Job description / Role
Postdoctoral Fellow in Earth and Mars atmospheric retrievals
The National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in Al Ain, UAE invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow in Earth and Mars atmospheric retrievals. The anticipated start date is as soon as possible but is likely to be sometime during late Fall 2020, for an initial 2-year period. Review of applications will begin on 6 September 2020, and the position will remain open until filled.
The UAE is developing a research base in space science, and the main goal of this position is to build expertise within the UAE in the area of planetary atmospheric retrievals. This will maximise the scientific return from the Emirates Mars Mission, prepare Emirati researchers for future space missions, and familiarise them with the tools and principles used in atmospheric remote sensing observations and retrievals. This will require training research assistants and students. The project also aims to enhance the international status of the UAE within the Mars research community by dissemination of this work via conferences, high-quality journal articles, and datasets.
The Emirates Mars Mission will launch in July 2020 to study the influence of Mars' climate and lower atmosphere on the escape of oxygen and hydrogen from its upper atmosphere, what atmospheric processes drive diurnal variations, and how energy is transferred from the lower-middle atmosphere to the upper atmosphere.
We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher with demonstrated expertise in ultraviolet/visible/infrared and/or thermal infrared/microwave atmospheric retrievals to work alongside a Senior Researcher and develop this program within the existing Planetary Science and Earth Observation groups at NSSTC. This will involve software development, retrieval product generation, student training, and scientific analysis. - The main technical aspect of the position is to develop algorithms to convert EMM L2 data (calibrated spectra) into L3 data (atmospheric quantities).
This will use EMM's publicly available dataset. L3 data will already be produced by the EMM team, so the point of this work is to build expertise among Emirati students and researchers in the methods and mathematical principles of atmospheric retrievals, radiative transfer modelling, and scientific computing, by involving them at all stages of this process.
The "Tasks and Responsibilities" section below lists the specific tasks that the project involves with respect to EMM data analysis. In addition, the Postdoctoral Fellow will assist the Senior Researcher in a research program studying certain aspects of the lower Martian atmosphere based on these data products. They will also contribute, where appropriate, to NSSTC research and development projects in Earth observation where atmospheric retrievals are required.
NSSTC is a R&D institute of some 50 staff located on the UAE University campus in Al Ain, about 90 minutes' drive from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. UAEU is the largest and highest-ranked public university in the UAE. The Center was established jointly by UAEU, the UAE Space Agency, and the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, motivated by UAEU's desire to strengthen its role in and contribute to the needs of the nation in Space Science and Space Technology, and to become a hub for the region. NSSTC focuses on research and development, higher education, and community outreach. It has expertise in spacecraft communications and precision positioning, on-board real-time systems, space situational awareness, global navigation systems, space resource utilization, geospatial information systems, Earth observation, and planetary science.
Tasks and Responsibilities (not exhaustive, and subject to periodic review):
The research will use EMM's publicly-available datasets from the EMIRS (thermal infrared spectrometer) and EXI (visible/UV camera) instruments. Working alongside the Senior Researcher, the successful candidate is expected to:
• Develop open source tools for data reading and handling, data archiving and user access, data analysis, and visualization, that will support and validate L3 data from EMM
• Develop open source tools to validate EMM data against other mission data
• Train and build the capabilities and skills of local researchers, academics, and students associated with EMM in various capacities, including them in all stages of the process
• Build a sequential software pipeline that will continuously produce EMM L3 data products and archive them locally
• Conduct independent Mars atmospheric research based on EMM data products
• Contribute to NSSTC research and development projects in Earth observation where atmospheric retrievals are required
• Develop internal and external collaborations to meet the goals of the research program
• Publish research work in the open scientific literature
• Present research work to a variety of audiences within the University, the UAE, and at international conferences
• Supervise research assistants and research students
• Contribute to NSSTC capacity building and outreach events
• Take part in NSSTC research group and business meetings
• Represent NSSTC and UAE University within the UAE and internationally.
• PhD degree in Physics, Atmospheric Science / Retrievals, Planetary Science, Meteorology, Physical Earth Science, Computer/Data Science, Astronomy, or a closely related field.
• Experience in atmospheric remote sensing (Earth or other planets), including data processing, analysis, and interpretation and related scientific programming
• Proven expertise in atmospheric retrieval methods and mathematical principles, and radiative transfer modelling
• A publication and conference record that compares favourably with others at a similar career stage.
Required Knowledge, Skills, and Competencies:
• Excellent communication skills in English, both verbal and written
• Self-motivated with the ability to work independently on a research project
• Ability to work well within a team
• Expertise in software tools for planetary data processing, analysis, and visualisation
• Expertise in scientific programming codes (e.g. Python, IDL, Fortran, Matlab, etc.) used in the field
• A strong desire to contribute to cutting edge research on Earth and Mars
• Ability to write high-quality research papers and grant proposals
• Ability to accomplish goals within expected timelines
• Willingness to travel overseas when necessary.
About the Company
Founded in 1976 by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAEU is a comprehensive, research-intensive university enrolling about 14,000 Emirati and international students. As the UAE’s flagship university, UAEU offers a full range of accredited, high-quality graduate and undergraduate programs through nine Colleges: Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Food and Agriculture; Humanities and Social Sciences; IT; Law; Medicine and Health Sciences; and Science. With a distinguished international faculty, state-of-the art new campus, and full range of student support services, UAEU offers a living-learning environment that is unmatched in the UAE.
As a research-intensive university of international stature, UAEU works with its partners in industry to provide research solutions to challenges faced by the nation, the region, and the world. The University has established research centers of strategic importance to the country and the region which are advancing knowledge in critical areas ranging from water resources to cancer treatments. UAEU is currently ranked the number one research university in the GCC, number two in the Arab World, and #370 globally.
UAEU’s academic programs have been developed in partnership with employers, so our graduates are in high demand. UAEU alumni hold key positions in industry, commerce, and government throughout the region. Our continuing investments in facilities, services, and staff ensure that UAEU will continue to serve as a model of innovation and excellence.