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Research Scientist/Sr. Research Scientist (ACOM)

Boulder, Colorado
Research Scientist Hiring Range $112,563 - $140,703
Closing date
Nov 26, 2021

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Atmospheric Sciences, Geochemistry
Career Level
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
Sector Type
Non-Government Organization/Non-Profit
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  • Application Deadline: This position will be posted until November 30, 2021.
  • Relocation Assistance: Relocation costs and startup funds may be negotiated.
  • Work Authorization: UCAR/NCAR will sponsor a visa to fill this position.

Research Scientist
Hiring Range         $112,563 - $140,703
Full Salary Range $112,563 - $182,915

Sr. Research Scientist
Hiring Range         $139,838 - $174,797
Full Salary Range $139,838 - $227,236

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.

Vaccine Requirements: As required by Executive Order 14042, all Federal Contractor employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee’s duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject to such exceptions as required by law. Effective immediately, UCAR requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated prior to entering on duty, subject to such exceptions as required by law.

If selected, you will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination by December 8, 2021 or before appointment or onboarding with UCAR, if after December 8, 2021. UCAR will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request of UCAR a legally required exception from this requirement.

Where You Will Work:

Located in Boulder, Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is one of the world’s premier scientific institutions, with an internationally recognized staff and research program dedicated to advancing knowledge, providing community-based resources, and building human capacity in the atmospheric and related sciences. NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

ACOM’s research focuses on advancing understanding and predictive capability for atmospheric composition and related processes. Research is organized around two major themes – Air Quality Prediction and Weather-Chemistry-Climate Interactions. ACOM scientists work closely with the wider research community, providing intellectual leadership and facility support for measurement capabilities, laboratory and field experiments and community atmospheric chemistry models.

What You Will Do:  

The chosen scientist will be an established leader in the community and will engage in atmospheric chemistry observational research that is aligned with and supports the strategic vision for NCAR and ACOM as described in the current NCAR and ACOM Strategic Plans. Through independent and collaborative research, leadership, community service, education and outreach activities, and long-term strategic and scientific planning, the incumbent will help foster a culture of scientific excellence within ACOM and NCAR and support the scientific community (particularly the university community). The chosen scientist will pursue original research and seek out opportunities to develop and participate in research projects on a scale commensurate with that expected of a national center and address issues of national and international importance. Research will be focused on two main ACOM themes – air pollution processes and chemistry-climate interactions. The incumbent will be a recognized expert in atmospheric chemistry and should demonstrate a high level of expertise both in measurements and the interpretation of observational data.

The incumbent will be a leader in the ACOM observational enterprise and play a major role in defining ACOM experimental research objectives and priorities. Together with the community and NCAR partners the chosen scientist will have the expertise to define, lead, and participate in the development and organization of community field campaigns, aimed at understanding atmospheric chemical/physical processes and atmospheric composition and contribute to directing future instrument developments. The chosen scientist will show the capability to connect the observational research with the broader NCAR and community research including laboratory/chamber investigations and process and atmospheric chemistry modeling.

This is a Ladder Track appointment which is equivalent to a professorship in a university. The appointment will be made at the Scientist III or Senior Scientist level as appropriate following NCAR appointment criteria according to experience, demonstrated expertise in managing and leading projects, record of scientific accomplishments and national and international reputation.


Provides leadership in defining the overall scientific direction of ACOM research. Identifies important questions in atmospheric chemistry and composition, particularly those related to the processes involved in gas phase oxidation processes in the atmosphere, and/or in secondary organic aerosol formation, growth and loss, and the resultant impact on air quality and human health and Earth’s radiative budget. Leads and participates in community field investigations to address these questions. Works with ACOM staff to identify and address gaps in our observational suite of instrumentation and to pursue the acquisition and development of new instruments, or cultivate partnerships with universities needed to fill the gaps. Shares analytical knowledge with, and serves as a resource to, the greater atmospheric chemistry community. Works closely with modeling groups to identify observational gaps that are precluding advancements in atmospheric chemistry modeling and to put observational results in a broader context to advance knowledge in atmospheric chemistry. Publishes/presents results and implications at national and international scientific meetings and in refereed journals both as lead and co-author.

Coordinates and develops collaborative activities involving university and NCAR scientists. Engages in ACOM laboratory meetings and related activities and is constructively engaged in the professional life of the laboratory with the goal of providing input to ACOM/NCAR planning for future research priorities and strategies. Supervises junior and support staff and advises and mentors post-doctoral fellows. Provides leadership within NCAR and ACOM, and serves as an advocate for atmospheric chemistry in strategic and scientific planning within NCAR and ACOM.

Submits proposals for funding from outside agencies to participate in scientific activities where those activities will contribute to the more complete or prompt achievement of ACOM and NCAR organizational goals.

Contributes to scientific programs by serving on NCAR internal, and external national and international committees. Works with colleagues in NCAR, the university community and other agencies to seek opportunities to develop new activities that enhance the mission(s) of our primary sponsors and university stakeholders. Reviews manuscripts submitted to peer-reviewed journals and proposals submitted to funding agencies as appropriate.

Seeks out opportunities to contribute to the NCAR Education and Outreach and Inclusion and Diversity mission, both through individual efforts and through larger organized efforts.

What You Need:  

Education and Years of Experience

Education: PhD (Atmospheric Science, Chemistry, Physics, or related).  Experience in Atmospheric chemistry studies (or a very closely related field): 

For Scientist III: 7-12 years of experience beyond PhD, with a strong publication record and demonstrated ability to lead scientific projects and supervise junior and support staff.. Has achieved national and international reputation for research and leadership. 

For Senior Scientist: At least 12 years of experience beyond PhD, with a strong publication record and demonstrated ability to lead scientific projects and supervise junior and support staff, in leading large collaborative scientific projects, and demonstrated ability to develop and maintain external funding to support research initiatives. Has achieved national and international reputation for research and leadership. 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Expert level understanding of atmospheric chemistry with a knowledge of research questions that need to be addressed to advance the field and to ultimately provide key input and data leading to improved predictive capability for air quality and further our knowledge of chemistry-climate interactions.
  • Advanced knowledge of in situ observational instrumentation for determining tropospheric composition.
  • Ability to design and lead complex collaborative research initiatives, including the development of aircraft- and ground-based community field programs and atmospheric simulation chamber experiments.
  • Skill in interpretation of data obtained in these targeted experiments and field deployments, including the ability to work well with modeling groups, and in written and oral communication of research results.
  • A demonstrated commitment to, and strong record in, carrying out and publishing original research in atmospheric chemistry.
  • Skill in leading scientific research, and possessing the experience and knowledge needed to provide scientific leadership at the NCAR Laboratory level, including supervising junior and support staff.
  • Capable of representing the Laboratory at institutional functions or meetings and advocating for ACOM science.
  • Strong written and oral communications skills.
  • Expert skill in planning and implementing research activities and managing projects, people, and resources.
  • Experience and demonstrated ability in the writing of scientific publications and research proposals.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of mathematical methods for data analysis and software that facilitates processing of large datasets (e.g., IGOR, Matlab, Python).
  • Ability to lead, participate, and interact productively within a multidisciplinary research team.

Applicant notes:

  • A cover letter is required.
  • An Inclusion Statement will be required for all applicants moving forward to the interview stage. 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.
  • For more information about our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, here is the link to the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan and to the ODEI landing page.
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