Careers at Virginia Tech

Postdoctoral Associate

Apply now Job no: 515365
Work type: Research Faculty
Senior management: College of Veterinary Medicine
Department: Population Health Sciences Dept
Location: Blacksburg Area
Categories: Other, Research / Scientific, Veterinary Medicine

Job Description

The Population Health Sciences Department in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, currently has an opening for a Postdoctoral Associate in the area of Environmental Risk Modeling & Community Resilience. The candidate will have primary responsibility for developing hydrologic and contaminant fate and transport models to characterize risks of industrial facilities and infrastructure to vulnerable communities in the eastern United States.

This position will support a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary effort to identify communities at high risk for exposures to chemical releases triggered by natural events and to build community participation into emergency readiness plans.
It is expected that the candidate will develop and collaborate on related lines of research under the broad theme of environmental risks and policy support. The successful candidate will take the initiative to propose new collaborations and lines of inquiry at Virginia Tech and externally.
The successful candidate will work effectively with collaborators from diverse disciplinary and other backgrounds and be available for travel to conferences, workshops and project meetings as may be required when it is safe to do so.
The candidate will be expected to take responsibility for preparing and publishing scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals as first author. The candidate may also contribute to policy reports and other publications.
The position is likely to present opportunities for mentorship of graduate or undergraduate students and opportunities for seminars, guest lectures and other avenues to contribute to intellectual life in the department.
An initial term of one year is offered with potential for renewal for a subsequent year contingent on performance.

Chemical risks to vulnerable communities

Storage tanks, processing plants and transportation infrastructure are environmental hazards. Severe hydrometeorological events like hurricanes and floods can trigger chemical release while simultaneously creating unanticipated chemical transport pathways such as uphill overland flow. Emergency response plans can depend on the use of key infrastructure that is impaired by the same events that triggered the emergency. A methodology to screen locations by magnitude of these interacting risks is needed.
Meanwhile, the individuals in closest physical proximity to environmental hazards are disproportionately linguistically isolated (complicating emergency response communications), low-income (limiting ability to evacuate) and otherwise vulnerable to risks of chemical releases. Community engagement in emergency preparedness plans is therefore crucial to understand how to effectively intervene in the event of potential chemical exposures.

Interdisciplinary work environment

The candidate will be based in the Department of Population Health Sciences at Virginia Tech in the newly established Models for Environmental Health and Policy group led by Prof. Ryan Calder. Our work develops novel models of environmental systems to support policy decisions.
The project supported by this position is a collaboration with researchers in civil and environmental engineering, public health and urban planning at Duke University and the University of Maryland. The candidate will be encouraged to explore the numerous other opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration offered by Virginia Tech, such as the Global Change Center, and to develop new working relationships with other universities.

To apply please submit:

A current CV
A cover letter (1-2 pages max) briefly explaining 1) how your training prepares you for the position as described and 2) your overall research interests and ideas and plans for future work.

For questions about applying, please contact Ryan Calder at

Required Qualifications

• PhD or equivalent in civil/environmental engineering, hydrology or a closely related discipline awarded within the past four years of the start date of employment. 

• Expertise in computational modeling of hydrologic systems and/or contaminant fate and transport
• Excellent written and spoken English
• Availability for travel to project meetings and research conferences (when it is safe to do so)
• Proven ability to work effectively with collaborators from very different disciplinary and other backgrounds
• Ability to work effectively remotely until campus activities resume

Appointment Type


Salary Information

Commensurate with experience

Review Date

March 31, 2021

Additional Information

The successful Candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Tammy Stevers at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Applications close:

Back to search results Apply now Refer a friend

Share this:

| More