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AFIT Gridded Atmospheric Dataset Optimization Fellowship

Dayton, Ohio
Stipends determined by academic standing, discipline, experience, and research facility location.
Closing date
Jul 19, 2024


U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)

Reference Code


How to Apply

Go to, create a profile, and search reference code: AFIT-2024-0008. Click on Apply at the bottom of the opportunity to start your application.


The Air Force Institute of Technology is offering a doctoral level fellowship at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

What will I be doing?

As an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) participant, you will join a community of scientists and researchers in an effort to optimize a gridded, atmospheric-reanalysis-based dataset for use in radiative transfer modeling and remote sensing applications. The first half-year is focused on evaluating the accuracy and optimal combination of various reanalysis datasets for the region of interest. Prior findings suggest that a skill-weighted ensemble mean from multiple reanalysis datasets outperforms a single best reanalysis dataset. Machine learning approaches will be explored, as well, and compared against a baseline product. Trade-offs between accuracy and computational efficiency will be considered. Cloud and aerosol data will be assimilated the following years, either in parallel or in sequence. Possible sources of climatological cloud data include the U.S. Air Force’s World-Wide Merged Cloud Analysis (WWMCA), while possible climatological aerosol data may consist of the Coupled Large-scale Aerosol Simulator for Studies in Climate (CLASSIC) and/or the Flow-Following Finite-Volume Icosahedral Model Chemistry (FIM-Chem) product. As in the first half-year, assimilation performance will be evaluated according to how well climatological values of key variables are represented at various times of the day for each month of the year over the region of interest.

What will I be doing?

Under the guidance of a mentor, you will gain hands-on experience to complement your education and support your academic and professional goals. Along the way, you will engage in activities and research in several areas. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Analyzing structured/gridded data and developing analysis tools
  • Developing machine learning models, as well as using more traditional techniques, for the purpose of assimilating cloud and aerosol data
  • Researching unique Department of Defense scientific problem sets with unique data and resources
  • Interacting with graduate students and student interns on related research questions
  • Presenting work to the scientific community through peer-reviewed journal articles and conference talks/posters
  • Collaborating with, and presenting results to, external stakeholders through in-person and virtual meetings
  • Gaining leadership skills through projects at AFIT relating to optimizing climatological datasets as input for radiative transfer modeling

Where will I be located?  Dayton, Ohio

What is the anticipated start date?

Exact start dates will be determined at the time of selection and in coordination with the selected candidate. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and fellowships will be filled as qualified candidates are identified.

What is the appointment length? 

Appointments are initially full-time for one year with the option to extend the appointment for up to four additional years, contingent upon project needs and funding availability.

What are the benefits? 

You will receive a stipend to be determined by AFIT. Stipends are typically based on a participant’s academic standing, discipline, experience, and research facility location. Other benefits may include the following:

  • Health Insurance Supplement (Participants are eligible to purchase health insurance through ORISE) 
  • Relocation Allowance
  • Training and Travel Allowance

About AFIT

The Air Force Institute of Technology, or AFIT, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the Air Force’s graduate school of engineering and management as well as its institution for technical professional continuing education. A component of Air University and Air Education and Training Command, AFIT is committed to providing defense-focused graduate and professional continuing education and research to sustain the technological supremacy of America’s air, space and cyber forces.


This program, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and DoD. Participants do not enter into an employee/employer relationship with ORISE, ORAU, DoD or any other office or agency. Instead, you will be affiliated with ORISE for the administration of the appointment through the ORISE appointment letter and Terms of Appointment.  Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.  For more information, visit the ORISE Research Participation Program at the U.S. Department of Defense.


The qualified candidate will hold or be currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Atmospheric Sciences, Meteorology or related discipline to be received by June 1, 2024.  For postgraduates, the degree must have been received within the last 60 months (5 years). U.S. military veterans who have been honorably discharged (or who have been medically discharged because of a service-connected disability) and who received a doctoral degree within ten years of the desired start date are also eligible.

 Highly competitive applicants will have education and/or experience in one or more of the following:

  • Experience in meteorological data and its assimilation into numerical weather models
  • Atmospheric applications of machine learning
  • Radiative transfer
  • Python (and/or MATLAB) programming
  • Statistical analysis
  • Cloud and dust modeling. 

Application Requirements

A complete application consists of:

  • Zintellect Profile
  • Educational and Employment History
  • Essay Questions (goals, experiences, and skills relevant to the opportunity)
  • Resume (PDF)
  • Transcripts/Academic Records - Please upload a copy of a transcript for your current or most recent degree program that meets the disciplinary qualifications of the opportunity. Click here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • One recommendation. We encourage you to contact your recommender(s) as soon as you start your application to ensure they are able to complete the recommendation form and to let them know to expect a message from Zintellect. Recommenders will be asked to rate your scientific capabilities, personal characteristics, and describe how they know you. You can always log back in to your Zintellect account and check the status of your application.

If you have questions, send an email to Please list the reference code of this opportunity [AFIT-2024-0008] in the subject line of the email. Please understand that ORISE does not review applications or select applicants; selections are made by the sponsoring agency identified on this opportunity. All application materials should be submitted via the “Apply” button at the bottom of this opportunity listing.  Please do not send application materials to the email address above.

Connect with ORISE...on the GO! Download the new ORISE GO mobile app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to help you stay engaged, connected, and informed during your ORISE experience and beyond!

Eligibility Requirements

  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 6/1/2024 12:00:00 AM.
  • Academic Level(s): Graduate Students or Postdoctoral.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Earth and Geosciences ()
    • Physics ()
  • Veteran Status: Veterans Preference, degree received within the last 120 month(s).

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