(Now Closed) Department of Interior: Research Hydrologist – Central Midwest Water Science Center

The Geological Survey – Central Midwest Water Science Center is hiring!

Open application period: 02/02/2023 to 02/28/2023

Please visit this link to apply.

This is a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship appointment not to exceed 13 months with possible extensions up to a total of 4 years without further competition. Appointment to this position will not convey permanent status in the Federal service.

Position Information

Salary listed on announcement is $82,830 (Step 01) to $107,680 (Step 10); NOTE: First time hires to the Federal Government are typically hired at the Step 01.
Location – FEW vacancies in the following location:

Urbana, IL

Remote job – No

Telework eligible – Yes—as determined by the agency policy.

Travel Required – Occasional travel – You may be expected to travel 1-2 nights per month for this position.

Relocation expenses reimbursed – No

Appointment type – Term – 13 months

Work schedule – Full-time –

Service – Excepted

Promotion potential – None

Job family (Series) 1315 Hydrology

Supervisory status – No

Security clearance – Not Required

Drug test – No

Position sensitivity and risk Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process Credentialing


As a Research Hydrologist within the Central Midwest Water Science Center, some of your specific duties will include:

  • Serves as principle researcher in joint project with U. of Illinois and USEPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to develop a new generation of watershed models to predict stream water quality and harmful algae blooms.
  • Performs comprehensive review and evaluation of available watershed models for prediction of stream water quality and HABs suited to this application.
  • Coordinates with other team members on data requirements and data gaps for predictive modeling of stream water quality and HABs.
  • Leads modeling team on the application of machine learning to stream water quality and HABs modeling in the Illinois River Basin.
  • Leads modeling team in the communication of project results through meetings, conference presentations, and scientific publications.
  • Operates a government owned or leased vehicle as an incidental driver.


Conditions of Employment

Key Requirements:

  1. Suitable for Federal employment, as determined by background investigation.
  2. Selectee may be subject to serving a trial period.
  3. Selectee must provide proof of valid driver’s license, safe driving record.
  4. More requirements are listed under Qualifications and Other Information.

Are There Any Special Requirements For This Position?

  • If selected you may be asked to provide information regarding your COVID-19 vaccination status for the purposes of implementing workplace safety protocols, such as those related to masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.
  • You will be required to operate a government-owned or -leased vehicle in the performance of your official duties. Applicants for this position must meet the following requirements: (1) possess a valid State license, and (2) possess a safe driving record. If selected, you will be required to provide proof of a valid State license & a copy of your driving record.
  • Because this position requires travel for official business, the selectee will be required to apply for a charge card within 30 calendar days of appointment. Individuals who have delinquent account balances from a previous Government charge card will be required to satisfy their existing obligation before a new card can be issued.
  • A background investigation will be required for this position. Continued employment will be subject to the applicant’s successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
  • Throughout the recruitment and hiring process we will be communicating with you via email; therefore, it is imperative that the email address you provide when applying for this vacancy remains active. Should your email address change, please notify the point of contact identified in the vacancy announcement as soon as possible so that we can update our system.


The USGS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program provides highly motivated recent Ph.D. graduates with the opportunity to conduct concentrated research in association with selected USGS Scientists, as a final element to their formal career preparation. Selectees will utilize the excellent scientific resources available at the USGS in the conduct of scientific investigations and exploratory development associated with advanced scientific research. This program will provide selectees the opportunity to contribute to the overall research efforts of the USGS and in turn they will gain excellent professional research experience early in their careers.

Appointments under the USGS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program will be made under the Schedule A, 213.3102 (r) excepted appointing authority for a minimum period of 13 months and may be extended up to a maximum period of 4 years.

In order to be considered for these opportunities, candidates must:

(1) have successfully completed a Ph.D. in a field related to the Research Description no earlier than February 1st, 2018 (5 years before the announcement opening date); OR
(2) if close to completion, have all Ph.D. requirements completed and must submit proof of completion prior to receiving an official start date;
(3) meet the qualification requirements described in the Research Opportunity. The research proposal submitted must demonstrate that the applicant is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties for the specific Research Opportunity..


Applicants must meet A or B below to satisfy the basic education requirement for Hydrologist, all grade levels.

A. Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor’s or higher degree in physical or natural science, or engineering that included at least 30 semester hours or the equivalent in any combination of courses in hydrology, the physical sciences, geophysics, chemistry, engineering science, soils, mathematics, aquatic biology, atmospheric science, meteorology, geology, oceanography, or the management or conservation of water resources. The course work must have included at least 6 semester hours or the equivalent in calculus (including both differential and integral calculus), and at least 6 semester hours or the equivalent in physics.


B. A combination of education and experience-course work as shown in “A” above (30 semester hours or the equivalent in any combination of courses as specified in “A” above which must include at least 6 semester hours or the equivalent in calculus (including both differential and integral calculus), and at least 6 semester hours or the equivalent in physics), plus appropriate experience and/or additional education for a total of 4 years. The education or combined education and experience must be comparable in type, scope and thoroughness to that acquired through successful completion of a 4-year course of study as described in “A” above. (CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS ON HOW TO COMBINE EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE)

For GS-12:

In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must have one year of appropriate professional experience in hydrology that is equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal service.

Examples of such experience include the ability to independently perform scientific work of considerable difficulty. The position assumes an advanced understanding of the principles of hydrology and their application, an advanced understanding of stream water quality processes, and experience with watershed modeling and machine learning. This work will develop the foundations for an applied system to support decision makers from farm (meter) to watershed (many hectare) scale management for relevant timeframes. Applicants for this position should have experience in process-based and machine learning modeling and knowledge of high-performance computing. In addition, exposure to hybrid process-guided machine learning approaches, which can bridge physically based and data-driven methods, is desirable but not required.

You must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements for the position by the closing date of the announcement.


  • Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g. Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
  • Education completed in colleges or universities outside the United States may be used to meet the above requirements. You must provide acceptable documentation that the foreign education is comparable to that received in an accredited educational institution in the United States. For more information on how foreign education is evaluated, visit: https://www.usgs.gov/about/organization/science-support/human-capital/how-foreign-education-evaluated-federal-jobs .