Research Scientists, The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)

Primary Function

Battelle manages and operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project, which is solely funded by the National Science Foundation. A 30+ year project dedicated to understanding how changes in climate, land use and invasive species impact ecology, the observatory’s scientists and engineers are collecting a comprehensive range of ecological data on a continental scale across 20 eco-climatic domains representing US ecosystems. Our teams use cutting-edge technology, including an airborne observation platform that captures images of regional landscapes and vegetation; mobile, relocatable, and fixed data collection sites with automated ground sensors to monitor soil and atmosphere; and trained field crews who observe and sample populations of diverse organisms and collect soil and water data. Once structures are completed, a leading edge cyberinfrastructure will calibrate, store and publish this information. The Observatory includes more than 500+ personnel and is the first of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales.

We are currently seeking a Research Scientist - Ecoinformatics . This position located in Boulder, CO .

The Research Scientist – Ecoinformatics will be part of the NEON Science Team that is responsible for operating, maintaining, and ensuring the success of a national program to collect >175 data products from 81 sites throughout the US for over 30 years. The Science Team develops, maintains, and improves field and lab protocols, derives data processing algorithms and algorithms for data QA/QC and uncertainty estimates, supports field personnel, and works closely with the NEON Cyberinfrastructure Team to produce high quality data products for the research, education, and decision-making communities. In addition, NEON scientists actively engage the NEON user community through conference attendance, running technical working groups, workshop organization and participation, and collaborations on grants and manuscripts. The Research Scientist – Ecoinformatics will be primarily responsible for supporting the Data Portal team to provide high quality, user-friendly interfaces to NEON data, metadata, and documentation and to ensure interoperability with other data-generating networks.

Major Responsibilities

  • Provide support to NEON’s end users, including responding to inquiries, providing inputs back to the Data Portal team for prioritization, and enhancing existing systems for receiving and responding to feedback and requests.
  • Generate content for the data portal blog and other external facing updates, newsletters, and websites.
  • Support generation of metrics of data use, including enhancements to existing tools.
  • Support metadata generation for the NEON Biorepository and site hosts, including enhancements to existing tools.
  • Manage Science Team’s Shiny Server (, including maintenance of R packages and Shiny applications used for data product development
  • Manage the Data Portal’s document library.
  • Curate NEON’s prototype datasets.
  • Assist with the data management between outsourced data providers and NEON Science and Cyberinfrastructure teams.
  • Provide technical support and guidance to NEON data users.
  • Build partnerships with college/university faculty, researchers and other stakeholders to enhance NEON data product delivery.
  • Represent Battelle and the NEON program at conferences, meetings and other appropriate events to network, share resources, and establish/maintain partnerships.
  • Develop, test and implement software tools and/or packages that can be used to process and/or analyze NEON data, both for internal NEON use and to facilitate NEON data use by the scientific community.
  • Collaborate with other Battelle/NEON scientists and with the scientific community at large in prioritizing topics and functionality for development.
  • Contribute to other NEON project deliverables as needed.


  • Bachelor’s degree in ecology, natural sciences, environmental science and/or related area with strong ecological and data science background with 5 – 8 years of experience OR
  • Master’s degree in ecology, natural sciences, environmental science and/or related area with strong ecological and data science background with 2 – 5 years of experience OR
  • PhD with 0 – 2 years of experience
  • Proficiency in R or Python
  • Demonstrated skills working with large scientific datasets and working with key data analysis or workflow tools needed to work with large, ecological datasets
  • Demonstrated skills in data management and data analysis of a variety of data types.
  • Ability to speak in public to a diversity of audiences including scientists, science educators, college/university faculty, college-level students, and funding agency (NSF) program directors
  • Strong problem solving and analytical skills
  • Proven ability to write and edit scientific literature or content for public delivery.


  • Ph.D. in ecology, natural sciences, environmental science and/or related area with strong ecological and data science background
  • Experience with bioinformatics data, including metagenomic and marker gene data and associated metadata standards (e.g., MIxS)
  • Proficiency in R and Python, including the development of packages and automated workflows
  • Experience working with online collaboration and development tools, such as GitHub, JupyterHub, DockerHub
  • Competence in web content development utilizing basic HTML and CSS layout
  • Experience in data standards (e.g., Ecological Metadata Language [EML], DarwinCore), ontologies, and semantics
  • Experience developing and funding projects through grant proposals to federal agencies (e.g., NSF, NASA, NOAA), foundations and/or local/regional funding organizations.

To apply: