Environmental Remote Sensing Data Scientist 

Institute on the Environment (IonE), St. Paul MN


The University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE) is collaborating with Geofinancial Analytics and its sister company Macroclimate, an impact investment firm, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by leveraging financial markets. We seek a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in remote sensing to help us detect and quantify the impacts of industrial and agricultural practices on climate stability and ecosystem services in near real time on a continuous basis – and attribute the source to the party responsible. This position will help us expand our environmental data science team to generate actionable insights from remote sensing via satellite. Current team members come from diverse backgrounds including conservation practice, environmental economics, ecology, operations research, behavioral research, and computer science. Along with our team of environmental researchers and data scientists at IonE, you will work with our commercial partners – including product managers, sales, software engineers and aerospace engineers – to build data-driven products and solutions for the financial markets.

Our goals are that you help our team strengthen connections with the remote sensing community within and outside the Institute on the Environment, and specifically that you will also help develop a continuously-processing live data feed and provide scientific (not technical) support for end users of the data (e.g. quantitative financial analysts, financial traders, institutional asset managers). The work is fast-paced, highly iterative, and continuously trading off between what works and what is best. Data analysis typically involves rigorous testing and fact checking at every step of the way. If you enjoy working with data to build products and solve hard real-world environmental problems in creative ways, you will fit right in.

This is a Post-Doctoral Associate position and will be for a 12-month period; extension of the appointment will be dependent on availability of funding. 

For inquiries or more information, contact Dr. Eric Lonsdorf:  More information about IonE can be found at: and information about Geofinancial Analytics and Macroclimate can be found at: and, respectively.

For consideration of this position, please submit a CV, cover letter and samples of professional writing through the University of Minnesota HR application system
(   - job ID 324876).  

Job Duties

•       Build and maintain geospatial datasets – from multiple sources, updated daily – which spatially and temporally detect where and when harmful practices took place. Automate processes as needed.
•       Acquire, build and maintain datasets for attributing events to the companies responsible. Fact check like an investigative reporter as needed. 
•       Quantify emissions’ impacts on climate, ecosystem services and public health; develop normalized risk metrics for comparing practices of one company to another.
•       Conceive of and implement experiments to test hypotheses regarding (statistical) behavior of data/models/products
•       Work with commercial partner to compile, package and deliver data in a manner that is timely and actionable for financial end users
•       Be “on call” to maintain live datafeeds and provide timely pre- and post-sales scientific (not technical) support during business hours for end users
•       Translate product management, engineering, and business constraints and queries into tractable environmental data science questions
•       Iterate rapidly on everything; all of the above happens in a relatively fast-paced “business driven” environment, you must be comfortable with that.
•       Other related duties as assigned


Required Qualifications:

•       PhD in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Economics or fields with heavy focus on these disciplines
•       Demonstrable practical experience working with geospatial datasets and environmental remote sensing
•       Excellent written and verbal communication skills. You will need to be able to explain yourself and your methods both within IonE, as well at conferences, in academic papers, and with business partners and customers.
•       Experience with data analysis & visualization using Python or R
•       Experience acquiring and manipulating spatial data and knowledge of GIS data

Preferred Qualifications:

•       Prior experience with ESG/sustainability data
•       Experience with financial data/analytics and
•       Experience with predictive analytics and/or machine learning a plus