Postdoc Position in Data Science
University of California Berkeley
United States

Postdoc - Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS)

Job #JPF02804
  • Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society - Data Science

Recruitment Period

Open date: November 30th, 2020

Next review date: Monday, Dec 14, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


Postdoctoral Employee – Berkeley Institute For Data Science - University of California, Berkeley


Global environmental change is the defining challenge of our age. The pace of this change is accelerating faster than our efforts to address it. Environmental change is already impacting natural and human communities globally with complex, often unintended consequences. They include critical loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystems, expansion of invasive species, collapse or conversion of major biomes, and threats to human health, food, fiber, and fuel production.

The Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) is seeking a creative and driven postdoctoral researcher for an Independent Postdoctoral Fellowship - a researcher with a strong background in environmental science, ecology, and/or biology and in performing data intensive research. The position requires the Fellow to create a research project using the latest data science methods and tools to answer questions related to how organisms respond to global change. Ideally the work will have the potential to affect environmental policy. In light of the increasing wildfire challenges in California, we are especially interested in research investigating wildfire mitigation and how wildfire affects California ecosystems.

Evaluation of success in this position will be judged on the creation/contribution of a mixture of research products and creation of a workshop or seminar series in scope of the independent, self-directed research project. The research products expected include but are not limited to communicating the research project results in academic publications; contributing to open source scientific software, curated datasets / databases, and blogs; and developing whitepapers about data science and global environmental change.

In defining and carrying out the independent, self-directed research project, the Fellow will work under the guidance of an advisory team made up of BIDS Faculty Affiliates and research staff: David Ackerly, Dean, College of Natural Resources; Rosemary Gillespie, Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; Ciera Martinez, Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences Lead, BIDS; Karthik Ram, Senior Research Data Scientist, BIDS. The team will mentor the Fellow in defining and executing the research project and will provide support, such as accessing relevant datasets and colleagues.

The position will also benefit from collaboration with Accenture Applied Intelligence. Accenture supports BID’s research and educational objectives in data science with current foci on environment and energy, ethical AI, and social justice. The researcher will be able to leverage this relationship to fully harness the data landscape and expertise available.

In addition, as part of the BIDS research community, the Fellow will have the opportunity to learn from individuals engaged in research software development, computational reproducibility, and data intensive research from a diversity of domains.

Appointment Length:

The Data Science and Global Environmental Change Postdoctoral Appointment is a full-time one year position at BIDS with the possibility to renew for a second year. It is made possible by funding from Accenture Applied Intelligence.


• Perform research to understand how global environmental changes are impacting natural and human communities globally.
• Identify research-based solutions to overcome changes, such as climate change and wildfires, loss of biodiversity, expansion of invasive species, collapse or conversion of major biomes, and threats to human health, food, fiber, and fuel production.
• Work with a diversity of data types/formats including time series, spatial, text, sensor, genomic, and biodiversity presence and abundance related data.
• Help to establish transparent and open best practices useful for performing data intensive global environmental change research, as well as general use.
• Develop a workshop or discussion series for BIDS faculty, researchers, and collaborators and the larger UC Berkeley environmental and ecological community.

• Give talks and presentations to a variety of audiences including the University of California community, Accenture Applied Intelligence leaders and researchers, and globally at domain specific conferences.
• Produce research products expected include but are not limited to communicating the research project results in academic publications; contributing to open source scientific software, curated datasets / databases, and blogs; and developing whitepapers about data science and global environmental change.
• Update advisors, as well as collaborators at Accenture Applied Intelligence / conversation with AAI stakeholders, regularly on research progress through meetings.

Basic Qualifications:

PhD or equivalent international degree or enrolled in a PhD (or equivalent international degree) program at the time of application.

Additional Qualifications (by start date):

• PhD or equivalent international degree

Preferred Qualifications:

In accordance with the BIDS ideals, we are especially interested in postdoctoral researchers with a history of working with open science and transparency in work. We find that those with ability to implement relevant data science infrastructure, pipelines, software, and tools while performing research activities are particularly successful, becoming well integrated in our efforts to achieve open and reproducible work. We are also looking for someone who has built or is willing to learn how to build packages / libraries / software in either Python or R. PhD or equivalent international degree in Biological, Ecological, or Environmental Sciences is preferred.

In addition, we are looking for:

• Experience in the design of data collection, statistical analysis, and data visualization strategies
• Demonstrated understanding of the utilization of large amounts of data and the building of reproducible pipelines to answer research questions
• Capable of identifying, communicating, and solving problems when integrating heterogeneous data
• Experience communicating data analysis to a wide range of skill levels and audiences
• Experience with R and/or Python
• Experience in data cleaning methodology and enjoys working with “messy” data


Salary and title will be commensurate with qualifications and experience and based on UC Berkeley salary scales. The salary for this position is $70,000. There will also be a $10,000 research fund to support the Postdoc’s independent research included.

This position is in a represented bargaining unit.

Application Procedure:

To apply go to

Please direct all questions for this position to Ciera Martinez, PhD, Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences Research Lead,, with the subject line: Independent Postdoctoral Fellowship

Job will remain open until filled.

All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service or career center), to the UC Berkeley statement of confidentiality ( prior to submitting their letters.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Job location

Berkeley, CA


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Research Accomplishments - 1-2 pages. Include contribution to scientific research papers, scientific software, science communication, science communication, datasets created, workshops, and public code.
  • Research Proposal - 1-2 pages. This proposal is not necessarily a commitment of what you will work on in your project, but serves a way for the application committee to assess your ability to plan a research project. We understand that your research project may change and evolve as you learn more about data available to you. You may use hypothetical datasets, but they should be realistically achievable with current technologies. Also, please include how you imagine leveraging the expertise of advisors.
  • Proposed Workshop - 1 page or less - Include how and who from the BIDS and the wider UC Berkeley community would benefit from the workshop.
  • Statement on Contributions to Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Statement on your contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including information about your understanding of these topics, your record of activities to date, and your specific plans and goals for advancing equity and inclusion if hired at Berkeley (for additional information go to
Reference requirements
  • 2 required (contact information only)

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