Postdoctoral Associate - Engineering Laboratory 73

PREP Research Associate

June 15, 2023

This position is part of the National Institute of Standards (NIST) Professional Research Experience (PREP) program. NIST recognizes that its research staff may wish to collaborate with researchers at academic institutions on specific projects of mutual interest, thus requires that such institutions must be the recipient of a PREP award. The PREP program requires staff from a wide range of backgrounds to work on scientific research in many areas. Employees in this position will perform technical work that underpins the scientific research of the collaboration.

Goals and Approach:

Postdoctoral Research Economist or Social Scientist:

The Applied Economics Office (AEO) of the National Institute of Standards of Technology
(NIST) anticipates the need for an economist or social scientist to work on community resilience and sustainability.

The position would be supported through the NIST Professional Research Experience Program

This is an exciting opportunity to work along NIST researchers, while being associated with a NIST PREP participating academic institution.

Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Research
  • Publishing within refereed journals and technical research series
  • Developing draft standards
  • Crafting decision-support software
  • Communicating research at professional conferences

Additional responsibilities may cover:

  • Analysis of survey data
  • Complex event analysis using spatial data
  • Evaluating community level planning for climate and resilience
  • Incorporating risk and uncertainty into community resilience planning assessments
  • Survey design and approval processes

The PREP Postdoctoral researcher will use of a broad set of skills, including, but not limited to: survey tool development, sample frame development, statistical inference, systems analysis/ modeling, collaborative/participatory modeling, qualitative interview analysis, quantitative structural equation modeling and regression analysis, as well as agent-based modeling.  Key outcomes will be analyses, reports, and best practice guidance to businesses, industry, standard making bodies, and government.

It is expected that the PREP Researcher will engage in all steps of the research process, including but not limited to: survey (re)design and dissemination, data analysis, preparation of reports and archival journal articles, as well as reporting and communication with stakeholders. 

The work will entail: 

Key responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

  • Collaborate on data and methods to improve the methodology for measuring economic impact of community resilience planning, which is organized around the performance metric of ‘cost plus loss’ minimization – i.e., the economically optimal level of investment in prevention and mitigation activities to reduce future disturbance and disaster-related losses, as well as related expenditures that minimize the combined investment cost plus the value of expected losses. 
  • Development of decision frameworks for community level choices
  • Design and execution of data collection instruments
  • Statistical analysis of collected survey data
  • Assessment of research and data gaps
  • Developing decision-support tools for home residents, homeowners, communities, business operators, industry, and/or government agencies to make more efficient, sustainable, resilient, and/or circular choices.


  • A PhD in Sociology, Computer Science, Engineering, Economics, Social Science, Planning, Behavioral Social Sciences, or a related field.
  • Background in econometrics and statistics and at least two of the following areas:
    • Applied microeconomics
    • Climate change
    • Decision-science or behavioral-science
    • Environmental economics
    • Non-market valuation
    • Regional economics
    • Risk and uncertainty
    • Input-output analysis
    • Supply-chain analysis
    • Survey design and methods
  • Familiarity with multiple scripting languages.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.

    Candidates can reach out to Dr. Jennifer Helgeson at [email protected] if interested. Please provide an up-to-date CV or resume. NIST is an EEO/Affirmative Action Employer.


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