Postdoctoral Associate, Space Enabled

by Jordan Madrid

Dec. 20, 2022

Job Description

Professor Danielle Wood, director of the Space Enabled Research Group, is working with a team to pursue research applying earth science data to support societal applications with a focus on work to monitor and manage progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. As part of this effort, Space Enabled is developing and implementing a framework called Environment-Vulnerability- Decision Technology or EVDT, first published under the following citation: Reid, Jack, Cynthia Zeng, and Danielle Wood. “Combining Social, Environmental and Design Models to Support the Sustainable Development Goals,” in 2019 IEEE Aerospace Conference, pp. 1-13. IEEE, 2019. The EVDT Framework is both a design approach and research method that guides the development of Decision Support Systems, which in turn help leaders implement projects that leverage data in support of societal needs toward sustainability. In most cases, Sustainability is defined based on progress toward one of the Sustainable Development Goals, however, Space Enabled seeks to follow the priorities set by community, national and regional leaders in each project based on EVDT. The EVDT framework curates data and models related to environmental  changes, socio-economic benefits and hazards, decision making and the technological systems that provide greater insight into environment and social outcomes. In the course of implementing EVDT projects, Space Enabled applies a design framework called Systems Architecture to understand and analyze context, stakeholders, objectives and implementation approaches for each project.

Currently, at the invitation of leaders in each context, Space Enabled is pursuing projects that apply Systems Architecture and EVDT in Angola, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Benin and the United States. Space Enabled also shares the work publicly by hosting virtual events and speaking at conferences. In some projects, team members visit the collaborators and perform field work. Most EVDT projects result in a Decision Support System which is a web-based information system that visualizes EVDT data using maps and graphs. More information is available here:

Space Enabled seeks a Postdoctoral Associate who will support and help to coordinate the implementation of the team’s EVDT-based projects. This work includes collaborating with contacts from each locale, training graduate and undergraduate researchers on the project teams, implementing modeling and analysis for the EVDT framework and supporting the development of software tools that can be used by decision makers. As an example, the current projects that are high priority for support include designing a Decision Support System for Drought with the Government of Angola and supporting a Decision Support System for Invasive Species Management for collaborators in Benin. Additional work with collaborators from Indonesia and the Yurok Tribe addresses topics such as coastal management and forest monitoring. The Space Enabled Research Group seeks a postdoctoral scholar who can serve as a vital team member in multiple EVDT projects and help to ensure the overall team is progressing in developing, communicating, publishing and implementing projects with the Framework. Based on the skillset of the applicant, the work may include performing earth science data analysis and modeling, developing remote sensing and in-situ sensing data sets, performing social science data analysis and performing systems engineering modeling.


  • Work closely with Prof Wood and the other team members on research at MIT and beyond;
  • Perform academic research to support projects and collaborations that apply the Environment-Vulnerability-Decision-Technology Framework;
  • Produce software code, data analysis or simulations based on the goals of the team;
  • Work as needed on hardware systems to produce and manage earth science data relevant to the research projects using in-situ, satellite and airborne platforms;
  • Work with the Director to plan and implement fundraising in support of the research goals;
  •  Work with the Director to plan and execute communication activities related to the research on EVDT and other topics linked to sustainability;
  • Work with the Director to plan and host EVDT-related events such as community meetings and other mechanisms to support knowledge exchange among EVDT stakeholders;
  • Plan and participate in travel to meet with research collaborators or to present at conferences;
  •  Work with Principal Investigator to mentor graduate and undergraduate students that participate in the research;
  • Conduct literature reviews related to the objectives of the Initiative;
  • Other duties as assigned.



  • PhD in applied earth sciences, applications of satellite data for societal needs, engineering, science, social science, design, computer science or policy, or related field;
  • Experience performing academic research;
  • Experience publishing academic publications;
  • Experience teaching or co-teaching graduate or undergraduate classes;
  • Excellent English writing, speaking and presentation skills;
  • Skills or experience in coordinating with academic leaders, faculty, students and staff to enable scholarly activities;
  • Knowledge of academic literature related to applications of satellite and earth science data for environmental management and the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Demonstrated interest in multidisciplinary research and technology policy
  • Ability to function both independently and in teams, playing both leadership and coordinating roles;
  • Strong organizational skills.


  • PhD especially with a focus on decision support systems, remote sensing, Geospatial Information Systems, satellite design, space policy, space systems engineering, disaster response, agriculture, coastal resilience or forestry;
  • Desired experience performing geospatial analysis and visualization of satellite data in one or more software programs (e.g. Google Earth Engine, Python, R, etc).

This is a one-year appointment with the possibility of extension based on the course of the research.

To apply, go to and search for job ID #22218

More Job Opportunities