Local recruitment: Postdoctoral Research Opportunity to Study the General Interactions Between the Hydrosphere and Solid Earth

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Pasadena, CA, USA 🇺🇸

Job Details

New ideas are all around us, but only a few will change the world. That’s our focus at JPL. We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. We build upon ideas that have guided generations, then share our discoveries to inspire generations to come. Your mission—your opportunity—is to seek out the answers that bring us one step closer. If you’re driven to discover, create, and inspire something that lasts a lifetime and beyond, you’re ready for JPL.

Located in Pasadena, California, JPL has a campus-like environment situated on 177 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and offers a work environment unlike any other: we inspire passion, foster innovation, build collaboration, and reward excellence.

JPL is unique among NASA Centers in that its staff are Caltech employees, yet can access NASA technical resources. Cross-discipline teamwork is standard here: colleagues across JPL’s science and engineering organizations and Caltech’s academic campus often work together. Learning to speak and understand other disciplines’ languages is a doorway to the creativity needed to do what has not been done before. JPL staff are encouraged to create mission concepts that address humanity’s core questions through a combination of science and technology. They are supported in developing ideas into proposals and hardware, and communicating funded missions’ results to the scientific community and the broader public. JPL seeks to employ scientists and engineers who are passionate about lifelong learning and excited to contribute to and lead team efforts. We emphasize the importance of partnering across discipline boundaries and creating a friendly, constructive work environment to overcome space exploration’s challenges. The postdocs at JPL benefit from an informal mentoring network, an annual conference showcasing their results, a dedicated seminar series, exposure to diverse career paths, and social connections across the JPL and Caltech community for advice on housing, childcare, and other aspects of living in southern California.

The Earth Surface and Interior group studies dynamic processes that occur within Earth’s crust, mantle, and core. We develop new methods for using remote sensing data to understand the forces that drive plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslides, and other solid earth phenomena.


A postdoctoral research position is available at the JPL, to study the general interactions between the hydrosphere and solid Earth. Quantifying climate-driven surface mass transport and the associated response of the solid Earth is critical to enhancing science interpretability and utility of satellite gravimetry, altimetry, and interferometry data, including those measured by NASA’s GRACE/-FO, NISAR, and SWOT missions. In particular, the GRACE/-FO missions (https://grace.jpl.nasa.gov/) have been immensely successful in measuring Earth’s surface (ice/water) mass redistribution. As the satellite gravimetry extends into its 3rd decade, further developments and refinements are needed to accurately discern and resolve signals and processes such as (1) hydrological signals in 3-D crustal motion toward an improved interpretation of future NISAR data, and (2) sea-level fingerprints in the near field of mass loss hotspots (e.g., Greenland glaciers) towards an improved interpretation of tide gauge and future SWOT mission data.

For this work, we seek an enthusiastic candidate who can tackle these and related high-priority science questions and address them by combining satellite remote sensing data, in-situ data, and numerical models. The successful candidate will be encouraged to use JPL’s Ice-sheet and Sea-level System Model (ISSM; https://issm.jpl.nasa.gov/) to compute high-resolution solid Earth responses to the applied surface forcing.


Required qualifications:

•          Knowledge of GRACE/-FO and GNSS data, and a basic understanding of geophysical processes (e.g., Earth’s gravitation, deformation, and rotation).

•          Ph.D. in Earth Sciences, Geophysics, or a related technical field

•          Demonstrated ability to write and publish scientific results

•          Ability to work effectively in a team environment


•          Experience with analysis of remotely-sensed data products involving large datasets.

•          Experience in working with instrumentation for remote sensing of the solid Earth

•          Persistence, creativity, and willingness to try new approaches to overcome complex problems

The appointee will be advised and will be encouraged to collaborate with members of JPL’s Sea-level and Ice and the Earth Surface and Interior groups.

Applicants may be subject to additional program requirements by NASA. Postdoc positions are awarded for a minimum of one-year period and may be renewed up to a maximum of three years. Candidates should submit the following to this site: CV, representative publications, contact information for three references, and a cover letter stating their research accomplishments and interests.

If you have further questions regarding this position, please contact Dr. Adhikari (adhikari@jpl.nasa.gov).

JPL has a catalog of benefits and perks that span from the traditional to the unique. This includes a variety of health, dental, vision, wellbeing, and retirement plans, paid time off, learning, rideshare, childcare, flexible schedule, parental leave and many more. Our focus is on work-life balance, and living healthy, fulfilling lives as we Dare Mighty Things Together. For benefits eligible positions, benefits are effective the first day of the month coincident with or immediately following the employee’s start date.

For further benefits information click Benefits and Perks

The hiring range displayed below is specifically for those who will work in or reside in the location listed. In extending an offer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory considers factors including, but not limited to, the candidate’s job related skills, experience, knowledge, and relevant education/training. Hiring range for this job may be adjusted based on primary work location outside of Pasadena, California. This adjusted range will be provided to candidates by the Recruiter when applicable.

The typical full time equivalent annual hiring range for this job in Pasadena, California.$82,180 – $82,180

JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

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Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development