Post doc opportunity: urban methane dynamics

Of possible interest:

Dear Colleagues-

Please forward this to lists within your institution and to individuals who may be interested:

We seek an outstanding individual to contribute to a collaboration between Google, the Environmental Defense Fund and Colorado State University that is having direct impact on the amount of methane being emitted from cities. In this project, we use methane sensors mounted on Google Street View (GSV) cars to find natural gas leaks in cities and quantify the leakage rate. The acquisition, analysis and communication of this data bring project members into regular interactions with utilities, public utility commissions, NGO’s and scientists from diverse fields. A web page describing the project can be found here:

The position asks for some core responsibilities managing day-to-day data quality from the incoming GSV cars (<25%), but the majority of work will be related to publication-oriented efforts including analysis of existing data, conducting new experiments related to the project and science communication.

The research opportunities are exceptionally broad and collaborative. The core responsibility includes data analysis of natural gas leakage and other spatial patterns in an ArcGIS framework. This analysis will happen in collaboration with our colleagues in computer science who are developing and testing a new automated system for analyzing the very large datasets associated with this project. The post doc will lead publication of this data analysis, which could range in emphasis from environmental justice to pipeline infrastructure management to development of new public policy for greenhouse gas management.

There are two additional research opportunities within this project. The first is in collaboration with colleagues in atmospheric physics who seek to use principles on the formation of gas plumes at fine spatial scales to develop better algorithms for predicting leak magnitude. The second includes the collaborative use of sampling statistics to estimate the true population size of natural gas leaks in cities.

The ideal candidate will have strong quantitative skills, proven time and project-management skills, ability to work in a team environment, and excellent communication abilities in English. We expect that strong applicants may have training in Environmental Sciences, Physical Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, Gas Systems Engineering, Geoscience/Earth System Sciences, Biological Sciences, Statistics, or the like.

The position is for 1 year with potential for renewal with satisfactory performance.

Required Qualifications: Ph.D. or equivalent by the time of job start in Environmental Sciences, Physical Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, Gas Systems Engineering, Geoscience/Earth System Sciences, Biological Sciences, Statistics, or other appropriate field.

Preferred Qualifications: -Documented ability to bring projects to completion, especially as publications

-Excellent quantitative skills

-Evidence of intellectual leadership

-Familiarity with diverse data analysis frameworks, especially ArcGIS, and Java but other modern programming languages/software (e.g., Python, SQL family, R, Matlab) are viewed favorably

-Experience working collaboratively in a group setting

-Excellent communication skills in English, both written and oral

-Experience working with industry, non-governmental organizations and/or government agencies

-Experience with one or more of the following: natural gas systems, atmospheric dynamics/micrometerology, advanced statistics, methods of spatial data analysis

-Indicated capacity and interest for developing new research directions

-Valid US drivers license or ability to obtain one within 30 days of an offer.

To apply, please visit:

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.



Joe von Fischer
Associate Professor & Assistant Chair
Department of Biology
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
+1 (970) 491-2679
@profvonfischer Twitter

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Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.