New York University

Research Fellow / Postdoctoral Fellow - Developing strategies for public engagement with flood-related data for equitable climate change adaptation

Tandon School of Engineering

Position Description

The FloodNet team at the New York University (NYU) Tandon School of Engineering (a collaboration between faculty in the departments of Technology Culture and Society, the Center for Urban Science and Progress, and Civil and Urban Engineering) invites applications for a full time, 1-year, postdoctoral/research fellow position with the FloodNet consortium with a preferred start date of summer 2022, with some flexibility.

The postdoctoral researcher will work on a project developing strategies for public engagement with flood-related data to harness smart city technologies for equitable climate change adaptation, under the supervision of Professors Elizabeth Henaff, Tega Brain, and Andrea Silverman. Additional collaboration and mentorship will be with the Community Engagement Manager of the FloodNet project, Brett Branco (Director of the Science and Resiliency Institute at Jamaica Bay (SRIJB); Professor, Brooklyn College), and other members of the FloodNet consortium.

About FloodNet

The FloodNet project is a partnership between academic researchers (New York University and the City University of New York), NYC agencies (NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO), the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR), and community groups, working to better understand the frequency, severity, and impacts of street-level flooding in New York City.

To work towards this goal, we have been developing a platform to provide real-time, street-level flood data - including the presence, frequency, and severity of local surface flood events - to a range of stakeholders, including policy makers, government agencies, citizens, emergency response teams, community advocacy groups, and researchers. The platform includes flood sensors designed by the FloodNet team and deployed across NYC, and an online portal for data dissemination.

Our long-term vision is to produce effective public engagement with NYC communities, regardless of digital or data literacy, using interpretable, reliable, and actionable flood-related data from FloodNet and other flood-related projects. We approach this goal with an understanding that the existence of data alone does not mean the data will be (1) meaningful (i.e., presented in a context that is understandable by different stakeholders and relevant to their specific concerns about flooding), (2) usable (i.e., available in a manner that facilitates action to mitigate floods or adapt to its impacts), or (3) sought after, and that communities are even aware of the existence of these data. As such, open questions remain surrounding how to engage the public to inform data-driven decisions around mitigation and adaptation and present data such that the information is made available to users in meaningful ways.

Expectations of Position

The successful candidate will support the development of a set of principles and strategies for FloodNet’s public engagement to coincide with an expansion of the FloodNet sensor work. This work will be carried out through a review of existing literature and case studies of similar projects, discourse with community members and representatives, and prototyping of public engagement tools, such as public arts programming and data visualization in interactive online and static printable formats. A principal outcome of this work is developing a road map for future research and program development related to flood data dissemination, and public engagement with issues of flooding and sensing in NYC. The successful candidate will be working closely with Floodnet researchers at NYU, CUNY, SRIJB and NY Sea Grant to develop these outcomes. Expected products of this position include a review paper on public engagement around sensor data, and a “principles and pathways of public engagement” report.


Candidates must have a PhD (or other terminal degree or equivalent work experience) in the social sciences, design, science and technology studies (STS) or relevant STEM field (for example, but not limited to, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Data Science), and an outstanding record of social impact, community engagement or community partnership through their work in academia, creative practice, or community-centered practice. Experience working with interdisciplinary and multi-institutional teams, and/or city agency/academic partnerships a plus.

Applicants should apply via Interfolio:

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

NYU is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity in every aspect of its recruitment and hiring process without regard to age, alienage, caregiver status, childbirth, citizenship status, color, creed, disability, domestic violence victim status, ethnicity, familial status, gender and/or gender identity or expression, marital status, military status, national origin, parental status, partnership status, predisposing genetic characteristics, pregnancy, race, religion, reproductive health decision making, sex, sexual orientation, unemployment status, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply for vacant positions at all levels.

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Last updated: 2022-03-22