Opportunity for a Physical Scientist in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy, Mitigation, and Inventory

Job Description


Opportunity for a Physical Scientist in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy, Mitigation, and Inventory


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)


U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

Reference Code


How To Apply

A complete application consists of:

  • An application
  • A cover letter
  • A current resume/CV
  • Transcripts – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or applicant’s academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from the relevant internal institutional systems may be submitted. Selected candidates my be required to provide proof of completion of the degree before the appointment can start.

How to Apply: Applications and supporting materials must be submitted at


All documents must be in English.

Academic Levels

  • Postdoctoral
  • Post-Master’s

This appointment offers the participant a significant and exciting opportunity to play a direct national role in helping the U.S. Forest Service address greenhouse gases and climate change. The participant will help lead a team of agency researchers and specialists charged with preparing policy, guidance, and  tools to monitor, track, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with agency activities and to inform decision-making related to climate change, energy conservation, and clean energy alternatives. 

Specifically, the participant will learn how to:

  1. Develop standardized national guidance and tools to quantify and track greenhouse gas emissions for common activities on national forests and grasslands (e.g., energy and minerals development, prescribed fire, forest management, grazing, recreations) and agency business operations. Develop work teams consisting of USFS research scientists, air specialists, planning experts, and specialists from other federal land management and regulatory agencies. Optimally, the teams will build a set of easy to use calculators by optimizing the incorporation of  in-house and interagency information and tools. Guidance documents and tools will support agency efforts to estimate emissions associated with land management plans, projects or other types of assessments. Guidance documents and tools will also facilitate emissions baselines and progress reports related to emissions reductions at agency, regional, and unit levels. These data can be used by the agency to demonstrate compliance with the President’s Executive Order, Council of Environmental Quality guidance, and USDA targets for greenhouse gas reductions.  
  2. Coordinate the transmission of agency standardized guidance to field units to assist them in determining when and what type of emissions analysis is appropriate for different kinds of projects to fulfill the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The guidance is expected to take the form of a decision tree that can identify the situations when a quantitative analysis or qualitative analysis is appropriate, when a project can tier to a programmatic analysis, what specific types of analyses are needed and when cost benefit analyses and the social cost of carbon should be included.  
  3. Work with pilot national forests to test the guidance and tools, and develop a web-based portal to assist with field education, training, implementation and evaluation.


Established in 1905, the U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Forest Service manages the national forests and grasslands, provides technical and financial assistance to state, private, and international forestry agencies, and is the largest forestry research organization in the world (see http://www.fs.fed.us/). Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the mission of the Forest Service – “to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run.”  

Participants will have a direct opportunity to make a lasting impact and ensure the continued successful management of the Forest Service’s 193 million acres. Many find the agency’s national headquarters to be uniquely satisfying and exciting experience filled with unmatched benefits and challenges. Participants will have the opportunity to be in an exhilarating, fast-paced environment collaborating with diverse staff groups and a broad array of teams. Stakeholder interaction—whether with researchers, other agencies and Departments, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) —is an essential part of being in the Washington Office.  This particular opportunity is jointly sponsored by three staff areas:  the Office of Sustainability and Climate Change, Water Wildlife Fish Air and Rare Plants, and Ecosystem Management Coordination.  Participants will have the opportunity to make a lasting contribution to public policy and public service by helping to lead national-level programs crucial to the health and diversity of America’s forests and grasslands.  


The selected applicant will receive a stipend for living and other expenses during this appointment.  Stipend rates are determined by USFS officials, and are based on the applicant’s academic and professional background.  The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance.  Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.  The participant will not enter into an employee/employer relationship with ORISE, ORAU, USDA, USFS, or any other office or agency.  Instead, the participant will be affiliated with ORISE for the administration of the appointment through the ORISE appointment letter and Terms of Appointment.


Education Requirements

  • An advanced degree in physical science, engineering, or mathematics including 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science such as systems, mechanical, energy dynamics, material, or electrical engineering OR a combination of education and experience — education equivalent to one of these majors that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
  • Candidates with a PhD or with post-doctoral experience preferred.

Candidates that bring the following experiences or backgrounds are especially suited to this position:

  • Ability to organize collaborative partnerships and frameworks 
  • Knowledge of greenhouse gas emissions profiles and emissions inventory and control methods; energy conservation; and alternatives for clean energy production
  • Knowledge of climate change science and ecological effects
  • Knowledge of atmospheric science and air pollution effects on forests
  • Ability to communicate with policy makers and regulatory authorities
  • Knowledge of environmental policy and law

Eligibility Requirements

  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Currently pursuing a Doctoral degree or Master’s degree or have received one of these degrees.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Physics (All)


    • Earth and Geosciences (All)


    • Engineering (All)


    • Other Physical Sciences (All)
  • Veteran Status: None