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SONet Postdoc in Semantics of Observational Data

by jones last modified Nov 05, 2012 03:59 PM



Postdoctoral Researcher in informatics/semantics to “Develop interoperable ecological and earth science data systems”

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
University of California at Santa Barbara

Consideration of applications begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

We seek a postdoctoral scientist to conduct research and development in the area of knowledge representation for the earth and environmental sciences. The work will be done as part of an NSF-funded research program (OCI-INTEROP) that will create a “Scientific Observations Network” (SONet;, by bringing together researchers within the ecological, environmental,and computer sciences, in a community-driven effort to define and develop necessary specifications and technologies to facilitate the semantic interpretation and broad interoperability of scientific data.

Principal research areas on this project include investigating advanced approaches to modeling, querying, and storing scientific data, especially involving knowledge representation; creating formal ontologies for describing the content and structure of ecological and other earth science data; and developing methods for expressing semantic information about heterogeneous scientific data and analyses in network-based data integration and analysis systems. The successful candidate will help research and design effective knowledge models for ecological and earth systems data, through strong engagement with domain scientists, computer scientists, and technologists representing diverse environmental science communities including ecology, hydrology, oceanography, and the biodiversity and geospatial sciences. These knowledge models will be based on identifying and refining foundational constructs in scientific data, such as formalizing structures for generally capturing the essential properties of scientific observations and measurements.

The successful candidate will have extensive experience integrating and analyzing complex data from an earth-science related discipline (e.g. ecology, hydrology, oceanography, etc.), as well as some familiarity with formal data modeling and knowledge representation (or related areas of computer science). Experience with several of the following areas is also beneficial: statistical analysis and modeling of complex earth science data; scripting languages such as “R” or MATLAB for scientific simulation and analyses; markup languages and reasoning approaches for knowledge representation (e.g., OWL, RDF, Jena, Pellet); software engineering and database or application development; web and Internet technologies (e.g., XML, XML Schema, and Web Services); ontology creation and editing tools (e.g. Protege); background in formal logic (FOL, DL); programming languages, such as Java, C/C++, Python, or LISP; and metadata languages such as the Ecological Metadata Language (EML), the FGDC’s Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (CSDGM), Dublin Core, Darwin Core, or the OGC’s Observations and Measurements specification.

The postdoctoral researcher is expected to collaborate closely with the principal investigators and project participants, and be productive, flexible, highly organized, independent, and creative. The postdoctoral researcher will also be closely involved with the planning and execution of several community workshops that will bring together domain and computer scientists, to help develop and refine data interoperability strategies for the earth and ecological sciences.

A Ph.D. is required in ecology, environmental or earth systems science, computer science, or a related discipline. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are critical. Experience with large collaborative research projects is beneficial. Initial funding is for one year at 100% FTE, with the possibility of renewal for another year. Salary range starts at $45,461, but is adjustable based on experience. This position will provide an opportunity to participate in the development of additional research projects in the field of data semantics for the natural sciences. Moderate travel is required to collaborate with other project researchers and present at scientific meetings.

Interested applicants should submit: (1) a letter of application, (2) a statement of how her/his educational and research experience qualify the applicant for the position, and (3) a recent curriculum vitae. In addition, the applicant should have three letters of reference submitted on her/his behalf.

Screening of applications will begin immediately, and proceed until the position is filled. Electronic submission of applications and supporting letters is strongly preferred, and should be directed to Mark Schildhauer ( Mailed submissions should be directed to Dr. Mark Schildhauer, NCEAS -UCSB Ecology Center, 735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-5504 USA.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer 

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