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Department of Mineral Sciences

Izalco Volcano

Postdoctoral Job Opportunity: Research Geologist (IS-11)

  • Posted: November 3, 2017
  • Salary: $66,510
  • Open Period: Accepting applications until a suitable candidate is found.
  • Duty Location: Washington, DC
  • PDF: Official Announcement

The Department of Mineral Sciences invites applications for the position of Research Geologist in support of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission on topics related to global geologic mapping and sample-site selection. The postdoctoral fellow will undertake a variety of short- and long-term science tasks throughout the mission in collaboration with mission Co-Investigators at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD, and at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO. Before the sample site selection process they will participate in building software to integrate maps of hazardous objects and regions, and to combine numerous geologic and imaging maps to aid the construction of global and local maps of “sample-ability”. Throughout the mission they participate in mapping the global geology of Bennu and in the interpretation of the observed geology. This position will require travel for proximity operations to Tucson and/or Boulder at one trip per month for the period July 1, 2018 to Nov. 30, 2019, travel to team meetings during the entire period of appointment, and travel to professional meetings.

Candidates should have some geologic mapping experience. Candidates should demonstrate strong programming skills (C, C++, statistical) and expertise in GIS, including ArcInfo and/or ENVI, to lead the effort translating data products between map formats and platforms. Expertise with JMars, JAsteroid, or Small Bodies Mapping Tool (SBMT) would be beneficial. Experience with irregular bodies, primitive bodies, or organic-rich bodies is preferred. The successful candidate will have a strong track record of published research commensurate with level of experience.

The Dept. of Mineral Sciences consists of experts in meteoritics, petrology, volcanology, and mineralogy, housing world-class collections in these areas. While the major focus of the fellowship is geologic mapping, the selected fellow will have access to instrumentation for the characterization of meteorites that may be relevant to understand lithologic variation on Bennu. The ability to effectively communicate with a wide variety of audiences, including the public, is essential. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to participate in museum activities, such as educational outreach activities, and to be involved with professional associations and other organizations within the scientific community.

Full-time, temporary appointment to be filled initially for a period of one year beginning on or about July 1, 2018, renewable up to three (3) years upon satisfactory performance. Full Smithsonian benefits at the IS-11 level, equivalent to Federal GS-11. Proof of authorization to work in US required. The museum’s authorized salary for this position at this time is $66,510 per annum.


  • Pre-employment Background Investigation must be successfully completed.
  • Must be able to travel and work independently as well as within a team environment.

Candidates may qualify for this position by demonstrating the experience outlined above, by completion of three full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree related to the position, or by a combination of experience and education.

The Smithsonian Institution offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive package of benefits. This is not a Federal Position, but has similar requirements and benefits. For a complete description of benefits, please visit

Interested candidates should submit their curriculum vitae (CV) (heavily annotated as explained below), names and contact information for three referees, and a cover letter that includes a research statement and other qualifications relevant to the position to Please include the position title in the subject line of your e-mail. CVs should include a description of your paid and non-paid work experience that is related to this job; starting and ending dates of job (Month and year); and average number of hours worked per week – please note that this information is required to be considered for this position. Reference letters will be requested from select candidates at a later date. Qualified candidates who are referred to the hiring official will be asked to submit educational transcripts and proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study. This is absolutely required in order to be considered.

To learn more about the Department of Mineral Sciences please visit

For more information, contact Tim McCoy, Supervisory Research Geologist, 202.633.2206,

The Smithsonian Institution is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

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