Postdoc: Water Innovation Fellow

Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA)/Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR)/LimnoTech Inc

Ann Arbor, MI, US

Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA)/Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR)/LimnoTech Inc.
Ann Arbor, MI

Closing Date: August 15th

The Water Innovation Fellowship offers a new kind of Postdoctoral experience – one that pairs scholars with forward-thinking Great Lakes industry leaders, as well as academic and federal scientists, to pursue advanced cross disciplinary water research. By uniting the robust research assets of Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) and NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) with Cleveland Water Alliance’s (CWA) network of private sector partners, this fellowship aims to drive much-needed public-private collaboration around Great Lakes water research and investment in innovative solutions to Great Lakes water challenges. The result is a fellowship experience that is highly focused on applied projects at the intersection of core NOAA research questions and real-world community needs. Though fellows report to a joint oversight committee, they enjoy a large degree of autonomy in shaping and executing their work. This includes some flexibility in work location, selection of external collaborators, and project focus areas.

With the rapid development of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations and increasing stresses on natural resources, smart sensing and data-driven management for natural and man-made water systems has quickly become a growth sector across the globe over the last five years. A team of industry technologists and natural scientists at LimnoTech have been working closely with CWA, CIGLR, GLERL, and other stakeholders to lead the development and deployment of these advanced water monitoring solutions across the Great Lakes region. For this iteration of the Water Innovation Fellowship, CWA and CIGLR are partnering with LimnoTech to seek a postdoctoral fellow that will synergize and accelerate the collection and use of water data to address poignant surface water challenges facing Lake Erie communities. The fellow will work with cross-sector stakeholders to integrate existing sensor networks, remote sensing tools, and data systems into a resilient, system-level architecture and translate this infrastructure into usable tools for operational water management.

The fellow will spend time between the LimnoTech and NOAA-GLERL offices in Ann Arbor, and the CWA office in Cleveland, OH, with primary work to be performed in the Ann Arbor area.  In light of COVID-19 work restrictions, the fellow may be expected to work from home when possible.  Exact reporting location and schedule will be discussed upon hire and may change due to COVID-19 work restrictions. The fellow will be expected to have routine check-ins with an advisory committee.  High-level program management, compensation, and connections to additional industry collaborators will be handled by CWA. This is a 100%-time appointment as a postdoctoral fellow with a salary of $45,000-$65,000 per year. The position is for one year and is renewable, subject to satisfactory performance and continued availability of funding. Some local and regional travel to partner locations and field sites, including monthly visits to CWA offices in Cleveland, will be required. Core themes of the position will include:

  • Elucidation of the technical and organizational infrastructure required to transition data-driven management of watersheds and open water to the Great Lake scale.

  • Engagement of commercial and municipal clients, such as waste/water utilities, power plants, fisheries, offshore wind, and beach managers, to define decision support needs (gaps between currently available data and truly actionable information).

  • Develop Internet of Things use cases, in partnership with private sector technologists, that fuse new and existing data sources into tools that fill real stakeholder needs.

The precise responsibilities of the fellow will vary depending on the candidate selected and the expressed needs of stakeholders. Technical project areas could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Integration of various existing installations with new technology to design and construct a scaled Long-Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) that allows for easy sensor configuration and deployment across Lake Erie’s Western and Central Basins.

  • Designing and testing next generation sensing and control systems to evaluate and improve the performance of constructed wetlands designed for nutrient mitigation and track improvements to water quality from corresponding Harmful Algae reduction.

  • Integration of existing and new Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles into existing observing systems and new operational use cases, particularly on the open lake.

  • Design and implementation of new technology that enables existing observing systems to collect data at depth.

  • Integration of volunteer-collected water quality data (citizen science) into operational decision-making tools.

In addition to the primary scholarship to be performed, this fellow will serve a leadership role in organizing CIGLR, NOAA, CWA, and LimnoTech resources to guide needed public-private collaboration and technology transfer around Great Lakes data and management systems. The fellow will help coordinate closely with stakeholders across the Lake Erie region to ensure maximum alignment with existing work. This experience will result in the development of professional skills (e.g. grant writing, team management, administrative tasks, publishing, etc.) that will serve them throughout their career. In addition, there will be opportunities for data synthesis, leading and writing associated manuscripts, while participating in the writing of others.

A person experienced in the integration of social, ecological and technical systems in freshwater bodies is sought, but the individual fulfilling this role should have a demonstrated commitment to working at this interface. In addition, a background in embedded systems, machine learning, network architecture, and/or data analytics will be considered valuable. Though experience with the Great Lakes will be beneficial, it is not an essential qualification.  


Minimum Requirements:

  • Ph.D. in engineering, computer science, biology, ecology, water resources, or related field

  • A strong record of research, evidence of scholarly publication, and a demonstrated history of converting data and research into useful products that benefit industry.

  • Computational and data analytics skills

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English

  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment

  • Ability to travel to field sites throughout the region and perform work outdoors to assist with installing/maintaining sensors.  

Preferred requirements:

  • Previous experience programming microcontrollers and embedded systems

  • Experience with statistical analysis and applications of computer code to handle large datasets and machine learning algorithms

  • Proficient with use of web APIs, web scripting, python, and other skills to work with modern IoT data systems.

How to Apply

In order to apply, submit the following documents to Max Herzog at [email protected]:

  • Cover Letter

  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae

  • A list of three references including names and contact information.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please email [email protected].


Max Herzog
Program Manager
Cleveland Water Alliance
6815 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44103
[email protected]




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