Postdoc: Virginia Tech: Decision-making, climate change adaptation, infrastructure

Virginia Tech’s Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at invites applications for a 12-month postdoctoral scholar position effective July 2016 ( The position is renewable for an additional 12 months based on availability of funds and satisfactory performance. The successful candidate will contribute to a multi-disciplinary, multi-institute project titled Data-driven climate change adaptation for riverine and coastal transportation infrastructure. The project is sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. The project is led by Dr. Madeleine Flint, Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. Co-PIs on the project are Dr. Noah Diffenbaugh, Associate Professor of Earth System Science at Stanford University and Dr. Moetasim Ashfaq, Scientist at the Climate Change Institute at Oak Ridge National Lab.

The project will integrate a database of hydraulic bridge failures (Flint), high-resolution coupled regional climate and hydrological reanalyses and projections (Ashfaq), and methods for bias correction (Diffenbaugh) to greatly increase the accuracy of data used to assess the impact of climate change on bridge failures and their associated economic, social, and environmental impacts. When paired with strategies for robust decision-making and optimization, these data and methods offer a solutions-driven approach for adapting bridges to climate change and increasing the resilience of the US transportation infrastructure. More information about the project can be found at, under “Projects.”

The postdoctoral scholar will work closely with the PIs and is expected to lead the decision-making and optimization aspects of the project. The postdoctoral scholar will: contribute to the project research; mentor graduate and undergraduate students; disseminate their work at conferences; and receive academic and professional training. In addition to research expertise in fields related to robust decision-making and optimization, candidates should also have technical competency in statistical analysis and an appropriate programming or scripting language. This expertise is necessary so that the postdoc can contribute to tasks including: (1) performing statistical analysis of climate and hydrological reanalyses and projections in order to quantify risk of bridge failure; (2) performing bias-correction of hydrological projections and analyzing the rate of change in failure; (3) assessing economic, environmental, and social impacts of bridge failures; and (4) identifying and optimizing robust adaptation strategies.

Online applications ( will be reviewed beginning on June 23. Those wishing more information may contact Dr. Flint (