Theoretical, Computational & Mathematical Postdoctoral Fellowships

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Deadline: 
Feb 22, 2014

  
Please note: Before applying, prospective postdoctoral applicants should first contact Dr. Nicholas Magliocca at nmagliocca@sesync.org to express interest in this opportunity. Applications are currently closed. Please check back later this summer regarding the next RFP deadline.

The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), located in Annapolis, Maryland, invites applications for two-year postdoctoral fellowships that begin on a rolling basis. The Center seeks applicants using theoretical, computational, and/or mathematical approaches to explore, characterize, and understand the structure and dynamics of socio-environmental systems. The successful candidates will lead strongly quantitative research efforts that synthesize understanding at the interface of the social and environmental sciences via models of socio-environmental systems (and their feedbacks) or via computationally intensive analyses of socio-environmental datasets.

In addition to leading independent synthesis research, SESYNC fellows spend part of their time (~30%) on collaborative center activities. SESYNC leadership work with postdoctoral fellows to co-develop the collaborative activities, which could include such efforts as working on a cross-Pursuit or cross-Theme synthesis project; organizing a workshop; developing an education, policy, or outreach activity; or exploring visualization and other cyber tools.

Co-Development

Prospective postdoctoral applicants should first contact Dr. Nicholas Magliocca at nmagliocca@sesync.org to express interest in this opportunity. SESYNC will provide prospective applicants with the Registry of Collaborating Mentors, which will include preliminary project ideas, short bios, and contact information for Collaborating Mentors who have expressed previous interest in working with a SESYNC postdoctoral fellow. Prospective postdoctoral applicants may also recruit a mentor, but SESYNC must approve all potential Collaborating Mentors to ensure they understand the commitment they are making to the applicant's progress and success. The Collaborating Mentor cannot be the prospective Fellow's PhD advisor, PhD mentor, current postdoc advisor (if relevant), or past collaborator or mentor. Applications for Collaborating Mentors may be submitted any time but must be submitted before the postdoctoral fellowship application.

Prospective postdoctoral applicants should choose a project idea and prospective Collaborating Mentor, who will function as a project mentor, and then initiate contact with the potential Mentor(s) with whom they might be interested in co-developing a synthesis research project. If the prospective fellow and Collaborating Mentor(s) mutually agree to co-develop a proposal for this fellowship, the prospective fellow should take the lead in writing and developing the proposal.

Eligibility

We welcome applications from PhD-level researchers with a history of quantitative research in the social or environmental sciences, and from researchers with backgrounds in applied mathematics, scientific computation, or a related quantitative discipline who wish to conduct research at the socio-environmental interface.

Selection Criteria

Postdoctoral applications will be ranked primarily by the quality and feasibility of the proposed research. In particular, proposals will be ranked with regard to their:

  • Explanation of how the proposed research will use theoretical, computational, and/or mathematical approaches to advance the characterization and understanding of the structure and dynamics of socio-environmental systems.
  • Novelty, creativity, and/or urgency of proposed activities.
  • Feasibility of producing meaningful synthetic research within a two-year time frame, including identifying and showing ability to access appropriate data and methods.
  • Potential to contribute to other research activities at the center.
  • Applicant qualifications and experience.
  • Explanation of why SESYNC is the most appropriate way to support the activity.

Support

  • Appointments will be through the University of Maryland, and awardees must be based in our facilities in Annapolis, Maryland.
  • The SESYNC postdoctoral fellowship provides an annual stipend, full University of Maryland employee benefits, and a small annual travel allowance to attend meetings or to meet with collaborators.
  • Postdoctoral fellowships are awarded for a maximum of two years and include structured mentoring programs, facilitated access to policy makers, and opportunities to participate in ongoing center activities.
  • Fellows will have two mentors: a professional mentor at SESYNC and a Collaborating Mentor in the fellow’s domain. SESYNC Collaborating Mentors will also receive support to travel to SESYNC to work with the fellow.

Deadline

Applications are currently closed. Please check back later this summer regarding the next RFP deadline.

Components of a Postdoc Fellowship Application

Include the following using single spacing, 12-pt type fonts, and 1-inch margins.

Cover sheet (1 page)

  • Descriptive Title (“SESYNC Postdoc: ….”).
  • Short Title (25 characters max).
  • Name and contact information.
  • Date of PhD defense – if the defense has not occurred, applicants need a letter from their dissertation advisor verifying the expected data of completion.
  • Collaborating Mentor name, title, and affiliation.
  • Project Summary (250 words) – appropriate for the public; to be posted on the SESYNC website.
  • Keywords (up to 5 keywords different from those used in the title).
  • Potential conflicts of interest with members of the SESYNC External Advisory Board or Leadership Team.

Research proposal (5 pages max including references)

  • Problem statement – Clear and concise statement of the project goals including specific research questions and how it will use theoretical, computational, and/or mathematical approaches to advance the characterization and understanding of the structure and dynamics of socio-environmental systems.
  • Methods and data to be used for the synthesis project.
  • Description of prospective fellow’s and Collaborating Mentor’s respective roles in the project and plans for maintaining communication throughout the project.
  • How the proposed project/activities will make use of SESYNC’s opportunities to enhance the scholar’s career and why SESYNC is the most appropriate place to undertake the work.

Anticipated cyberinfrastructure needs (1 page or less)

If applicable, briefly describe any anticipated needs for cyberinfrastructure (CI) support. This information should include descriptions of data sets to be used during this project; new data sets or software/databases to be developed; high performance computing needs; required data aggregation or fusion; and visualization software needs. Applicants should review SESYNC's Cyberinfrastructure Support Information & Policies and are encouraged to contact SESYNC cyberinfrastructure staff prior to submission if the project’s needs are beyond the scope of services outlined in these documents.

Collaborative center activities: interests and ideas (~1/2 page)

Briefly describe your interests and ideas for potential collaborative center activities that you might pursue during your postdoctoral fellowship in residence at SESYNC.

Full CV of the applicant, including names and contact information for three references

Please arrange for each reference to provide a letter of recommendation regarding your background and ability to carry out the independent research as proposed, and your ability to engage in collaborative research as part of SESYNC community. These letters should be submitted separately from your application. Please email letters to: postdoc.application@sesync.org

Please also arrange for a letter of commitment from your SESYNC Collaborating Mentor describing their view of their role and commitment as mentor and collaborator. These letters should be submitted directly by the Mentor via email to: postdoc.application@sesync.org

Application & Submission Process

SESYNC will provide prospective applicants with the Registry of Collaborating Mentors after contacting Dr. Nicholas Magliocca at nmagliocca@sesync.org to express interest in this opportunity.

Applications are currently closed. Please check back later this summer for application instructions and the next RFP deadline.

Questions?

Email Dr. Nicholas Magliocca at: nmagliocca@sesync.org

The University of Maryland is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Minorities and Women Are Encouraged to Apply

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