[ES_JOBS_NET] Integrated Science related Mendenhall Position Announcement

Erika Marín-Spiotta marinspiotta at wisc.edu
Sun Dec 9 09:21:12 MST 2018

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Wiltermuth, Mark <mwiltermuth at usgs.gov>
Date: Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 6:30 AM
Subject: Integrated Science related Mendenhall Position Announcement
To: <gs-mwr_science_chiefs at usgs.gov>

Project titled Bridging the Disconnects Between Science and Decision Making
<https://geology.usgs.gov/postdoc/opps/2018/S31%20Wellman.htm>.  This
Mendenhall position will be within Core Science System's Science Analytics
and Synthesis Program.  Please pass this announcement along to potential

Thank you,

* On detail as Acting Chief of Biogeographic Characterization Branch, SAS,
Mark Wiltermuth
Chief, Integrated Science Branch
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey
8711 37th Street, SE
Jamestown, ND 58401
Office: 701-253-5567
Mobile: 701-659-0088
Fax: 701-253-5553
mwiltermuth at usgs.gov

S31. Bridging the Disconnects Between Science and Decision Making

Scientific findings should facilitate decision-making activities focused on
natural resources and the environment, but presently raw scientific
information tends to be documented in forms that are not immediately
actionable for policy makers or resource managers. Practical approaches are
needed to interpret and associate diverse forms of scientific and societal
information in ways that are fully describable and meaningful to a diverse
audience. Disconnects in knowledge transfer arise when decisions are made
in isolation or occur sequentially as a follow-up to scientific inquiry,
which creates separation between the pursuit of scientific findings and
decision-making activities. Other disconnects arise where resource managers
are not able to access technical content because of barriers in
understanding or where scientific information is too far off topic. The
common scenario is that decision makers cannot easily interpret scientific
information and scientists driven by scientific goals do not fully address
decision makers' information needs.

Improved techniques and analysis tools are needed to bridge the gap between
science and decision making, which may involve several connection points.
Decision making in complex situations often deals with a large degree of
uncertainty - data may be sparse, incomplete, or insufficient in quality.
Policy decisions, in particular, often require a significant amount of
deliberation because decisions involve important consequences, conflicting
objectives and timelines, multiple stakeholders (priorities), and issue
complexity. To increase the availability and relevance of scientific
information for such decisions, practical approaches are needed to
associate and evaluate diverse scientific and societal information. As a
result, by including decision maker perspectives and by presenting
scientific information in more meaningful ways, scientific contributions
will be better aligned with societal priorities. Agencies at all levels
could use a comparative evaluation and analysis of alternative decisions to
their advantage by determining "optimal" decisions for a particular issue
under different potential criteria sets. If those criteria sets represent
different stakeholder perspectives, such comparisons would shed light on
the specific issues and tradeoffs that might need to be resolved for an
appropriate solution to emerge.

We seek a Mendenhall postdoctoral scholar to conduct leading research in
one or more topical areas described below. The Mendenhall Fellow will be a
member of the USGS Biogeographic Characterization Branch of the Core
Science Systems Mission Area. She/he will interact primarily in a group
partnership with the USGS Science and Decisions Center of the Energy and
Minerals Mission Area and the Geosciences & Environmental Change Science
Center. The Biogeographic Characterization Branch is actively engaged in
providing technical services to enhance data use and integration and to
document data provenance. Areas of focus within the biogeographic sciences
include a) improving information transfer between scientific and
professional communities, b) establishing techniques to integrate and
evaluate diverse information used for scientific purposes and
decision-making activities, c) advancing the use of analysis tools,
including techniques used to support the decision-making process, and d)
increasing productivity and reproducibility of scientific investigations
using open source code.

We invite proposals that include aspects of biogeographic science,
ecosystem services, and decision analysis. The project methodology should
include components of qualitative inference and quantitative analysis
(statistics, modeling, or probability theory). We expect that the scope of
work will possess immediate applicability and the outcomes will be
transferable into publically available analytical data services in the
future. Also, where relevant it is recommended that projects address
uncertainty and risk using established methods either from statistics or
probability theory (Bayesian or frequentist approaches). Operationalized
methods, where applicable, should be adaptive to different levels of
decision granularity or temporal or spatial scales of analysis.
Topical areas of interest include:A. Science Strategy Optimization:

Research and develop logical processors and analytical capabilities that
combine key components of translational ecology (biogeography) and
ecosystem services/natural capital accounting in a way that allows
scientists and stakeholders to guide future research directions, resulting
in products that better address important environmental challenges.
B. Multi-Resource Analyses:

Develop analysis tools for combining multiple streams of information in
ways that inform land use and resource management decisions, developed
through a structured process that brings together scientists, decision
makers, and stakeholders to address relevant issues and decisions for a
geographic region.
C. Product Development Opportunities:

Identify the types of missing data products, scientific products, or
analytical tools that scientists should now focus on to better inform
decision makers. Operationalize methodologies that advance knowledge
transfer in areas where missing components are limiting decision-making
activities. Develop code-driven prototypes to demonstrate information
transfer to decision makers as a precursor to production level services.
D. Fit-For-Purpose Science Guidance:

Investigate the content requirements for scientific studies to be most
relevant from a decision-maker perspective. Develop analytical tools to
guide scientific investigations to be fit-for-purpose based on a series of
priorities, including study objectives and stakeholder interests.
E. Objective Driven Spatiotemporal Analyses:

Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of producing, synthesizing and
disseminating scientific information over a range of spatiotemporal scales
to inform decision makers for different types of study objectives. In
addition to national-scale data products and services, evaluate what
factors should determine whether local information is also needed. Develop
operational procedures to provide metrics to evaluate content suitability.
Research the types of analyses and evidence scientists should provide
decision makers to convince them of scaling requirements, for instance in
cases where national scale data and related scientific findings are
correlated to local scale processes and therefore suitable to serve
decision making at the local level.

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Research
Advisors below early in the application process to discuss project ideas.
Work will be performed collaboratively with affiliated members on key
project components and software developers who bring analysis capabilities
and other scientific contributions online for public benefit. Candidates
with strong critical thinking skills and an interest in advancing
decision-making and synthesizing multidisciplinary information are strongly
encouraged to apply. Specialty skills in statistics and probability, coding
of algorithms, and modeling are desirable.

*Proposed Duty Station:* Denver, Colorado

*Areas of Ph.D.:* Biology, ecology, geology, hydrology, or social sciences.
(Candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with knowledge and
skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered.)

*Qualifications:* Research Biologist
<https://geology.usgs.gov/postdoc/opps/qualifications.html#res_biol>; Research
<https://geology.usgs.gov/postdoc/opps/qualifications.html#res_ecol>; Research
<https://geology.usgs.gov/postdoc/opps/qualifications.html#res_geol>; Research
(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the
occupations stated above.  However, other titles may be applicable
depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal.
The final classification of the position will be made by the Human
Resources specialist.)

*Research Advisor(s):* Tristan Wellman, (303) 202-4081, twellman at usgs.gov ;
Sky Bristol, (303) 578-2127, sbristol at usgs.gov ; Karen Jenni, (303)
236-5766, kjenni at usgs.gov ; Ken Bagstad, (303) 236-1330, kjbagstad at usgs.gov ;
Steve Aulenbach,(303) 202-4226, saulenbach at usgs.gov.

*Human Resources Office Contact:* Katherine Heller, 703-648-7408,
kheller at usgs.gov

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