Data Scientist, Urban Surfaces and Extreme Heat

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World Resources Institute

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30+ days ago

This position can be based in any of the following WRI’s offices: US-DC or where state registered, WRI UK, WRI Hague, WRI Mexico, WRI Colombia, WRI Brazil, WRI Mexico, WRI Ethiopia or WRI Kenya. Applicants will be expected to hold existing work authorization for their preferred location at the time application is submitted. WRI is unable to sponsor this role for visa work authorization.

About the Program:

WRI Ross Center builds on WRI’s global and local experience in urban planning and mobility and uses proven solutions and action-oriented tools to increase energy efficiency, manage water risk, improve social equity and economic opportunity, encourage effective governance and make the fast-growing urban environment more resilient to new challenges. The Cities Data Initiative is focused on leveraging new and emerging streams of data to enable more informed, integrated, strategic, and collaborative urban planning. We help focus data innovators toward meeting the needs of city decisionmakers and we build tools and local capacity to generate actionable insights from data innovations.

Job Highlight:

You will use data science methods to measure and map surface characteristics of urban areas (e.g., tree and vegetation cover, solar reflectivity, perviousness) and analyze how these characteristics influence the distribution of environmental benefits and burdens (especially heat and water) that in turn influence human health and the resilience, social equity and economic performance of cities. You will sit in the Urban Data & Tools team in WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and be affiliated with the WRI Data Lab. You will report to Senior Manager, Data & Tools, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

What will you do:

Research and computational data analysis (60% time)

  • Apply knowledge of existing literature on geospatial statistics and machine learning methods for urban surface and heat measurement to lead new tracks of work with the intent to make novel contributions to the literature.
  • Write performant code and utilize cloud computing to deliver novel and reproducible data insights and applications.
  • Apply significant knowledge of Python and/or R to deliver reproducible analysis and data science applications.
  • Apply significant knowledge of packages for spatial analysis including GDAL and rasterio.
  • Apply basic knowledge of frontend frameworks for data visualization.
  • Contribute to research design and systems architecture decisions for data science analysis and applications
  • Bring a strong foundation of knowledge in general statistics and at least one area of specialization, e.g. spatial statistics, machine learning, or econometrics.
  • Make novel statistical contributions to solving real world problems, selecting the right analysis approaches and algorithms.
  • Serve as statistical reviewer for both internal and external research.
  • Apply understanding of research ethics to make ethical decisions in the real world and escalate to manager when appropriate.
  • Mentor data analysts on computational tasks, providing code review and coaching them to learn new skills.

Data management (20% time)

  • Organize and manage multiple data projects at one time using best practices for documentation.
  • Apply knowledge of data across internal and external products to access a variety of structured data.
  • Apply knowledge of common database types to build automated data pipelines to pull and clean data without oversight.
  • Apply knowledge for management of specialized datasets such as remote sensing data, including satellite imagery and radar, and field data collected via environmental sensors and ground surveys.

Data communication (10% time)

  • Contribute significantly to the design of new data applications and products.
  • Effectively communicate data to internal and external audiences using data visualization, clear writing, and compelling presentation skills with limited oversight.
  • Lead the drafting of blogs, technical notes, and papers with limited oversight.
  • Apply knowledge of cartographic principles and map design tools and practices.

Project management (10% time)

  • Manage small teams of analysts, coordinators, and specialists to deliver projects with oversight from manager or Data Science Lead.
  • Communicate work to non-technical, senior audiences internally and externally to ensure clarity and alignment.
  • Understand and articulate where their work fits within team and organization strategy.
  • When called upon by their manager or team lead, make meaningful contributions to fundraising and external partnership efforts such as through a draft technical capacity statement, research work plan, or a research budget.

What will you need:

  • Education: You have a completed BA or BS degree in a relevant field, such as but not limited to geography, data science, urban studies, remote sensing or computer
  • Experience: You have 6+ years of full-time work experience related to geography, data science, urban studies, remote sensing, computer science, data product development, or other relevant topic.
  • Past experience in the following is preferred:
    • Designing and launching new data analysis projects from concept to launch.
    • Developing data processing pipelines for large and complex datasets.
    • Deploying advanced statistics and methods to solve real-world problems.
    • Writing efficient and reproducible code using Python and/or R and git.
    • Using cloud technologies including Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.
    • Leading small teams to delivery data analysis and applications.
  • Languages: You have verbal and written proficiency in English required and additional fluency on a language spoken in WRI Offices preferred (e.g. Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese).
  • Requirements: Existing work authorization is required where this position is based. WRI is unable to authorize visa work authorization.

How to Apply:

Please submit a resume with cover letter by February 3, 2023. Additionally, inclusion of links in your resume to a project GitHub repository or code sample is optional but encouraged. You must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

What we offer:

  • A competitive salary
  • Access to the WRI global network with the opportunity to exchange with and learn from passionate colleagues working at the cutting edge of their fields across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the US
  • The chance to have an impact and to develop your career within a mission driven organization with access to varied learning and training opportunities
  • A workplace that strives to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of our work
  • The opportunity to join and get involved in different working groups and affinity groups to shape the future of WRI
  • Long-term commitment to hybrid working model with flexible working hours
  • Generous leave days that increase with tenure

About Us:

Founded in 1982, World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities and the ocean. WRI has a global staff of over 1,800 people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps, and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

Our mission and values:

WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations.

Our values are shared ideals that bind us together: Integrity, Innovation, Urgency, Independence, Respect.

Our culture:

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices. We are committed to providing equal opportunities in employment, we embrace all diversity and encourage women, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, Afro-descendants, and Indigenous people to apply. Recognizing our strong commitment to gender equality, WRI has also been awarded EDGE certification.

Our team in Human Resources carefully reviews all applications.