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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Post Doc Research Associate - Resilient Water Systems Scientist in Richland, Washington


PNNL's Earth System Science Division enables energy independence and national security through leadership in earth systems science, engineering, and decision analytics. Our work focuses on solving complex problems in the dynamic Earth system. Our interdisciplinary scientists steward a breadth of efforts that encompass research on plants to groundwater science and coastal zones, to storm prediction.

Our research focuses on understanding and mitigating operational risks at the interface of human and natural environments. This includes predicting the impacts of natural hazards and extreme climate events on Earth and human systems, along with the impacts of wildfire, flooding, sea level rise and storm surges. We focus on understanding and mitigating environmental contamination and increasing the resiliency, security and sustainability of water resources. We provide geointelligence through advanced sensing and data analytics to forecast complex system behaviors and operational performance to understand human-natural systems. This includes informed decision making and enhanced community resilience, advanced monitoring, and remote sensing of environmental systems for energy and national security. It also includes developing energy systems, including geothermal energy, sustainable oil and gas production, storage and utilization, along with carbon sequestration.

Driven by a “science-to-solutions” philosophy, we provide scientific leadership and technology to enhance national security, mitigate natural hazards and optimize disaster response. In the critical areas of energy, environment, intelligence, and defense, we deliver insights and decision support through the development of tools and solutions.


The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is seeking individuals to both strengthen and develop new capabilities in water resources management, climate resiliency, energy-water nexus, infrastructure risk assessment, and human-Earth system interactions and predictability. Successful candidates will join a group with extensive and multi-disciplinary expertise in developing methodologies, implementing models, and model data that represent observed and forecasted conditions in climate, extreme events, water resource supply and demand, critical infrastructure systems, human systems behavior, and carbon flux analysis. These capabilities will be applied to advance the research in decision analysis and operations at local, regional, national, and global scales for diverse applications and sponsors.

Studies of the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, and/or interactions of these systems with human activities and critical infrastructures are key for climate resiliency research and applications. The candidate will use scientific principles, instrument measurements and/or other observations, computer models, data/statistical analysis, and knowledge of policy and regulatory drivers, as well as emerging needs in climate resiliency to help research and/or develop solutions for a variety of end users. Leveraging knowledge and tools from fields such as geography, ecology, biology, physics, chemistry, geochemistry, soil science, geology, hydrology, atmospheric science, economics, and/or integrated assessment is valued.

The successful candidate will be responsible for contributing to tasks evaluating water resources risk and resiliency related to United States security, including critical infrastructure sectors, military installations, populated areas, natural areas, and other areas of concern. A primary aim will be identifying options and strategies for effective decision-making of water distribution systems investment for water reuse and asset management. Towards this end, the candidate will be responsible for developing novel data analysis and modeling approaches that can be brought to bear for a range of U.S. sponsors working in the infrastructure and water security arena. The candidate is expected to support and contribute to projects, bring forth innovative ideas and analysis, work with senior staff and project managers to further develop research, contribute to and lead peer-reviewed research publications, reports, and presentations, and work in a team environment of high-performance multi-disciplinary experts.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Candidates must have received a PhD within the past five years (60 months) or within the next 8 months from an accredited college or university.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Strong interpersonal communication skills;

  • Strong team player, and ability to solve problems and work independently;

  • Demonstrated experience with big data handling, time-series analysis, and advanced statistical and machine learning methods, such as Markov Chain Analysis;

  • Demonstrated experience in water resources, geographic analysis, climate sciences, and/or human systems dynamics;

  • Demonstrated experience analyzing large observational and model datasets;

  • Demonstrated scholarly output in the form of peer-reviewed journals, technical reports, and/or presentations;

  • Experience with software packages for hydraulic and/or hydrologic modeling is preferred;

  • Proficiency in Python, R, Julia, C++, and/or Matlab

  • Preferred Education/Credentials:PhD in Civil Engineering, Hydrology, Geography, Environmental Science, or related field.

Hazardous Working Conditions/Environment

Not Applicable.

Additional Information

Not Applicable.

About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a world-class research institution powered by a highly educated, diverse workforce committed to the values of Integrity, Creativity, Collaboration, Impact, and Courage. Every year, scores of dynamic, driven people come to PNNL to work with renowned researchers on meaningful science, innovations and outcomes for the U.S. Department of Energy and other sponsors; here is your chance to be one of them!

At PNNL, you will find an exciting research environment and excellent benefits including health insurance, flexible work schedules and telework options. PNNL is located in eastern Washington State—the dry side of Washington known for its stellar outdoor recreation and affordable cost of living. The Lab’s campus is only a 45-minute flight (or 3 hour drive) from Seattle or Portland, and is serviced by the convenient PSC airport, connected to 8 major hubs.

Commitment to Excellence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Equal Employment Opportunity

Our laboratory is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment dedicated to solving critical challenges in fundamental sciences, national security, and energy resiliency. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. In support of this commitment, we encourage people of all racial/ethnic identities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities to apply for employment.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), protected veteran status, and any other status or characteristic protected by federal, state, and/or local laws.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application procedures and in employment. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, contact us at careers@pnnl.gov .

Drug Free Workplace

PNNL is committed to a drug-free workplace supported by Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs.

If you are offered employment at PNNL, you must pass a drug test prior to commencing employment. PNNL complies with federal law regarding illegal drug use. Under federal law, marijuana remains an illegal drug. If you test positive for any illegal controlled substance, including marijuana, your offer of employment will be withdrawn.

HSPD-12 PIV Credential Requirement

In accordance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) and Department of Energy (DOE) Order 473.1A, new employees are required to obtain and maintain a HSPD-12 Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Credential. To obtain this credential, new employees must successfully complete and pass a Federal Tier 1 background check investigation. This investigation includes a declaration of illegal drug activities, including use, supply, possession, or manufacture within the last year. This includes marijuana and cannabis derivatives, which are still considered illegal under federal law, regardless of state laws.

Mandatory Requirements

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from having any affiliation with the foreign government of a country DOE has identified as a “country of risk” without explicit approval by DOE and Battelle. If you are offered a position at PNNL and currently have any affiliation with the government of one of these countries, you will be required to disclose this information and recuse yourself of that affiliation or receive approval from DOE and Battelle prior to your first day of employment.

Rockstar Rewards

Employees and their families are offered medical insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, health savings account, flexible spending accounts, basic life insurance, disability insurance, employee assistance program, business travel insurance, tuition assistance, supplemental parental bonding leave, surrogacy and adoption assistance, and fertility support. Employees are automatically enrolled in our company funded pension plan and may enroll in our 401k savings plan. Employees may accrue up to 120 vacation hours per year and may receive ten paid holidays per year.

  • Research Associates excluded.

**Once eligibility requirements are met.

Click Here For Rockstar Rewards (https://careers.pnnl.gov/rockstar-rewards)