Frontline Community Climate Adaptation Post-Doctoral Associate, Western Water Assessment and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at CU Boulder

Boulder, CO

Position Title: Frontline Community Climate Adaptation Post-Doctoral Associate

Organization: Western Water Assessment and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at CU Boulder

Location: Boulder, CO

Organization Overview: The Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) is an internationally recognized leader in innovative environmental science and research and is located at the University of Colorado Boulder. At CIRES, more than 800 environmental science professionals work to understand the dynamic Earth system, including people’s relationship with the planet. CIRES has partnered with NOAA since 1967, and their areas of expertise include weather and climate, changes at Earth’s poles, air quality and atmospheric chemistry, water resources, solid Earth sciences, and more. Their vision is to be instrumental in ensuring a sustainable future environment by advancing scientific and societal understanding of the Earth system.

Western Water Assessment (WWA) is located within the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder). They are one of twelve teams within the NOAA Climate Adaptation Partnerships (CAP) program (formerly the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) program). WWA brings together researchers from a range of disciplinary backgrounds including social sciences (geography, public policy, etc.), and physical sciences (climate science, hydrology, meteorology, etc.). They conduct innovative research in partnership with decision-makers and communities in the Rocky Mountain West (Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming), helping them make the best use of science to manage for and adapt to climate impacts. They are particularly focused on building resilience to compound climate hazards in the region. WWA works extensively with researchers, stakeholders, and community partners in fields of water management, natural hazards management, and municipal planning, among others. The Post-Doc would become part of their tight-knit, collaborative work environment where They support work-life balance and a highly collegial atmosphere.

Position Overview: 

The Post-Doc will pursue one of the following two options for the position. Option one uses relationships that WWA has already established with frontline communities, while option two is available for those with existing relationships with a frontline community in the WWA region.

  • Option 1: Climate Hazards in Mobile Home Parks: Mobile, or manufactured, home parks (MHPs) are the largest form of unsubsidized affordable housing in the country, and in our region (CO, WY, and UT) they disproportionately serve Latinx and Indigenous populations. Their residents are often more at risk to climate hazards than residents of fixed-foundation housing. WWA has been building relationships with community advocates, nonprofits, and government officials on the topic of climate risk to mobile home parks over the past year and is in the process of developing research projects on a range of climate hazards that disproportionately affect MHPs including extreme heat, poor air quality, flooding, and hazard evacuation issues. While we are actively working on this issue, we are still in the early phases of research design. The Post-Doc could either join into and shape existing projects at this early phase, or develop related, dovetailing projects that broadly work on issues of resilience in MHPs. We understand this topic of MHP resilience is broad, intersectional, multifaceted, and impacted by factors including climate hazards and variability, park ownership and governance models, zoning policies, racial and ethnic dynamics, geography, displacement, and larger structural issues. This research is timely as the State of Colorado has also focused on this issue of resilience in MHPs. The State recently passed a “mobile home bill of rights” and other legislation is currently being developed, making this an opportunity to help shape policy and community resilience.
  • Option 2: Co-Developing a Climate Justice Project: In the case where a candidate already has experience and developed relationships with frontline communities in our region, we encourage alternative research projects that address an existing climate justice and adaptation need. To be clear, candidates should not contact new communities before applying, but applicants who have lived in a frontline community or had prior experience with a frontline community-serving organization in our region and have an engaged-research idea that would produce actionable results and contribute to community resilience should briefly describe the alternative project/issue in their cover letter.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in a social science field (including but not limited to Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, Indigenous Studies, American Studies, Environmental Studies, etc.).
  • Experience and/or understanding of knowledge co-production and similar epistemological approaches.
  • Knowledge of climate adaptation and climate hazards.
  • Knowledge of ethical and reciprocal research practices.
  • Expertise in qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, document analysis, etc).
  • Collaborative spirit and comfort working in teams.
  • Effective project management skills (e.g., ability to be self-directed, independent).
  • Ability to contribute to a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of critical theories and scholarship on the structural drivers of inequality, injustice, etc.
  • Ability to speak Spanish.
  • Experience working in our region (CO, WY, UT), particularly having relationships with frontline communities in this region.
  • Experience developing/participating in workshops with community partners.

Start/End Dates: Fall, up to two years

Application Deadline: May 3, open until filled

How to Apply: Please use the online application to view the full job description as well as how to apply.