CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Energy Data Curation

Statement of Interest

Energy is essential to our quality of life and to human development globally. Yet, meeting energy needs reliably while improving environmental quality remains one of the greatest challenges for this century. The Duke University Energy Initiative is a university-wide, interdisciplinary collaboration focused on advancing an accessible, affordable, reliable, and clean energy system. The Initiative reaches across business, engineering, environment, law, policy, and the arts and sciences to educate tomorrow’s energy innovators, develop new solutions through research, and improve energy decisions by engaging business and government leaders.

The Energy Initiative works with Duke’s college of arts and sciences and schools of business, engineering, environment, law and public policy to create an integrated set of energy courses degree programs, and co-curricular activity.  With over 130 faculty and researchers and 1,500 students exploring energy, it is critical for Duke University to support the data management, analysis, visualization, curation, and preservation needs in this rapidly growing field.

The Duke University Libraries has been supporting data & visualization services for the university for more than a decade. There continues to be excess demand for support, consultation, worships, and services based on a shift from a largely quantitative, discipline-based data support model to a more ecumenical, interdisciplinary approach, like the Duke University Energy Initiative.  Through the Brandeleone Lab for Data & Visualization Services, the Libraries offer an array of technology-based and in-person resources that are specifically geared to meet the researcher’s needs.

Our partnership between the Duke University Energy Initiative and the Duke University Libraries is ideal for a CLIR Energy Data Curation Fellowship because we can provide a postdoctoral fellow a rich, interdisciplinary research environment ready to support the fellow’s research interests. Duke University’s focus on interdisciplinary initiatives and institutes provide thematic pathways to support the fellow to engage with scholars across multiple disciplines. The Duke University Energy Initiative and University Libraries will benefit from the fellowship by learning in more depth what data curation needs we must consider to more fully support our faculty, researchers, and students. We will also learn what services we need to create and extend to appropriately utilize the energy data and we will find ways Duke University can expand its leadership in engagement with business, government, other institutions, and the public through data-intensive research and analysis. The fellow will generate interdisciplinary research as well as synthesizing the needs and best practices for energy research data curation.

The Duke University Energy Initiative, the Duke University Libraries, and the Vice Provost for Research have committed matching funding for this fellowship.

Position Description

The CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow will be jointly assigned to the Duke University Energy Initiative, which is the University’s interdisciplinary hub for energy research, education and engagement, and the Data & Visualization Services department of the Duke University Libraries. The fellow will work closely with energy economists, engineers and other faculty affiliated with the Energy Initiative’s Energy Data Analytics Lab and in the Libraries’ Brandeleone Lab for Data and Visualization Services on data analysis, visualization, management, and curation. As new energy datasets are rapidly emerging, the fellow will work to identify valuable energy data resources to build upon the Energy Initiative’s previously identified data resources (https://energy.duke.edu/research/energy-data/resources) and to establish best practices for energy scholars publishing new datasets. The fellow will work on projects that intersect with the research of the Information Initiative at Duke (Duke’s big data initiative) and the Social Science Research Institute as well as further deepening scholarly collaboration between the Libraries and the Energy Initiative. As part of his or her research, the fellow will design and conduct data analysis and modeling experiments using large energy datasets. The fellow will work on energy projects involving regression analysis, classification, and other forms of machine learning; designing and implementing optimization analyses; data visualization and narrative construction; and data sharing and management for broad dissemination of research findings.  The fellow will work with the PI’s to identify scholarly projects at the intersection of their skillsets, research interests, and the needs of both the EDAL and the Library.

As lead PI, Dr. Brian Murray, Director of the Duke University Energy Initiative, will oversee the Energy Initiative’s role in this fellowship. In this capacity, Brian will ensure that the fellow is fully integrated into the Energy Initiative’s interdisciplinary research, education and engagement mission.  An economist with expertise in energy economics and policy, Brian will also help connect the fellow with the deep and growing community of energy policy and science scholars at Duke, as well as other scholars in the sciences and humanities in related fields of economics, environmental science, engineering, law and business.

As co-PI on behalf of the University Libraries, Timothy McGeary, Associate University Librarian for Information Technology Services, will oversee the Libraries’ relationship in this fellowship, ensuring that the CLIR fellow has the opportunities to build relationships within the Libraries that are vital to his/her success, especially in areas of repositories and data preservation.  Tim will also coordinate relationships with the Vice Provost of Research and the Office of Research Support as necessary and appropriate.  Tim has worked closely with four CLIR Fellows through his tenure at Duke University and previously with Lehigh University.

Dr. Kyle Bradbury, Lecturing Fellow and Managing Director of Duke’s Energy Data Analytics Lab (EDAL) and Dr. Billy Pizer, Professor of Environmental Economics and Public Policy and Faculty Director of EDAL, will co-supervise the fellow and be primarily responsible for technical and scholarly guidance on energy research issues. The EDAL, which operates out of the Energy Initiative, develops and applies advanced data analytics tools to transform observational data and other information from energy systems into insight that improves their reliability, resiliency, environmental sustainability, productivity and affordability.

Joel Herndon, Head of Data & Visualization Services, will be a co-supervisor on behalf of the Duke University Libraries.  Joel is currently co-supervising a CLIR Fellow (2016-2018) in Data Sciences Curation in partnership with the Social Science Research Institute.  Joel also oversees the Brandeleone Lab for Data & Visualization Services, which will provide technology resources for the CLIR Fellow and his/her interactions with faculty and researchers.  Moreover, Joel will ensure that the CLIR Fellow has the access and opportunity to build professional relationships with Angela Zoss and Eric Monson, our Senior Data Visualization Analysts, and Jennifer Darraugh and Sophia Lafferty-Hess, our Senior Research Data Consultants.


  • Collaborate with Energy Initiative faculty on the development of data-centric energy systems analyses related to energy systems, infrastructure, and policy
  • Independently design and implement energy system analyses
  • Create data visualizations and other forms of interactive web-based research dissemination
  • Curate and summarize energy datasets for the benefit of the larger energy community
  • Develop workflows that improve data management, sharing, and publication for energy related datasets
  • Coordinate and participate in interdisciplinary energy data workshops and events
  • Liaise with faculty from across the Information Initiative at Duke, the Social Science Research Institute and relevant campus departments to understand energy data needs and foster new collaboration across these organizations


  • PhD within the past 5 years in a relevant field
  • Deep familiarity with scientific programming in computational environments such as Matlab, R, Python, or similar languages
  • Familiarity with the technical, market, and/or policy aspects of the energy system and energy/environmental policy
  • Management, organizational, and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to organize and help manage conferences and workshops and to engage with university faculty, external stakeholders and policymakers
  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Facility in assembling and analyzing large datasets as well as data conversion, manipulation and retrieval