Postdoc and Graduate Student Opportunity

These postdoc and graduate student opportunities might be of interest. The postdoc position has a very flexible start date, and the candidate does not need to check all these boxes. It’s our “wish” list. 😊


Morteza Karimzadeh, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography
Affiliate Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Information Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Traditional Territories of the Arapaho, Cheyenne and Ute Nations

Transdisciplinary Postdoctoral Research Associate Position in Spatial Data Science and Geoscience

University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO

Starting date (very flexible): 1/7/2021

Application review begins December 7, 2020 on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

We invite applications for a postdoctoral research associate position at the Department of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), with a flexible starting date of 1/7/2021 and possibility for remote work, although the ability to work on the CU Boulder campus in the long term is desirable. The initial offer is for 12 months, with potential for renewal contingent upon favorable progress.

The postdoctoral scholar will primarily work on a recently funded NSF EarthCube project (Data Capabilities: Enabling Analysis of Heterogeneous, Multi-source Cryospheric Data, Award# 2026962) under the supervision of principal investigator, Dr. Morteza Karimzadeh. The project is focused on creating software systems and cyber-infrastructure for harmonizing heterogeneous big data products (including satellite imagery and in situ observations) in a cloud environment for various downstream tasks. The technologies developed are expected to be extendable to a variety of applications, but for this project, the focus will be on classification and mapping of sea ice.

Sea ice is an important component of the climate system and a key indicator of climate change. Sea ice is spatiotemporally dynamic, exhibiting a variety of evolving ice types that need classification for scientific analysis or operational planning. The mapping of sea ice at high spatial and temporal resolutions remains a scientific challenge. With the increasing availability of high-resolution remote sensing products such as SAR and lidar, there is a renewed desire for tackling this challenge. However, bridging data science and geoscience is key in successfully harnessing these large heterogeneous data for sea ice mapping.

The postdoctoral position will be homed in the Geography Department at CU Boulder and will actively collaborate with the co-PIs, scientists and students in the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and CU Denver’s Department of Computer Science.

The postdoc duties will include:

Design and implement software and computational modules in collaboration with the team’s sea ice scientists, remote sensing experts, and spatial data scientists.
Draft and lead scholarly publications and reports.
Assist the PI with leading research activities within the group and project management.
Assist the PI with user evaluations and stakeholder engagement at NSIDC, NOAA, NCAR, the U.S. National Ice Center (NIC) and the Canadian Ice Service (CIS).
Assist in supervising graduate and undergraduate students in the team.
Assist in drafting successful research grant proposals.
Interface with other research groups at and beyond the NSF EarthCube community and the University of Colorado.
Work with research assistants to prepare training and outreach material, including easy-to-use Jupyter notebooks for product adoption.
Given the transdisciplinary nature of this postdoctoral position, we expect that the candidate has foundation in either one or both spatial data science and/or geosciences, with the position strengthening the postdoc’s expertise in both disciplines.

The qualified candidate will possess a majority of the following, with interest in developing the rest:

A Ph.D. in geography, geoscience, computer science, information science, statistics, or a cognate field is mandatory.
Research background and expertise in applied machine learning and particularly, deep learning.
Background and experience working with, spatial data, geographic information systems and earth observations.
Familiarity with passive and active microwave imagery, airborne and spaceborne lidar altimetry is desirable (examples include SAR imagery from Sentinel-1, lidar altimetry data from Operation IceBridge, ICESat and ICESat-2, and radar altimetry data from CryoSat-2).
Programming skills in Python, Scikit-learn and deep learning libraries (TensorFlow, or Keras or PyTorch). Working ability with R and its spatial packages is a plus.
Interest or background in visual analytics for interactive machine learning is desirable.
Experience working with cloud storage and compute instances is desirable.
Experience in working with the output of climate models is desirable.
Front-end development and visualization skills using D3.js, leaflet.js and the React framework is desirable.
Excellent oral and written communication skills.

Both beginning and senior postdoctoral candidates are encouraged to apply. To apply, please upload your CV, a research statement (no more than one page) and the contact information of references to the application portal:

Please direct your questions to Dr. Morteza Karimzadeh ( Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting December 7, 2020 until the position is filled.

MS/PhD positions

Funded MSc/PhD positions are available in Dr. Morteza Karimzadeh’s research group at the Department of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder, starting Fall 2021. The application deadline is December 1, 2020. The positions are supported through TA and RA appointments.

The successful candidates will join a vibrant and growing team of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Our current spatial data science projects intersect with geovisual analytics, GeoAI and spatial statistics in a variety of domains including sea ice mapping and cryospheric data fusion, quantitative analysis of human mobility, geo-text analysis of various organizational and archival textual sources, and modeling spatial connectivity and dependence.

Details about the program can be found here. Please also note that we have a graduate application fee waiver for under-represented minority applicants and applicants with financial need.

For inquiries, please feel free to contact with your CV, explaining how your research expertise or interests may align with the team, and what potential areas you’d be interested in working on in the future.

Mission Statement

Geoscience Alliance

The Geoscience Alliance is a national alliance of individuals committed to broadening participation of Native Americans in the geosciences. Its members are faculty from tribal colleges, universities, and research centers; native elders and community members; industry and corporate representatives, students (K12, undergraduate, and graduate); formal and informal educators; and other interested individuals. The goals of the Geoscience Alliance are to:

1) create new collaborations in support of geoscience education for Native American students,

2) establish a new research agenda aimed at closing gaps in our knowledge on barriers and best practices related to Native American participation in the geosciences,

3) increase participation by Native Am

ericans in setting the national research agenda on issues in the geosciences, and particularly those that impact Native lands,

4) provide a forum to communicate educational opportunities for Native American students in geoscience programs, and

5) to understand and respect indigenous traditional knowledge.

Special thanks to the Naitonal Center for Earth-surface Dynamics, an NSF-funded Science and Technology Center, for their ongoing support of the Geoscience Alliance.

2012 Geoscience Alliance Conference

You are invited to the 2012 Geoscience Alliance Conference!

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  • Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, MT


  • March 17-18, 2012

Vision Statement

We envision a future in which Native Americans are no longer underrepresented in the geosciences. We look to a future where native scientists take a leadership role in helping to steer our country towards a more sustainable and environmentally ethical relationship with the Earth. To appreciate and advance the geosciences while being respectful of indigenous cultures, we articulate the following values:

• We focus on supporting students, even as we recognize that we all are students.

• We respect both western and indigenous approaches to knowing about the Earth, while

recognizing that indigenous approaches historically have been undervalued.

• We believe that there are many paths to being a scientist and many traditions to draw

from. Therefore, there is no single best practice. Instead, we offer a collection of effective

strategies to draw from.

• We will create ways for students to become scientists while holding onto and even

strengthening their traditional knowledge.

• We are inclusive: our focus on increasing Native Americans in the geosciences doesn’t

confine membership to either geoscientists or Native Americans.

• We will explore, make mistakes, forgive and learn together.

Thoughts on blending traditional knowledge and mainstream math and science academics and careers

  • To get a peer reviewed paper out you have to throw away the interesting things
  • We don’t have a way to communicate our knowledge. There is no venue for that
  • It is hard to quantify traditional knowledge and put into Western terms
  • Lack of respect for traditional knowledge:  i.e., depression study – asked elders cause of their depression – they said “No Moose” – moose repopulation program started – decrease in depression rates – but this wasn’t allowed as a dissertation topic
  • A body of science literature is not necessary – does it work or not? (they spent $100,000’s to figure out wild rice fluctuates. Any old man can tell you that.)
  • Western science doesn’t respect our own ability to observe
  • International Global Climate Change only accepts data from peer reviewed journal articles – they don’t accept Native knowledge
  • I am working with a local tribe and would like to talk to them about traditional names for landmarks which have not been named on official maps on BLM lands. The tribe seems open to it, but my advisor says the only thing that is important is the science. Yet he is able to write on his grant that he is working with a Native student and with a local tribe.
  • I work with Leech Lake tribal archaeology. I found wild rice in pots that was able to be dated. It is 3000 years old.

o   I don’t think science and traditional knowledge are enemies. Most scientists I work with are interested in traditional knowledge.

  • Science is a good partner. If we have a future, it is there in the past.
  • There are published accounts where Native Knowledge is discounted until published in a Western journal. We (academics) will grab a paper off the internet and cite the person as being an expert, but won’t count the Native American who has been there and made the observation.
  • There is an assumption that math and science didn’t exist before the White man came. They haven’t changed that opinion, we know better.
  • In the past Western Science was “done to” Natives. That is where the resistance comes from.
    • Who is driving the science?
    • In participatory programs, where is the benefit to the people?
    • There are negative and positive aspects. 9.9 out of 10 times nothing ever comes back from the study.
    • How do you establish a value you can quantify?
  • Education is a problem for scientists. There are differences in approach.
  • In Western Science a hot topic is biomimicry — maybe other species have solved this problem. Emulation has been going on in Native Science for ages.
    • People who came up with the kayaks did it some way.
  • In our academic world how do we come to some way of recognizing these results that don’t fit the scientific method? How do you make that mesh?
  • How was your response in naming the landforms?
    • Give a presentation to the elders. And schoolchildren.
  • We must work together for the benefit of the land.
  • Ecologists are very much interested in this.
  • The way I was taught was by living it every day.
  • Most archaeologists prefer to work with places that have established protocols.
    • Wild rice was established by both Euro-Americans and Native Americans and has been used here for a long time. What can we do to promote its use again?