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Post Doctoral Researcher, Coastal Hazards, Equity, Economic prosperity, and Resilience (CHEER)

Apply now Job no: 499581
College / VP Area: Research Office
Work type: Staff
Location: Newark
Categories: Research & Laboratory, Full Time

The Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware seeks a postdoctoral scholar to work on an NSF Coastlines and People project: Coastal Hazards, Equity, Economic prosperity, and Resilience (CHEER).  The scholar will engage with a diverse team of researchers, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students from a dozen universities, including the Cornell University, Boston University, University of Florida, University of California Los Angeles, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, East Carolina University, North Carolina State University, University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and SUNY Stony Brook. The scholar will be primarily advised by Drs. Joseph Trainor and A.R. Siders, at the University of Delaware, and the scholar will be primarily based in Newark, Delaware, but there are opportunities to spend time at partner universities and the scholar will be expected to spend some time in the field in our case study locations. The scholar will support research to understand government and household decision-making processes, criteria, and outcomes related to hurricanes, floods, and climate adaptation. The ideal candidate will be able to communicate across disciplines; be familiar with research methods including interviews, surveys, and legal analysis; and serve as an independent scholar and mentor within the team. Candidates should have a PhD in sociology, public policy, disaster science, geography, or a related field.  

About CHEER:

Community resilience has become a guiding ideal for how to address escalating impacts of hazards in coastal regions. Nevertheless, it remains challenging to achieve in practice. We hypothesize that this is due, in part, to constraints imposed by the parallel, and sometimes competing, objectives of equity and economic prosperity, particularly in the context of climate change. To address this challenge, the proposed Hub will focus on understanding the tensions among these issues. Specifically, the Hub research goals are to: (1) Identify, explain, and quantify the interactions and tradeoffs among the coastal community goals of equity, economic prosperity, and resilience to hazards; (2) Develop methods to model long-term hurricane hazards in a way that accounts for climate change and integrates multiple hazards—wind, rain, storm surge, waves; and (3) Develop a framework to design and evaluate policy interventions that can achieve sustainable equity, economic prosperity, and coastal resilience in the context of climate change.

The framework will serve as the basis of a decision support tool to inform disaster policy in a way that takes community members’ needs into account. Dynamic and spatial, it will consist of seven interacting modules describing the interactive decision-making of three stakeholder types--(1) households, (2) insurers, and (3) three levels of government; and the natural, built, and economic environments in which those decisions are made—(4) hazards, (5) damage/loss, (6) buildings, and (7) economy. The modeling framework results will include: (a) recommended government policies designed with an awareness of how insurers and households are likely to act in response; (b) outcomes for each stakeholder type that show how each is likely to be affected, including uncertainties in impact variability over time and heterogeneity within stakeholder types; and (c) based on those stakeholder-specific outcomes, assessments of overall community equity, economic prosperity, and resilience over time. Hub research will focus on three case study areas—Eastern North Carolina; Port Arthur, TX; and Houston, TX. 

This postdoctoral scholar will primarily support research efforts in the Household and Government thrusts, though the scholar will need to communicate and coordinate with other aspects of the project including community engagement, hazards, built environment, and loss. Candidates do not need previous experience working with computational models, but they should be able to communicate with modelers, engineers, economists, and other disciplines. 


Duties include: Project management; research design, in collaboration with faculty; supervising or conducting data collection, cleaning, organization, and analysis; field visits and observations; supervising graduate student or undergraduate researchers; writing manuscripts and presenting results to academic, professional, and community audiences. 

Background knowledge desired: Doctoral degree in sociology, public policy, disaster science, geography, or a related field.  Knowledge of research ethics, disaster studies, governance, and research methods including interviews, document analysis [laws and policies], and surveys. Experience working with household surveys, conducting community-engaged research, or legal analysis is desired but not required. 

Skills desired: Strong research design and data analysis skills; ability to work independently and to supervise others; primary data collection; strong academic writing and presentation skills. 

This position is a 12-month position. The position is for two years with a possibility of a third year, depending on funding and project activities needed. Start date can be between July 2023 and October 2023.

To apply, please include a cover letter stating relevant experience and describing interest in position and desired start date, a current CV, and the names and contact information for three references. References will only be contacted for finalists.

Review of applications will begin February 1st. 




Notice of Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The University of Delaware does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, disability, religion, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in its employment, educational programs and activities, admissions policies, and scholarship and loan programs as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Delaware also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

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