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Senior Staff Associate III/Associate Director

Columbia University in the City of New York
Palisades, New York
$120,000 - $140,000
Closing date
Jun 4, 2023

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Global Environmental Change, Interdisciplinary/Other, Social Sciences
Career Level
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type

CIESIN, the Center of International Earth Science Information Network, is a unit of the Columbia Climate School (CCS) that addresses Columbia University's "Fourth Purpose" - the application of scientific data (especially spatial data), rigorous knowledge and research for societal impact and the public good.  With more than 40 scientific and technical staff based at Columbia's Lamont campus in Palisades, New York, CIESIN works at the intersection of the natural, social, health, and data sciences to advance research and applications focused on human-environment interactions and to provide unique geospatial science and technology capabilities for research, education and decision making.  CIESIN has a strong portfolio of contracts, grants, and other sponsored projects including operation of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC).  Many CIESIN staff have adjunct appointments at Columbia and are active in local, national, and international organizations dealing with data sharing and stewardship, climate change, sustainable development, disaster management, and other topics. CIESIN has three main divisions: Science Applications, Geospatial Applications, and Information Technology.  

CIESIN is seeking a Senior Staff Associate III to serve as Associate Director for the Science Applications Division. The SSAIII provides leadership of CIESIN's Science Applications Division including hiring, supervision and evaluation of staff; ensuring the smooth distribution of tasks and workloads between the Division and other CIESIN divisions; responding to requests for proposals; and seeking out funding sources to develop projects in line with CIESIN’s mission and strategic plan. Plays a leading role in the development of interdisciplinary research projects for CIESIN, other centers and projects of the Columbia Climate School, and external partners. Promotes the development and application of scientific data and information products for CIESIN, the Climate School, and Columbia, and in national and international venues. Serves in a senior management position in the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), and provides guidance on open science and data science. Participates in projects or tasks and provides scientific expertise in various arenas related to human interactions in the environment, including for example: population dynamics; sustainability science; climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability; environmental justice; environment/security connections; socioeconomic and remote sensing data integration; and scientific data management.

Duties and Responsibilities include:

  • Manage and/or contribute to sponsored projects concerned with human-environment interactions.
  • Serve in a senior management role for the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center operated by CIESIN, assisting the SEDAC Manager in planning and management.
  • Interact with data providers, scientists and other institutions as appropriate to obtain data and other inputs needed for successful data product and service development
  • Hire, supervise and evaluate Science Applications Division staff and oversight of visiting scholars.
  • Lead or coordinate preparation of proposals for external funding.
  • Lead of contribute to scientific and technical publications, trainings courses, news items, and other outputs based on CIESIN projects and activities.
  • Represent CIESIN and the Climate School in relevant national and international organizations, networks, conferences, workshops, and other events.
  • Will report to the CIESIN Director and performs duties with minimal supervision.


  • Bachelor’s degree in the social, natural, health, engineering, or data sciences and at least 15 years of experience in the socioeconomic aspects of human interactions in the environment and/or geospatial data applications, analysis, integration, and dissemination required. Master’s degree in the social, natural, health, engineering, or data sciences preferred.
  • Experience with open data, information technology, data management, data processing, quality control, and/or workflows.
  • Thematic expertise in one or more of the following areas: population dynamics; sustainability science; climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation; environmental justice; environment/security connections; socioeconomic and remote sensing data integration; and scientific data management.
  • Technical experience in one or more of the following preferred: remote sensing, geographic information systems, socioeconomic/demographic data analysis, or cloud-native computing.
  • Demonstrated project management, fundraising, and oral/written communication skills, as well as demonstrated ability to lead teams of researchers and/or data scientists.
  • Experience with NASA, NOAA, USAID, or other major government funders desirable, as well as the ability to publish both scientific papers and general interest articles.
  • Experience with cloud-native computing, R or Python programming, and Jupyter Notebooks desirable.

Appointments are made on a fiscal year basis and are eligible for renewal each July 1st, contingent upon performance and funding.

The search will remain open for at least 30 days after the ad appears and will continue until the position is filled.  

Columbia University benefits are offered with this Officer of Research appointment.

We accept online applications only.  For more information about this position and to submit an application, please use the link provided in this posting.


The Lamont campus values diversity and inclusion, and encourages applications from members of underrepresented minority groups.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

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