Assistant Project Scientist in Watershed science, climate science, data science, artificial intelligence and/or hydro-economics (Multiple Hires)

University of California-Merced

Merced, CA, USA 🇺🇸


Position title: Assistant Project Scientist in Watershed science, climate science, data science, artificial intelligence and/or hydro-economics (Multiple Hires)

Salary range: Salary is based on the University of California Academic Salary Scales.

Percent time: 100%

Anticipated start: As soon as September 2022. Exact start date negotiable

Position duration: 1-3 year contract


Open date: August 16, 2022

Next review date: Thursday, Dec 22, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Saturday, Dec 31, 2022 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.


We are looking to hire one or more full-time assistant project scientists in the fields of watershed science, climate science, data science, artificial intelligence and/or hydro-economics. The broad focus of the positions will be in the analysis of water resources management, agriculture, technology, and climate change in the western US with a specific effort on California, but also collaborative studies with researchers at Washington State University, Oregon State University, Utah State University, and New Mexico State University. These positions are part of multiple funded research projects, including a recently commissioned California Drought Impacts study, the UC Alianza California-Mexico water management study, the USDA NIFA SAS Securing a Climate Resilient Water Future for Agriculture and Ecosystems through Innovation in Measurement, Management, and Markets (, and the USDA NIFA AI Institute for Transforming Workforce and Decision Support ( As such, the successful candidates will work with a diverse team of leading scientists at UC Merced, and their collaborators in California (UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Agriculture & Natural Resources, Public Policy Institute of California, and Environmental Defense Fund), Utah State University, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, and Washington State University, as well as the regional USDA Climate Hubs. Together, the project scientist(s) from this recruitment will advance the use of artificial intelligence to support actionable decisions to inform and support a climate resilient water future for agriculture and ecosystems through prediction, optimization and data-enabled decision support. The project scientist(s) will lead development of analytical methods and decision support platform development in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of researchers, as well as support general team science activities. The project scientist(s) will participate in collaborative science with project partners, play an important role in collaborating with faculty and post-doctoral scholars, mentor undergraduate and graduate students, and undertake related professional activities. Moderate supervisory activities are required, as the project scientist(s) will coordinate Student Assistants and junior staff as needed. Limited travel will be required to visit collaborating organizations and to team meetings. Best practices in data and code management, as well as in team science, are expected. Familiarity and expertise in open-source approaches, application programming interfaces, code repositories, and reproducible documentation is also expected.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy: All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees should refer to Appendix F, Section II.C. of the policy for applicable deadlines. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.


Basic qualifications

Successful candidates must possess a Ph.D. plus post-doctoral experience in engineering, hydrology, climatology, computer science or a related field with a focus on geospatial data analytics, remote sensing, machine learning/artificial intelligence (AI), agent-based modeling, systems analysis, and/or hydro-economic modeling. Successful candidates will have demonstrated strong collaborative skills and a proven publication record of refereed research papers in top journals. Technical skills include advanced proficiency in programming for applied statistics, modeling, and data science (e.g., Python, Matlab, GAMS, R), as well as familiarity with Git-type version control, APIs, and UI/UX design. Experience in spatial analysis using ArcGIS, QGIS, Pix4D, and/or ENVI is expected.

Preferred qualifications

Ability to create publication ready data visualizations is necessary, as is the ability to write proficiently for scholarly outlets. Ideal candidates will have demonstrated experience leading the development of analytical approaches for machine learning or optimization in modeling, and experience working with large and diverse datasets, especially water and climate spatial, and time series data stacks. Experience with GCMs and remote sensing in agricultural production and/or water use analysis is a significant advantage, as is technical experience with Google Earth Engine and/or specialized applications such as SWAT, HEC-HMS, or HEC-RAS.


Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae – Your most recently updated C.V.

Reference requirements

  • 3 required (contact information only)

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The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and invites applications from all qualified applicants, including women, minorities, veterans, and individual with disabilities, who will enrich the teaching, research and public service missions of the university. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy (

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system’s 10 campuses. With over 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students (, UC Merced provides outstanding educational opportunities to highly qualified students from the heart of California, the nation, and abroad. The campus has special connections to nearby Yosemite National Park; is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design; and supports the economic development of Central California. The Merced 2020 Project doubled the physical capacity of the campus, and enhanced academic distinction, student success, and research excellence (

UC Merced is a smoke & tobacco free campus (


Merced, CA





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