Project Scientist I / II

Boulder, Colorado (US)
Apr 12, 2021
May 12, 2021
Career Level
Mid Career
Education Level
Relocation Cost

Location: Boulder, Colorado. Note: In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and restricted access to UCAR facilities, UCAR may allow temporary remote work arrangements for newly hired employees. Eventual relocation to UCAR facilities in Boulder, CO is required for this specific position.

Type: Full-time, Exempt

Application Deadline: This position will be posted until Wednesday May 12th, 2021. Thereafter, applications will be reviewed on an as-needed basis.

Relocation: Relocation assistance is available for this position.

Work Authorization: UCAR/NCAR will not sponsor a work visa (e.g., J-1, H1-B, etc.) for this position.

Project Scientist I
Hiring Salary Range: $84,287 - $105,358
Full Salary Range: $84,287 - $136,966

Project Scientist II
Hiring Salary Range: $97,404 - $121,754
Full Salary Range: $97,404 - $158,282

Benefits: UCAR affirms its continuing commitment to developing, providing, and administering its employee benefit programs with due consideration for equal employment opportunity and diversity guidelines.
UCAR's rich package of employee benefits includes medical, dental, vision, education assistance, retirement, and life insurance. UCAR offers a variety of programs designed to assist with work-life balance including flexible work alternatives, paid time off and 14 weeks of paid parental leave.

Where You Will Work:

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and various UCAR Cooperative Programs (UCP) – all in service of advancing knowledge, providing community-based resources, and building human capacity in atmospheric and related sciences.

The UCAR COSMIC Program has been a leader in the retrieval and scientific application of GNSS, e.g. GPS, data since UCAR led the GPS/MET GPS radio occultation (RO) mission in the mid 1990s. It contributed to the design, management, and operation of the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology Ionosphere and Climate / FORMOSAT-3 (COSMIC-1) mission since 2006. The mission is still providing high-quality RO profiles that are having a significant positive impact on weather and space weather forecasting and research. The success of COSMIC has prompted U.S. agencies (led by NOAA) and Taiwan's National Space Organization to execute a COSMIC follow-on operational mission called COSMIC-2/FORMOSAT-7 (COSMIC-2) that places six satellites with next generation GNSS RO payloads into low Earth orbit.

What You Will Do:

Development, analysis, and science applications of: precise orbit determination (POD) of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellations and low Earth orbiters (LEOs), atmospheric excess phase computations for radio occultation (RO) missions, utilization and validation of data products from additional sensors (e.g. laser retro-reflectors), processing of GNSS tracking data from terrestrial networks. Apply research and development to near real-time and post-processing applications. Serve as POD expert for GNSS constellations, COSMIC and COSMIC-2 LEOs, and other missions.


  • Maintain and improve COSMIC Data Analysis and Archive Center (CDAAC) GNSS processing systems: algorithm development to invert, analyze, and combine data from satellite payloads for extraction of most accurate POD, atmospheric, and space geodetic products. Conduct research to expand existing software capabilities for operational near-real time processing, post-processing, and re-analysis for current and future missions. Process and provide additional GNSS products using CDAAC tools to benefit the RO science, meteorology, and geodetic communities.
  • Plan and conduct research to develop data validation procedures, quality control methods, and accurate error characterizations for POD, atmospheric excess phase, atmospheric, and other GNSS products. Use SLR data to improve/tune POD performance and to validate POD products for all missions with laser retro-reflectors.
  • Conduct science investigations on the application of GNSS data to RO and geodetic science applications, represent COSMIC program at conferences and meetings, conduct research and publish papers, review papers, participate in proposals for outside funding, and contribute to scientific progress reports. Stay informed on new developments in the field relevant to the use of GNSS data for POD, radio occultation processing, and geodesy. Provide education and outreach support to the community.
  • Provide technical expertise to the COSMIC operations and science teams related to GNSS processing. Serve as a technical resource to research and operational users of COSMIC Program POD and excess phase products. Operations support includes answering questions and monitoring and troubleshooting the automated CDAAC data processing and scientific payloads.

What You Need:

Education and Years of Experience:

Project Scientist I:

Ph.D. in a relevant science, such as Aerospace Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Geophysics, Physics or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience is required.

Project Scientist II:

Ph.D. in a relevant science, plus three years experience as research/engineering staff, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Project Scientist I:

  • Demonstrated experience using GNSS data processing software for operations and/or science applications.
  • Demonstrated understanding of state estimation techniques.
  • Understanding of GNSS measurement modeling and remote sensing.
  • High skill in mathematics.
  • Demonstrated programming skills in at least two of: Python, C++, Fortran, Perl.
  • Knowledge of UNIX / Linux operating systems..
  • Experience writing proposals for research opportunities.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as a team member in a collaborative environment.
  • Excellent English oral and written communications skills.

Project Scientist II:

In addition to the requirements for a Project Scientist I

  • Demonstrated excellence and productivity in scientific research, as evidenced in refereed journal and conference publications.
  • Experience serving as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on science proposals.
  • Advanced programming skills in at least two of: Python, C++, Fortran, Perl.
  • Demonstrated understanding of dynamic and reduced-dynamic POD techniques.
  • Ability to lead technical projects under plans prepared in consultation with senior scientific and management staff.

Desired but not required:

  • Demonstrated experience with University of Berne Bernese GNSS Software.
  • Experience developing precise GNSS processing software.
  • Demonstrated skill in leading the planning and managing of projects to meet objectives and deadlines.
  • Demonstrated skill in establishing, leading and maintaining effective scientific collaborations inside and outside organization.

Other Requirements:

The candidate must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, or be willing to obtain U.S. Permanent Resident status. 

Applicant Notes:

  • A cover letter is required when applying to this position.
  • An Inclusion Statement will be required for all applicants advancing to an in-person interview. If requested, this statement should address past efforts, as well as future vision and plans to advocate for and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organization and/or field of work.
  • A pre-employment screening is conducted in conjunction with an offer for employment. This screening may involve verifying or reviewing any of the following relevant information: restricted parties screening, employment verification, performance records of internal candidates, education verification, reference checks, verification of professional licenses, certifications, and Motor Vehicle Records.  UCAR complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • Please note that while the position description details both minimum requirements as well as desired skills and experience, we want to remind applicants that you do not need to have all the desired skills and experience to be considered for this role. If you have the passion for the work along with experience in a related field, you are encouraged to apply. We can provide on-the-job training for the rest.