vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system. 

NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation's treasure of geophysical data and information.


  • Undertake scientific research that demonstrates the scientific utility of the GOES-R full 10 Hz magnetometer data. The research topic is open but possible area(s) of research include: understanding the generation, evolution and properties of Pc 1-5 ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves; understanding the role of ULF wave-particle interactions in ring current and/or outer radiation belt dynamics; development of a high-resolution (1-minute or higher) magnetic field model and application of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms to multi-GOES satellite observations. This research will be used to inform future development of operational products through research to operations (R2O) work.
  • Publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and present science results at science conferences. This particular duty will showcase, inform and educate the science community of the usability of the high-resolution MAG data.
  • Evaluate limits to the scientific utility of the MAG data and develop correction algorithms to improve the scientific and operational usability of MAG data.
  • Test correction methods, develop test code, extensively test the algorithms using GOES-R data, and select the best method to implement.
  • Help develop long-term data trending tools to monitor MAG data quality and detect data anomaly patterns.
  • Undertake scientific research using the algorithmically corrected MAG data that shows the improved scientific utility of the corrected dataset.
  • Participate in and sometimes travel to relevant GOES-R meetings with NASA, NOAA and vendors, as required.
  • Work on studies of alternate science mission concepts that can provide complimentary datasets to improve the knowledge of the magnetic field at GEO.
  • Write science proposals and look for funding opportunities, as required.

What You Should Know

CIRES commits to inclusive excellence by advancing equity and diversity in all that we do. We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community.

This position is rostered in CIRES at the University of Colorado Boulder, but will physically work in the David Skaggs Research Center (NOAA), 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO, 80305, a Federal facility. You must be able to pass a federal security check to be granted access to the building.

This position will be initially for one year, with up to two additional years depending on performance and availability of funding.

Due to U.S. Export Control Restrictions, only U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents may apply.

What We Can Offer

CIRES can offer a competitive salary, commensurate with experience.


  • Ph.D. in Space Physics or similar scientific discipline.
  • Experience handling science-grade magnetometer datasets with an understanding of how to handle science instrument data issues such as data gaps, spikes, and other anomalies
  • U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Resident status.

What You Will Need

  • Knowledge of higher-level scientific 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 occasional short-term trips to NASA-GSFC, NOAA-NSOF or vendor facilities for technical meetings and/or pre-and post-launch activities.
  • An understanding of the dynamics of magnetic fields in the near-Earth space environment.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • 3 years of postdoctoral experience in space physics.
  • Research background in magnetospheric physics.
  • Extensive experience in time-series analysis, including spectral domain analysis, of space science grade magnetometer data.
  • Understanding of geomagnetic field models.
  • Understanding of spacecraft magnetic cleanliness issues as pertaining to spacecraft accommodation for science magnetometers.
  • Experience working on science spacecraft mission development and/or understanding of NASA spacecraft mission phases.



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:

  1. Resume or CV.
  2. Cover letter addressed to the Search Committee briefly describing your qualifications, professional goals, and specific interest in this position.
  3. List of references: the names, professional titles, and contact information of those who are familiar with your qualifications and work history.

If you are selected as the finalist, we will contact you through email and request that you submit 1 name and email of a reference who will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation (can be one of the 3 noted above). This information will be kept confidential and viewable only the search committee.

Full consideration will be given to applications received by May 17, 2019, or until the position is filled.

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

Job Number


Date Posted

Monday, April 8, 2019