Postdoctoral Fellow - Thermal and gas dynamics of wildfires

The University of Texas
Austin, TX
Added: March 11, 2024

Job Posting Title:

Postdoctoral Fellow - Wildfire Science and Technology


Hiring Department:

Bureau of Economic Geology


Position Open To:

All Applicants


Weekly Scheduled Hours:



FLSA Status:



Earliest Start Date:



Position Duration:

Expected to Continue Until Nov 19, 2024





Job Details:

General Notes

This position will support the research activities of a NASA FireSense Technology project. This is for an in-person position at J.J. Pickle Research Campus in North Austin.


We are looking for a highly motivated individual to fill a 1-year postdoctoral fellow position (with the possibility of an extension based upon performance and project needs/funding) to assist with processing and interpretation of multispectral thermal infrared data of prescribed fires as part of a larger project on active fire (hot spot) detection, fire propagation modeling, 3D plume characterization, and assessing environmental impacts of fires. The aim of the project is to quantify the thermal and gas emissions from prescribed fires in 3D in near real-time using thermal infrared spectroscopy. This will help determine relationships between fire intensity and vegetation change, with the goal of predicting the gas emissions from prescribed and wildland fires.

The postdoctoral fellow will join a team developing novel thermal infrared imagers for UAV deployment to characterize thermal and gas emission from wildland fires. The individual will be responsible for data collection, gas retrieval algorithm development, and thermodynamic modeling of wildfires, and evaluating vegetation change based on fire severity. The position requires the integration of multiple geophysical datasets and interpretations, and the development of new concepts and methods to automate the processing of field data in near real-time to provide insights to wildland fire commanders regarding thermal and gas dynamics, burn intensity, and rate of spread.


  • Research and development of thermal infrared retrieval algorithms to characterize thermal and gas emissions from wildland fires in near real-time.
  • Develop thermodynamic models of wildland fire propagation and evaluate the impact of fire severity on vegetation change based on field results which will involve code development/automation, data collection and processing, and analysis and visualization of results.
  • Publish quality research results in peer-reviewed publications.

Required Qualifications

Ph.D. in geophysics, geology, or related field. Strong understanding of infrared spectroscopy and gas retrievals. Demonstrate experience of thermodynamical analysis of high temperature natural phenomenon. Ability to develop code/algorithms in Python or other similar platforms. Excellent data analytical skills. Demonstrated report writing and publication skills. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and professional demeanor. Ability to work both independently and effectively in a large group. Ability to work collaboratively with multiple disciplines and experts, including geologists, geophysicists, engineers, and biologists.

Degree must have been earned within the last 3 years from date of hire.

Preferred Qualifications

Some experience working on wildland fire research. Capacity to develop machine learning algorithms to increase analytical efficiency. Knowledge of environmental impacts (ecosystems and air quality) of wildland fires and responses to prescribed burning. Relevant peer-reviewed publications and conferences papers. Experience with writing professional-level codes as well as software for potential end users.

Salary Range

$65,000+ depending on qualifications.

Working Conditions

  • Uniforms and/or personal protection equipment (furnished)

  • May work in all weather conditions

  • May work in extreme temperatures

  • May work around standard office conditions

  • Repetitive use of a keyboard at a workstation

  • Use of manual dexterity

  • Occasional weekend, overtime, and evening work to meet deadlines

  • Occasional fieldwork as necessary

  • Other: will be working around active prescribed fires

Required Materials

  • Resume/CV

  • 3 work references with their contact information


Employment Eligibility:

Please make sure you meet all the required qualifications and you can perform all of the essential functions with or without a reasonable accommodation.


Retirement Plan Eligibility:

The retirement plan for this position is Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), subject to the position being at least 20 hours per week and at least 135 days in length. This position has the option to elect the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) instead of TRS, subject to the position being 40 hours per week and at least 135 days in length.


Background Checks:

A criminal history background check will be required for finalist(s) under consideration for this position.


Equal Opportunity Employer:

The University of Texas at Austin, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.


Pay Transparency:

The University of Texas at Austin will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information.


Employment Eligibility Verification:

If hired, you will be required to complete the federal Employment Eligibility Verification I-9 form.  You will be required to present acceptable and original documents to prove your identity and authorization to work in the United States.  Documents need to be presented no later than the third day of employment.  Failure to do so will result in loss of employment at the university.



The University of Texas at Austin use E-Verify to check the work authorization of all new hires effective May 2015. The university’s company ID number for purposes of E-Verify is 854197. For more information about E-Verify, please see the following:



Employees may be required to report violations of law under Title IX and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act). If this position is identified a Campus Security Authority (Clery Act), you will be notified and provided resources for reporting. Responsible employees under Title IX are defined and outlined in HOP-3031.

The Clery Act requires all prospective employees be notified of the availability of the Annual Security and Fire Safety report. You may access the most recent report here or obtain a copy at University Compliance Services, 1616 Guadalupe Street, UTA 2.206, Austin, Texas 78701.