U.S. nationals: Research Hydrologist

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Urbana, IL, USA 🇺🇸


What General Information Do I Need To Know About This Position?

This is a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship appointment not to exceed 13 months with possible extensions up to a total of 4 years without further competition. Appointment to this position will not convey permanent status in the Federal service.

Salary: $82,830 (Step 01) to $107,680 (Step 10);

NOTE: First time hires to the Federal Government are typically hired at the Step 01.

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This job is open to

Clarification from the agency

Open to all qualified candidates who meet the eligibility requirements of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. Because this fellowship is a U.S. Government position, preference must be given to U.S. citizens. Citizens of other nations may be considered under certain circumstances, i.e., when there are no qualified U.S. citizen applicants available. In those instances, the USGS may consider making an offer to a non-citizen provided applicable laws and regulations are followed.


As a Research Hydrologist within the Central Midwest Water Science Center, some of your specific duties will include:

  • Serves as principle researcher in joint project with U. of Illinois and USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to develop a new generation of watershed models to predict stream water quality and harmful algae blooms.
  • Performs comprehensive review and evaluation of available watershed models for prediction of stream water quality and HABs suited to this application.
  • Coordinates with other team members on data requirements and data gaps for predictive modeling of stream water quality and HABs.
  • Leads modeling team on the application of machine learning to stream water quality and HABs modeling in the Illinois River Basin.
  • Leads modeling team in the communication of project results through meetings, conference presentations, and scientific publications.
  • Operates a government owned or leased vehicle as an incidental driver.


Conditions of Employment

Key Requirements:

  1. Suitable for Federal employment, as determined by background investigation.
  2. Selectee may be subject to serving a trial period.
  3. Selectee must provide proof of valid driver’s license, safe driving record.
  4. More requirements are listed under Qualifications and Other Information.

Are There Any Special Requirements For This Position?

  • If selected you may be asked to provide information regarding your COVID-19 vaccination status for the purposes of implementing workplace safety protocols, such as those related to masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.
  • You will be required to operate a government-owned or leased vehicle in the performance of your official duties. Applicants for this position must meet the following requirements: (1) possess a valid State license, and (2) possess a safe driving record. If selected, you may be required to provide proof of a valid State license and a copy of your driving record.
  • Because this position requires travel for official business, the selectee will be required to apply for a charge card within 30 calendar days of appointment. Individuals who have delinquent account balances from a previous Government charge card will be required to satisfy their existing obligation before a new card can be issued.
  • A background investigation will be required for this position. Continued employment will be subject to the applicant’s successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
  • Throughout the recruitment and hiring process we will be communicating with you via email; therefore, it is imperative that the email address you provide when applying for this vacancy remains active. Should your email address change, please notify the point of contact identified in the vacancy announcement as soon as possible so that we can update our system.


The USGS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program provides highly motivated recent Ph.D. graduates with the opportunity to conduct concentrated research in association with selected USGS Scientists, as a final element to their formal career preparation. Selectees will utilize the excellent scientific resources available at the USGS in the conduct of scientific investigations and exploratory development associated with advanced scientific research. This program will provide selectees the opportunity to contribute to the overall research efforts of the USGS and in turn they will gain excellent professional research experience early in their careers.

Appointments under the USGS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program will be made under the Schedule A, 213.3102 (r) excepted appointing authority for a minimum period of 13 months and may be extended up to a maximum period of 4 years.

In order to be considered for these opportunities, candidates must:

(1) have successfully completed a Ph.D. in a field related to the Research Description no earlier than February 1st, 2018 (5 years before the announcement opening date); OR
(2) if close to completion, have all Ph.D. requirements completed and must submit proof of completion prior to receiving an official start date;
(3) meet the qualification requirements described in the Research Opportunity. The research proposal submitted must demonstrate that the applicant is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties for the specific Research Opportunity..


Applicants must meet A or B below to satisfy the basic education requirement for Hydrologist, all grade levels.

A. Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor’s or higher degree in physical or natural science, or engineering that included at least 30 semester hours or the equivalent in any combination of courses in hydrology, the physical sciences, geophysics, chemistry, engineering science, soils, mathematics, aquatic biology, atmospheric science, meteorology, geology, oceanography, or the management or conservation of water resources. The course work must have included at least 6 semester hours or the equivalent in calculus (including both differential and integral calculus), and at least 6 semester hours or the equivalent in physics.


B. A combination of education and experience-course work as shown in “A” above (30 semester hours or the equivalent in any combination of courses as specified in “A” above which must include at least 6 semester hours or the equivalent in calculus (including both differential and integral calculus), and at least 6 semester hours or the equivalent in physics), plus appropriate experience and/or additional education for a total of 4 years. The education or combined education and experience must be comparable in type, scope and thoroughness to that acquired through successful completion of a 4-year course of study as described in “A” above. (CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO COMBINE EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE)

For GS-12:

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must have one year of appropriate professional experience in hydrology that is equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal service.

Examples of such experience include the ability to independently perform scientific work of considerable difficulty. The position assumes an advanced understanding of the principles of hydrology and their application, an advanced understanding of stream water quality processes, and experience with watershed modeling and machine learning. This work will develop the foundations for an applied system to support decision makers from farm (meter) to watershed (many hectare) scale management for relevant timeframes. Applicants for this position should have experience in process-based and machine learning modeling and knowledge of high-performance computing. In addition, exposure to hybrid process-guided machine learning approaches, which can bridge physically based and data-driven methods, is desirable but not required.You must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements for the position by the closing date of the announcement.


Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for civil service jobs. A Federal agency is permitted to hire non-citizens only in very limited circumstances where there are no qualified citizens available for the position, AND the non-citizen meets the appropriation act and immigration laws. Read the information provided in the following link. If a non-citizen does not meet the appropriation act and immigration laws, then they cannot be considered for this Mendenhall Opportunity. Please contact the person under Agency Contact Information for questions about eligibility and further assistance. https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/non-citizens/.


  • Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g. Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
  • Education completed in colleges or universities outside the United States may be used to meet the above requirements. You must provide acceptable documentation that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. For more information on how foreign education is evaluated, visit: https://www.usgs.gov/about/organization/science-support/human-capital/how-foreign-education-evaluated-federal-jobs .

Additional information

Other Information:

  • Applicants who include vulgar, offensive, or inappropriate language or information in their application package will be ineligible for further consideration for this position.
  • Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for civil service jobs. Agencies are permitted to hire non-citizens only in very limited circumstances where there are no qualified citizens available for the position.
  • USGS employees are subject to Title 43, USC Section 31(a) and may not: (a) have any personal, private, direct or indirect interest in lands or mineral wealth of lands under survey; (b) have any substantial personal, private, direct or indirect interests in any private mining or mineral enterprise doing business with the United States; or (c) execute surveys or examinations for private parties or corporations.
  • The application contains information subject to the Privacy Act (P.L. 93-579, 5 USC 552a). The information is used to determine qualifications for employment, and is authorized under Title 5, USC, Section 3302 and 3361.
  • DOI uses E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit www.dhs.gov/E-Verify.
  • The Department of the Interior (DOI) places a high value on diversity of experience and cultural perspectives and encourages applications from all interested eligible candidates. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are fundamental principles that guide the Department and allow us to successfully achieve our mission.

Agency Benefits:


A career with the U.S. government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.

Review our benefits

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

–Basis of Rating: If you meet the basic qualification and eligibility requirements of this position, you will be contacted via email after the vacancy announcement closes and given 10 calendar days to submit narrative responses that address the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to perform the duties of this position. You may be rated and ranked based on the information you provide in your resume as well as the responses you submit to the required KSAs.

The knowledge, skills, and abilities required for this position are as follows:

1. Experience in process-based and machine learning modeling with specialization in the field of hydrology, water quality processes, and watershed modeling.

2. Exposure to hybrid process-guided machine learning approaches to bridge physically based and data-driven methods in the modeling of stream water quality, harmful algae blooms, and watershed modeling.

3. Ability to formulate, manage, and conduct research projects related to watershed modeling and prediction of stream water quality and harmful algal blooms (HABs).

4. Ability to effectively communicate results of research to colleagues and technical audiences through oral presentations, informal memos, and formal written reports suitable for publication.

5. Ability to effectively mentor junior researchers and support staff.

–NOTE: If it is determined that you have rated yourself higher than is supported in your description of experience and/or education as described in your resume/application, or that your resume or application is incomplete, you may be rated ineligible, not qualified, or your score may be lowered.

The Human Resources Office will provide the hiring official with application material for review and consideration. The Research Advisor and/or hiring official will review the application material and contact candidates for interviews as needed. A subject matter expert panel will be convened. If an applicant is chosen for an opportunity and meets the qualification requirements, the Human Resources Office will contact the applicant and make a firm job offer. For Research Opportunities with multiple duty stations, the selection of the official duty station will be made by the USGS.

To preview the announcement questionnaire, click here https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/11821506

Required Documents

Required documents may be: (1) uploaded directly from your desktop; or (2) uploaded directly from your USAJOBS stored attachments.

To apply for this position, you must submit a complete Application Package which includes:

1. Resume
2. Other supporting documents if applicable:

–This position requires specific educational course work to qualify. You are required to provide all unofficial transcripts (undergraduate, graduate, etc.) or list of course work, which includes semester hours earned and grade received, by the closing date of this announcement or you will be disqualified from further consideration. This proof may be faxed, document uploaded, or hand delivered to the servicing Human Resources Office (see “Required Documents” and/or “Contact Information”). Please ensure that all documentation is legible.

–You are required to submit a description of the proposed research to be conducted. The research proposal should at a minimum, contain: research objectives, links to USGS science strategy, how and where the research is to be conducted, name of Research Advisor(s), required scientific facilities, and anticipated operating expenses (for field work, access to specialized equipment, conference travel, etc.). You are strongly encouraged to consult USGS Research Advisors during the development of the above proposal. Applications are due in the servicing Human Resources Office by the closing date of this announcement. Research proposals may be submitted via email to the address listed under the contact information below.

–If you are claiming veterans’ preference you must provide a legible copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, member 4 copy or any official documentation or statement from the Armed Forces that confirms your dates of service and that your separation, discharge, or release from active duty was under honorable conditions (i.e., Honorable or General Discharge). Note: If you have more than one DD-214 for multiple periods of active duty, submit a copy for each period of service.

–If you are currently on active military duty, you must provide documentation (e.g., campaign document, award citation, etc.), that verifies entitlement to veterans’ preference and that your character of military service is honorable.

–If you are claiming 10-point veterans’ preference, in addition to the documents specified above, you must also submit documentation that supports your claim, e.g., an official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs (dated 1991 or later) or from a branch of the Armed Forces certifying the existence of a service-connected disability, or the award of the Purple Heart, etc. The overall rating must be identified on your certification letter or separation orders.

–Documentation must be received by the closing date shown in this vacancy announcement. If you fail to submit any of the required documentation, you will not be granted veterans’ preference. Additional information on veterans’ preference can be found in the VetGuide.

–If you are claiming CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, the Servicing Human Resources Office must receive proof by the closing date of this announcement that you meet the requirements of 5 CFR 330 Subpart F for CTAP and 5 CFR 330 Subpart G for ICTAP or you will not receive priority consideration. This includes a copy of the agency notice, your most recent Performance Rating, and your most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location. Required documents may be faxed, uploaded, or hand delivered to the servicing Human Resources Office (see “Contact Information”). If you are a CTAP or ICTAP eligible, you will be considered well qualified if you earn a minimum score of 85 (prior to the assignment of veteran’s preference points). For more information on CTAP/ICTAP please click here.

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

How to Apply

–Applications (resume and application questions) for this vacancy must be received on-line via USAJOBS BEFORE midnight Eastern Time (Washington, D.C. time) on the closing date of this announcement. If you fail to submit a complete online resume, you will not be considered for this position. Requests for extensions will not be granted. Most libraries, employment offices, and all USGS personnel offices can provide access to the Internet. If applying online poses a hardship for you, you must speak to someone in the Servicing Human Resources Office listed on this announcement PRIOR TO THE CLOSING DATE for assistance.

–Instructions for Applying Online for this Vacancy Announcement: 1) Click the blue “Apply Online” button. 2) If you are not a registered USAJOBS user, please create a new account and follow the instructions to complete your application process. If you are a registered user, login to access your existing USAJOBS profile. 3) As a registered user, select a stored resume and select one or more of your stored documents to attach to your application. 4) Check the “Certification” box and click the “Apply for this position now!” button located at the bottom of the screen. 5) Address the eligibility questions as well as the questionnaire containing questions and/or task statements that address the knowledge, skills, abilities and/or competencies for this vacancy. 6) Submit required documents. 7) If you experience technical difficulties during the online application process, please contact the USAJOBS helpdesk.

Agency contact information

 Aleecia Garcia

Phone: 303-236-9573

Email: aleeciagarcia@usgs.gov


12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Mail Stop 600
Reston, VA 20192

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Next steps

–If you meet the basic qualification and eligibility requirements of this position, you will be contacted via email after the vacancy announcement closes and given a period of time to submit narrative responses that address the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required to perform the duties of the position. Then, if you are rated as one of the most highly qualified candidates, you will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interview. We expect to make a selection within 45-60 days of the closing date of this announcement. You will be notified via email of the outcome. You can also go to “My Account” within USAJOBS to review your Application Status.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is set up to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.




IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development