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Senior Research Scientist - Center Director

Columbia University
New York City, NY
Closing date
Nov 24, 2023

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Organization Type
I. BASIC FUNCTIONThe Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) seeks a Senior Research Scientist to serve as its Director. This position will report to the Climate School's Dean. The Director will:
  • Provide overall leadership of CIESIN, including its strategic development as an internationally recognized nongovernmental organization, its evolving role in research, practice, and education in the Columbia Climate School (CCS) and Columbia University more generally, and its sustainability in terms of finances, human resources, technical capacity, and scientific leadership.
  • Maintain and expand major federal funding initiatives, through NASA and other agencies. Share vision of how CIESIN's technical capacity-including data sciences, remote sensing, and modeling-and interdisciplinary subject matter expertise can support new partnerships and initiatives, within and beyond federal agencies.
  • Oversee staff recruitment, supervision, and evaluation; ensure sound management of sponsored projects; initiate and pursue development and proposal efforts with relevant CCS offices; represent CIESIN as appropriate in the CCS, including the CCS faculty and other bodies; and oversee compliance with applicable University, CCS, Federal, and other policies and procedures.
  • Represent CIESIN, including its projects, staff, capabilities, and accomplishments, in relevant local, regional, national, and international venues and in interactions with partners, funders, networks, and other stakeholder communities.
  • Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism (DEIA) both within CIESIN, at the CCS, and in broader communities and networks in which CIESIN is active.
  • Develop appropriate strategies and initiatives to strengthen CIESIN's scientific and technical capacity and visibility, and to improve its financial sustainability and resilience, in coordination with the CCS leadership and other elements of the CCS and Columbia University.

  • Develop, implement, and monitor progress of CIESIN strategic initiatives and plans, large funding proposals, and major programs in coordination with relevant CIESIN staff and partners.
  • Oversee CIESIN's annual budget, human resource issues, reporting and compliance, and other administrative policies and procedures, in coordination with relevant CIESIN staff and CCS and CU offices.
  • Oversee CIESIN sponsored projects, activities, and proposal development in terms of project obligations, finances, and compliance, in coordination with relevant CIESIN, CCS, and Columbia staff and partners.
  • Represent CIESIN in key external organizations and networks relevant to CIESIN's mission, strategic priorities, sponsors, and partnerships.
  • Represent CIESIN in CCS governance where appropriate and ensure CIESIN engagement in CCS committees, initiatives, programs, and other activities.
  • Oversee hiring, supervision, and evaluation of deputy director, associate directors, and other senior staff, taking into account DEIA goals and CIESIN and CCS needs and opportunities.
  • Initiate and pursue CIESIN development and institutional advancement efforts and support CCS development initiatives as appropriate.
  • Oversee CIESIN outreach and outputs in terms of quality, focus, impact, balance, and resource investment.
  • Oversee improvement of CIESIN mission statement, priorities, policies, procedures, and practices on an ongoing basis in light of evolving CCS, CU, and other applicable requirements, policies, and goals.


Budget responsibility of up to $20 million.
  • Doctorate in social, natural, health, or engineering science or equivalent work experience, and at least 10 years of experience in interdisciplinary research and/or practice related to human interactions in the environment or sustainable development.
  • Interest in and experience with data science, scientific data management, decision support systems, and/or information technology preferred.
  • Expertise in one or more of the following areas: environmental justice; population dynamics; climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation; food and land use & change; environment/security connections; climate mitigation and policy; sustainability science.
  • Technical experience in one or more of the following: remote sensing, geospatial information science and technology, social science data, data science, climate and environmental modeling, data and information integration.
  • Demonstrated program or center leadership, project management, fundraising, and oral/written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead interdisciplinary teams of researchers and/or practitioners.
  • Demonstrated ability to publish both scientific papers and general interest articles.
  • Experience preferred in providing leadership in national or international or subject-matter networks, organizations, or communities involved in human-environment interactions and/or scientific data management and applications.
  • Experience preferred in educational programs, technical training, and/or capacity building, especially related to sustainable development or DEIA.
  • Experience preferred in institutional advancement and development activities.
Application Instructions
The salary range is $150,000-180,000 for the Senior Research Scientist role and $25,000-30,000 for the duties of Center Director. The Climate School values diversity and inclusion, and encourages applications from members of underrepresented minority groups.
Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Pay Transparency Disclosure

The salary of the finalist selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to departmental budgets, qualifications, experience, education, licenses, specialty, and training. The above hiring range represents the University's good faith and reasonable estimate of the range of possible compensation at the time of posting.
College / School / Unit Columbia University in the City of New York DepartmentClimate SchoolLocation Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Salary Range $175,000 - $210,000 Posted Sep 19, 2023 Apply ByOpen until filled

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