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Associate Research Scientist

Columbia University
New York City, New York
$78,155 - $82,000
Closing date
Jul 27, 2024

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Global Environmental Change, Hydrology, Interdisciplinary/Other, Mineral and Rock Physics, Natural Hazards
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The Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University in the City of New York, invites applications for an Associate Research Scientist (ARS) in an interdisciplinary field of urban geography, natural disaster, and data science, aiming at the modeling and analysis of urban systems using big data created by human activity in the context of disaster risk management.

This ARS will work towards the design of a dynamic disaster response system accounting for complex disaster risks and multiple scenario models by harnessing large-scale data for New York City and Tokyo. The dynamic system will consider event time of day, workdays vs. weekends, seasons, or urban locations (e.g., indoor, outdoor, underground) and street views and the diverse needs of the affected social groups. It will integrate both scenario-based and data-driven planning while incorporating sensor data and stakeholder engagement. A mixed-methods approach will synthesize data from various sources, such as from smartphones and in-depth interviews, using machine learning, and transfer learning to make the system applicable cities with different scenarios.


-Perform applied research on quantifying, modeling, and predicting human behavior within the urban environment, including mobility, social interactions, environmental hazards, etc. in collaboration with the multidisciplinary team, external research, and industrial partners.

-Analyze big datasets created by human mobility and activity.

-Actively contribute to the design and initiation of new research projects and ideas in the field of urban systems and disaster risk management.

-Present research results at top conferences.

-Co-author articles for publication in leading peer-reviewed journals and top conferences.

-Collaborate with members of the Columbia Water Center as well as with graduate students, postdocs, and other staff.


The successful candidates must hold a Ph.D. in Geography, Data Science, Environmental Science, computational social science, or a directly related discipline. Candidates would have technical knowledge of human mobility as well as modeling and data analytic capabilities to analyze big data on human mobility. Candidates with modeling and data analytic backgrounds are also given particular attention. The ability to work with multidisciplinary and multicultural teams (urban planners, computer scientists, social scientists, and environmental engineers from Asian countries) and familiarity with existing data and urban infrastructure in the US settings is a plus.

·         Experience in handling large datasets with strong statistical analysis and modeling backgrounds is required.

·         Candidates must present a strong publication record.

·         Practical skills in R, Python, or Matlab are expected. Other relevant technologies are a plus.

·         Experience in human mobility.

·Experience in Machine learning or statistics.


Columbia University in the City of New York, or simply Columbia University, is an American private Ivy League research university located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan in New York City. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the State of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution.
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