Senior Scientist for Geostationary Earth Orbit Observations

Greenbelt, Maryland
Nov 07, 2019
Nov 15, 2019
Full Time


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) deploys data that can save lives & inform communities to be environmentally and economically resilient. This position is located in the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite System (GOES) Program Office. The GOES Office conducts requirement studies; systems planning; engineering; the acquisition, integration, installation, & acceptance of GOES systems.

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The Senior Scientist is recognized nationally and internationally as an authority and leader in satellite remote sensing for various earth orbit observations systems. Opinions and technical positions of the incumbent contribute greatly toward the development of policies and programs within NOAA and other agencies. The Senior Scientist serves as a spokesperson for GOES-R series and Geostationary Earth Orbit Observations (GEO). As an internationally recognized expert in satellite remote sensing and related sciences, the incumbent chairs and/or serves on committees and teams which influence the direction of future satellite remote sensing capabilities and scientific research. The incumbent identifies national and agency needs for the use of satellite data to study atmospheric and oceanic problems. The research involves development of the scientific justification for improved satellite instrumentation, development and improvement of satellite remote sensing applications. The Senior Scientist's research requires a broad vision of the scientific issues, and also requires insight in discerning the contributions that will be of highest value to NOAA's mission and Strategic Plan goals. The position plays a major role in formulating and leading NESDIS' expanding responsibilities in national and international scientific assessment activities that support major elements of NOAA's satellite programs and contribute in understanding weather and other environmental processes around the world.

Specific duties of the Senior Scientist for GEO include:
  • Provides the principal scientific guidance to the NESDIS leadership during the formulation of performance requirements and architectural stages, as well as safeguarding those scientific requirements during the implementation phase. Serves as the key adviser to the SPD in decisions impacting performance, cost, and schedule as well as decisions that trade among competing instrument suites and operational constraints on the spacecraft. Assists the SPD in optimizing scientific performance.
  • Serves as independent expert and representative of the science and user communities responsible for ensuring the scientific integrity at all stages of satellite development. Supports the formulation of the mission-level architecture of spacecraft and instruments to optimize scientific return. Provides scientific rationales to define the instrument suites with performance requirements for measurements and derived products that satisfy user needs. Reviews mission-level scientific performance during the implementation of the mission.
  • Evaluates user requirements, and transforms these requirements for data, products, and services, into GEO applicable technical requirements. Works with the NOAA, NESDIS and GOES user community to define the users' needs, operational requirements, and science data product requirements for the GEO mission through the GEO Operational Requirements Working Group (GORWG). Serves as Chairman of the GORWG. Assures the mission serves NOAA's vision and goals, operations, and user requirements defined by the GORWG. Provides leadership in assuring that the instrument data are effectively used by the ultimate clients of the mission through education and proving ground techniques.
  • Maintains technical liaison with NASA and other agencies, ensuring approved programs have the required capability to sustain NESDIS/GEO satellite remote sensing. Participates in technical and engineering support for international cooperation with U.S. operational remote sensing satellite systems, including compatibility of space systems and ground data processing functions.
  • Communicates with interagency and international counterparts on matters of scientific coordination including World Meteorological Organization and European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. Convenes science and application working groups to suggest revisions of the system requirements for senior management review and to review program accomplishments.
  • Evaluates and recommends approaches to science algorithm development. Evaluates and recommends improvements in the instruments and ground processing. Communicates findings and recommendations to the SPD, to other NOAA scientists, and to the data users. Responsible for the study and projection of present and future needs, establishing goals, the formulation of alternative policies and reevaluating progress to assure that plan objectives are realized in putting the plans into effect.
  • Directs systematic, critical, intensive investigation toward the development of new or fuller scientific knowledge. Develops the principles, criteria, methods, and a body of data of general applicability for use by others.

  • Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Occasional travel is required to attend meetings and conferences.

    Supervisory status

    Promotion Potential


    Conditions of Employment

    • Incumbent may be subject to geographic mobility.
    • Ability to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance.
    • Newly appointed ST members must serve a 1 year probationary period.
    • Position is subject to pre-employment background investigation.
    • Public Financial Disclosure (OGE-278 filing within 30 days is required).
    • Position is subject to random drug testing.

    All applicants will be evaluated by a panel to determine the degree to which they possess the Mandatory Professional/Technical Qualifications (PTQs). To be rated and considered for this position, applicants are requested to fully describe their experience in each of the following PTQs. When addressing the PTQs, please use the first person as you assess and describe your qualifications. PTQ Documentation should be attached under "Writing Example One" once you have completed the online questionnaire.

    Professional/Technical Core Qualifications (PTQ):

    PTQ 1 - At least 3 years of comprehensive knowledge and experience in remote sensing satellites, their mechanisms, ground control, data acquisition and processing system, as well as high-level technical capability in the range of scientific disciplines as related to state-of-the-art earth remote-sensing satellite development.

    PTQ 2 - Demonstrated knowledge and experience in the area of applications of satellite data and services for end-user purposes with at least 1 year of experience in planning and executing specialized programs that show outstanding research attainments.

    Note: Responses to PTQs must not exceed 2 pages per PTQ, for a total of 4 pages.

    Do not enter "Refer to Resume" to explain your answer. Applications directing the reader to search within the application or to "See Resume" are considered incomplete and WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. Failure to submit a narrative statement or address any of the PTQs is also considered incomplete and WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. As a result, you will be rated as "INCOMPLETE".


    To meet the minimum qualifications for this position, you must possess all of the Professional/Technical Qualifications (PTQs). These qualifications would typically be acquired through education, experience, and training which reflect progressive development and achievement in leading teams and/or projects for a comprehensive business program in a complex organization. An individual's total experience and education must demonstrate the ability to perform the duties of the position.

    Your responses will be evaluated by a human resources specialist/and or a subject matter expert against the information you provide in your online resume and/or by reference checks. Falsifying your background, education, and/or experience is cause for non-employment.

    Do not enter "Refer to Resume" to explain your answer. Applications directing the reader to search within the application or to "See Resume" are considered incomplete and WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. Failure to submit a narrative statement or address any of the PTQs is also considered incomplete and WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. As a result, you will be rated as "INCOMPLETE".

    In addition to the PTQs, applicants must meet the scientific qualifications of the position:

    1. The incumbent must possess significant experience in designing, directing, and evaluating theoretical, experimental, and operational research studies of a complex and interactive nature. Studies must withstand the critical review of the scientific community and of management, and contribute crucially to NOAA's scientific mission. The incumbent must show advanced research knowledge to develop mathematical prediction models of the atmosphere and joint ocean-atmosphere systems, as well as initialization of such models from available observations.

    2. The incumbent must exercise the highest levels of creativity and critical judgment in order to initiate, review and/or advocate for the systematic investigation of theory, experimentation, and/or model simulation experiments.

    3. The incumbent is a sought after expert on key scientific questions such as the scope and content of applied research programs, or the advisability of undertaking particular satellite programs. Has earned a professional reputation in the field of earth remote sensing satellite development evidenced by citations, patents, publications (including refereed publications in relevant archival journals), which impact knowledge in the field. Holds status in the profession as indicated by memberships and activity in professional and scientific/engineering societies; honor awards, and other recognition; and leadership in the scientific/engineering community. Election as a Fellow of a professional and scientific society or other comparable national/international recognition is highly desirable.

    4. The incumbent must possess a demonstrated ability to effectively communicate highly complex scientific concepts and topics, some controversial in nature, with executive level leadership, representatives of user communities and other lay audiences in order to advocate, promote and achieve mission objectives.

    Your responses will be evaluated by a human resources specialist/and or a subject matter expert against the information you provide in your online resume and/or by reference checks. Falsifying your background, education, and/or experience is cause for non-employment.


    A. Degree: physical science, engineering, or mathematics that included 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science such as mechanics, dynamics, properties of materials, and electronics.


    B. Combination of education and experience -- education equivalent to one of the majors shown in A above that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

    Additional information

    Background Investigation: This position is designated as Top Secret and requires that a background investigation be conducted and favorably adjudicated in order to establish security eligibility.

    Financial Disclosure: This position is covered under the Ethics in Government Act, which requires comprehensive financial disclosures from employees. The appointee will be required to file a Public Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-278), within 30 days after his/her appointment, and then annually thereafter.

    Mobility: You may be required to travel.

    Direct Deposit: All Federal employees are required by P.L. 104-134 to have federal payments made by Direct Deposit.

    Drug Testing: Applicants tentatively selected for employment in any position are subject to designated and/or random pre-employment and employment urinalysis. Applicants who refuse to be tested will be denied employment and/or removed from employment with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce.

    False Statements: If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired, you may be fired after you begin work, or you may be subject to fine, imprisonment, or other disciplinary action.

    The materials you send with your application will not be returned.

    Please DO NOT put your SSN on pages within your application package. Privacy Act - Privacy Act Notice (PL 93-579): The information requested here is used to determine qualifications for employment and is authorized under Title 5 U.S.C. 3302 and 3361.

    Signature - Before you are hired, you will be required to sign and certify the accuracy of the information in your application.

    Selective Service: Male applicants born after 12/31/1959, who are required to register with the Selective Service under section 3 of the Military Selective Service Act, must be registered (or must have registered at the time they were required to do so) in order to be eligible for appointment. For more information, visit the SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM web site at .

    The Department of Commerce provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify James Triem, the servicing Human Resources Specialist, either by e-mail at or by telephone at (301) 628-1882. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis. TTY users may contact us via the Federal Relay Service, 1-800-877-8339.

    The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factor.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    Applicants who meet or exceed minimum qualifications will be assigned to one of three category groups based on job-related criteria:

    •Best Qualified

    •Well Qualified


    This category rating process does not add veteran's preference points or apply the ‘rule of three'.

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Top Secret

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    Failure to provide such documentation when requested will result in lost consideration.

    1. Resume

    2. Transcripts (Official or Unofficial) from the institution's registrar; dean or other appropriate official; or equivalent documentation which confirms completion of requirement for the required degree.

    If you have completed any part of your education outside of the U.S., you must submit the evaluation of your foreign education that has been prepared by an accredited organization. Please refer to for more information.

    3. For current Federal employees: You are encouraged to submit your most recent SF-50 (Notification of Personnel Action) that documents your current tenure, position title, series and grade level.

    4. PTQ narrative responses should be attached under "Professional Technical Qualifications (PTQs)".

    Applicants who fail to submit requested documents WILL NOT receive consideration for this position. Application will result in an "Incomplete" rating.

    If you are unable to upload documents, you may fax your documents using the instructions below. Please fax with the appropriate cover sheet. Please refer to the fax cover sheet for the fax number. Each document must be dialed and faxed in separately as each sheet includes an identification number, which ensures your document is processed correctly.

    FAXING INSTRUCTIONS: Please fax legible documents using the appropriate cover sheet. Documents may be faxed at any time during the open period of this announcement by going to

    1. Log into MYUSAJOBS

    2. Click on "Applications"

    3. Locate the vacancy you applied to

    4. Under "Applicant Status" column, click on "More Information"

    5. Select "View/Generate Fax Cover Sheet" and click "Continue"

    Do not submit any additional information that is not required: Extraneous materials such as award certificates will not be considered.

    If you do not have access to the internet, please contact the Human Resources Specialist listed on this vacancy announcement.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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