Synthesis Post-doc Program

NCED2’s flagship research program is the Synthesis Postdoc program, which aims to create a small, highly interactive community of postdocs and mentors who collaborate on a research theme in Earth-surface processes. The research theme is updated periodically with community input.

The theme for 2017/2018 is Earthcasting: case studies in predicting Earth-surface response to change.

The key elements to the Synthesis Postdoc program include:

  • the proposed research must directly address the current theme
  • each postdoc has at least two advisor-mentors
  • the advisor-mentors between them provide 50% of the postdoc salary support and NCED2 provides the other 50%
  • each postdoc must be in regular communication (typically via online meetings) with the rest of the postdoc group

The field and the makeup of the postdoc team are open to all research areas represented by the NSF Surface Earth Processes (SEP) section. We encourage connections among subfields and to other surface-relevant areas of science and engineering. Earthcasting is still being defined by the community; we are aim to foster novel, research-grade predictions of surface change on time scales from years to millennia. Beyond that  we require only that (1) the predictions pertain to an important aspect of Earth-surface dynamics and (2) the proposal include both predictions (the 'Earthcast') and a means of testing them. All proposals that fulfill the basic requirements listed above will be evaluated for their potential to provide powerful examples of ‘Earthcasting’ in action.

NCED2’s role is to help organize and support the postdoc collaboration. Means of doing this include financial support as explained below, workshops, webinars/web discussions, sessions at meetings, participation in the SIESD summer institute, joint experimental work at SAFL, and field work at affiliated sites such as the Wax Lake Delta observatory. NCED2 also helps synthesis post-docs participate in outreach programs including the Science Museum of Minnesota and other informal-education venues, undergraduate research initiatives, and NCED2 programs for increasing the participation of Native Americans and other minorities in the Earth sciences.

Financial support. Our intent is to create research groups that are collaborative on two levels: first, each synthesis postdoc acts as the nucleus of a small research team comprising the postdoc and at least two advisors; and second, the postdocs interact with each other and create a research network. To catalyze formation of the research teams, NCED2 provides up to 50% funding of the postdoc’s salary (i.e. salary, fringe benefits, and overhead, but not ancillary support such as general travel, lab costs, technician time, field assistants, etc.; NCED2 can provide limited support for expenses directly related to collaboration within the postdoc group)  for each year of participation. The advising/mentoring team must provide the other 50%, i.e. we expect the advisors to provide 50% of the postdoc funding between them. We would like the postdoc and advising/mentoring team to participate in the collaboration for a  full year. Extension to a second year may be possible depending on progress of the research and the evolution of NCED’s research theme.

Ideally, one advisor is a young (pre-tenure) researcher, and the advisors represent different fields, career stages, approaches, and/or institutions. We actively seek women and minority postdocs and mentors. Participation by graduate and undergraduate students is welcome and encouraged but NCED2 funding is strictly limited to postdoc salary as explained above. We especially encourage multi-disciplinary advisor combinations.

If you have additional questions about this program, please email NCED2 Lead PI, Chris Paola.

Applications are now filled for the 2017-2018 year.