Postdoctoral Scholar in Microsoft AI for Earth

University of California Santa Barbara

United States

NCEAS Postdoctoral Scholar: Microsoft AI for Earth

Job #JPF01857
  • Office of Research - National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Recruitment Period

Open date: October 12th, 2020

Next review date: Monday, Nov 2, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Thursday, Dec 31, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and Microsoft AI for Earth are partnering to fill a postdoctoral position to inform the science of sustained, automated, and technology-driven ecosystem assessment, based at NCEAS in Santa Barbara, California.

This new initiative is a partnership between the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and Microsoft AI for Earth. Our vision is to advance and accelerate the science and process of rigorous ecosystems assessments, leveraging the technological expertise and reach of Microsoft and NCEAS’ strength in supporting innovative and robust synthesis science. Ecosystem assessments are becoming increasingly common as national and international efforts seek to track ecosystem change and prioritize actions towards meeting management and conservation targets. Yet, they can be data-hungry, computationally-demanding, and time-intensive to complete. This initiative will support multidisciplinary synthesis working groups and research aimed at tackling key questions around how to operationalize and automate rapid ecosystem assessments.
This postdoctoral researcher will be based at NCEAS in Santa Barbara, California under the mentorship of Dr. Ben Halpern and will participate in the research of one or more funded working groups currently being solicited (to be awarded by Dec 2020), depending on experience and interest, as well as conduct independent research related to ecosystem assessment.This position will give the postdoc significant opportunities to maximize the impact of their research, and to work at the interface of cloud-based AI and ecological synthesis science.

Research related to the Ecosystem Assessment working groups (50% time)
This postdoctoral researcher will participate in the work of one or more ecosystem assessment working groups, as appropriate based on experience and interest.
Independent research (50% of time)
This postdoctoral researcher will be afforded significant time to pursue his or her own research interests, publish independent research in peer review journals, and attend scientific conferences.

NCEAS is located in scenic downtown Santa Barbara, California. The Center is known for fostering interaction and collaboration, a characteristic that leads to the success of its visiting scientists. NCEAS has a growing and thriving community of postdocs, resident scientists, and analysts, and a frequent influx of leading scientists and practitioners from around the world participating in working group projects across a diverse range of initiatives. We expect that postdocs will contribute their knowledge, interests, and enthusiasm to the intellectual atmosphere. The postdoc should anticipate spending the vast majority of their time in residence at the Center and will have the opportunity to travel to relevant national and international events and conferences.



At the time of application, applicants must have completed all requirements for a PhD except the dissertation in environmental science, ecology, or a relevant discipline
Ph.D. in environmental science, ecology, or a relevant discipline at time of hire.
Strong analytical skills, including data science, database management and data visualization
Strong publication record
Experience working with large geospatial and conservation datasets
Working knowledge of cloud-based computing tools
Ability to review and synthesize large amounts of literature and complex information
Strong communication and interpersonal skills
Strong organizational skills
Ability to take initiative and work both independently and as part of a globally distributed research network
Experience with Land Cover Mapping, machine learning and deep learning models
Experience working with AI for Earth tools, models, infrastructure, data, and APIs
Experience working with groups outside of academia (industry, NGOs, etc.)


This initiative is funded by Microsoft AI for Earth. Postdoctoral researchers will be based at NCEAS in Santa Barbara, California.



Please apply through UC Recruit:



11/02/2020 (for primary consideration)
Position will remain open until filled.


Please submit the following required documents via UC Recruit:

Cover Letter
Contact information for three references
Statement of Research-A short (3 page) proposal of research you would want to conduct as part of your independent project. We expect projects to primarily be synthesis and/or analysis research; the proposal should include a short section setting the context and motivating the work, a main section explaining the research questions, methods, and data that will be used, and a short final section that addresses expected applied implications of the work.

This position will be in support of synthesis working groups to be funded in NCEAS 2020 CALL FOR SYNTHESIS WORKING GROUP PROPOSALS -


Santa Barbara, CA

The Department is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through research, teaching and service.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter
  • Statement of Research
Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)

In your application, please refer to


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