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Specialist or Project Scientist

Expiration Date: 

The Institute of Marine Sciences [] at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), working in conjunction with the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA Fisheries), invites applications for the positions of Specialist or Project Scientist. The Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) is an organized research unit whose mission is to increase knowledge of the world’s oceans and inhabitants to better understand their economic importance and the impact people have on them. Through this effort, IMS maintains the responsibility to encourage, develop, and support marine research and education and does this by providing research opportunities, resources, facilities, and support for scientists within the institute and with other marine research institutions.

As part of its mission’s efforts, IMS launched the Fisheries Collaborative Program (FCP) to help foster research collaborations between NOAA scientists, UCSC faculty, IMS researchers, and students. The FCP’s research activities include field studies, laboratory experiments, modeling, and computational studies involving marine and freshwater species and habitats. Comprehensive studies are being conducted on the ecology and life history of Pacific salmonids and other fishes. FCP research supports the conservation of coastal biodiversity and the sustainable management of fisheries resources.

The new appointee(s) will work directly on a multi-institutional FCP research project that will explore climate resilience and equity in California water management. The project brings together multidisciplinary researchers to broaden the scope and improve the interpretability and accessibility of projections for California’s managed water resources. This ambitious two-year effort will leverage expertise at many University of California campuses, including UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC San Diego/Scripps Institution of Oceanography, but also seeks to develop new expertise through the employment and training of postdoctoral scholars and other academic researcher positions who will assist in many technical aspects of the work.

The appointee(s) will focus on water resources system modeling of the California Central Valley using the CalSim planning models (CalSim3, CalLite) and related hydrologic and agricultural water demand models. This position will be responsible for assisting the project water resources team with the development of a large ensemble of scenarios to explore the sensitivities of water resource outcomes (delivery reliability, shortages, water quality and ecological impacts) to variability in future climate, operational priorities, and system demands. This work will be done as part of a large collaborative effort across six UC campuses and multiple other parties, requiring good communication skills and an ability to work with collaborators from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and expertise.

The scientist(s) filling this position will frequently interact with collaborators focused on the following efforts: developing downscaled climate model-based hydrologic datasets, articulating operations scenarios for implementation, and adapting and interpreting CalSim outputs for use in other models (Delta salinity, salmon life cycle, economics, etc).

Job duties may include:
● data processing and visualization,
● converting operational rules into computer code,
● model workflow setup and execution,
● interpretation and communication of results,
● documentation of methods and outcomes.
● The position may also contribute to the design and execution of analysis to explore scientific inquiries developed
during the project.

Institute of Marine Sciences
Fisheries Collaborative Program (FCP) — Specialist/Project Scientist

A successful applicant will have:
● exceptional attention to detail,
● ability to communicate clearly in written and oral forms,
● the ability to work independently and proactively in a dynamic collaborative environment.

The positions are fully funded for two years, with the potential for continuing appointments based on funding availability, and can be performed remotely. The positions will work under the supervision of Dr. James Gilbert, Associate Project Scientist in the Fisheries Collaborative Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The hiring unit will not sponsor employment-eligible immigration statuses for this position.

Junior Specialist, Assistant Specialist, Associate Specialist, Specialist, Assistant Project Scientist, Associate Project Scientist, or Project Scientist, determined by the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. Additional information on the qualifications for each rank is available on the recruitment site or on the Academic Personnel Specialist Series and Project Scientist sites.

Commensurate with qualifications and experience. Refer to the individual salary scale for the Represented Specialist Series Fiscal Year and Represented Project Scientist Series in the UCSC Salary Scales.

Baccalaureate degree (or foreign equivalent degree) in fisheries sciences and management, marine biology and biological oceanography, ocean/marine sciences, oceanography, ecology, evolutionary biology, environmental science, biology, or a related field.


  • A thorough understanding of the fundamentals of hydrology or water resources systems, substantiated through education or experience
  • Proficiency with common tools for computing and interacting with a range of data types, such as:
    • Spreadsheets (Excel)
    • Databases
    • GIS software
    • Scripting or compiled programming language (e.g. Python, R, Matlab, Fortran, C/C++)
  • Experience with water resources modeling processes, protocols, and implementation
  • Understanding of or experience with the managed infrastructure of California’s Central Valley, including experience with regional models like CalSim, SacWAM, CALVIN, or CalFEWS
  • Proficiency in understanding, developing, and adapting agricultural water budget and demand methods
  • Experience setting up and executing complex simulations on a range of computational platforms including HPC or cloud computing services (e.g. AWS, Azure)

Initial appointments are typically for a period of two years. Reappointment may be considered contingent upon the availability of work and appropriate funding.

As soon as possible after the initial review of the applications.

Applications are accepted via the UCSC Academic Recruit online system. All documents and materials must be submitted as PDFs.


Note: These postings are for a general Fisheries Collaborative Program recruiting pool. Application materials submitted to these postings will be reviewed in the context of the requirements for this specific position, but may be considered for other position openings as well.

▪ Letter of application that briefly summarizes your qualifications and interest in the position (required).
▪ Curriculum vitae (required).

Reference Requirement
Applicants who meet the requirements and are under serious consideration will need to provide the names and contact information of professional references (a minimum of 3 are required and a maximum of 5 will be accepted). The hiring unit will request confidential letters* from the references of those applicants prior to moving forward with an appointment request.
*All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. For any reference letter provided via a third party (e.g., dossier service, career center, etc.), direct the author to UCSC’s confidentiality statement at

Full consideration will be given to applications received by September 29, 2023. Applications received after this date will be considered only if the position has not been filled.