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University of Colorado NSIDC/CIRES

Postdoctoral Fellow in Arctic Social Science Data Curation, National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)/CIRES

NOTE: This position has been filled.

  • NSIDC Title: Research Scientist I: Postdoctoral Fellow in Arctic Social Science Data Curation
  • CIRES Title: CIRES/NSIDC Research Scientist I
  • CU Title: Research Associate
  • Reports To NSIDC Lead Project Manager
  • Incumbent
  • Created Fall, 2012
  • Revised
  • FTE 100%

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, serves as a national information and referral center in support of snow and ice research. Our mission is to make fundamental contributions to cryospheric science and excel in managing data and disseminating information in order to advance understanding of the Earth system.


Position Overview

NSIDC is expanding its data management capabilities into new disciplines beyond the geosciences. In particular, two ongoing projects supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) are addressing a broad array of physical, life, and social science data of the Arctic. The Advanced Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (ACADIS— is a collaborative effort with the National Center for Atmospheric Research to provide data archiving and access for all projects funded by NSF's interdisciplinary Arctic Science Program including Arctic Social Sciences. The Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA—eloka‐ provides data management and user support services to facilitate the collection, preservation, exchange, and use of local observations and knowledge of the Arctic. To help address this expanding scope NSIDC has created a two‐year postdoctoral fellowship to expand its capabilities in managing Arctic social science data. As a member of the ACADIS and ELOKA teams, the Postdoctoral Research Scientist will be working with professional data scientists and curators at multiple organizations, and the broader Arctic research community to enhance and expand data management services that formally preserve Arctic data and make them available to diverse audiences in integrative ways. The Research Scientist will conduct active research on how social science is actually conducted, in order to develop requirements for effective management of social science data. A Science and Technologies (STS)‐based research approach is preferred. In keeping with the broader goals of the NSF Arctic Program, a special focus should be on social science research that seeks to integrate data across disciplines and understand systemic aspects of the Arctic. The Research Scientist reports to the NSIDC Lead Project Manager who is a co‐principal investigator on ACADIS and ELOKA and is responsible for coordinating data management across all of NSIDC.



The Research Scientist will play a strong role in defining social science data archival and usage requirements for ACADIS and related NSIDC systems. The Research Scientist is expected to develop and sustain Arctic social science data management at NSIDC through the future. Tasks include:

  • Define and implement a research agenda to understand how Arctic social science researchers collect, assess, manage, access, share, and prepare their data, especially in a multidisciplinary setting;
  • Based on ongoing research, define data system and process requirements to accommodate social science data and users;
  • Develop NSIDC’s capacity to effectively manage, preserve, and ethically share social science data;
  • Work with NSIDC's staff to develop and implement data systems and interfaces for social science data;
  • Develop/refine data archival processes and management for social science data;
  • Develop knowledge representation methods in support of social science data;
  • Travel to Arctic research locations and national and international meetings to understand Arctic social science research approaches;
  • Publish research results in peer‐reviewed literature;
  • Secure ongoing funding to sustain social science data management and related research initiatives at NSIDC;
  • Other activities, as required for the completion of the project.


In addition to work on ACADIS and ELOKA, the successful applicant will have opportunities to engage with other diverse projects at NSIDC. They will be supported and have opportunities to strengthen their skills in proposal writing, publishing, managing students and staff, and will have access to periodic teaching and speaking experiences at the University of Colorado. The Research Scientist may be required to perform fieldwork in remote locations and/or work flexible hours in support of field activities. The Research Scientist will have regular attendance; the ability to work under stress and multiple projects; the ability to work well with others and accept direction, supervision and performance feedback; and to perform all related tasks as required.



  • A completed Ph.D. in social science, data curation, or informatics by the time the position begins;
  • Knowledge of and experience in data management and stewardship, including digital preservation issues, concepts, and practices;
  • Experience with large‐scale storage systems, databases, and digital libraries;
  • Knowledge and skills with methods of data representation and interoperability;
  • Familiarity with common social science data formats and visualization and analysis tools;
  • Project management and leadership skills;
  • Familiarity with Science and Technology Studies theory and methods;
  • Experience in collaborative projects and/or interdisciplinary activities;
  • Ability to travel to conferences and to visit and collaborate with Arctic researchers and communities;
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills;
  • Problem solving ability;
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously.


Desirable Skills

  • An understanding of the Arctic (cultures, languages, geography, politics, etc.);
  • Experience with Science and Technology Studies based research;
  • Technical skills in computer programming or web design;
  • Experience working in the Arctic or with Arctic researchers;
  • Experience and training in a multidisciplinary setting.


The position will be filled as a Professional Research Assistant at the University of Colorado at Boulder and will be eligible for employee benefits, including 22 days of vacation per year and an excellent savings plan. The University of Colorado at Boulder is committed to diversity and equality in education and employment. The University of Colorado at Boulder is committed to providing a safe and productive learning and living community. To achieve that goal, we conduct background investigations for all final applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include reference checks, a criminal history record check, and when appropriate, a financial and/or motor vehicle history.

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