Postdoctoral Scholar in Coastal Ocean SAR Remote Sensing, University of Washington

University of Washington: Academic Personnel: College of the Environment: Applied Physics Lab


Seattle, WA

Open Date

Mar 16, 2022


The Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher in remote sensing and coastal oceanography as part of an ONR funded project to measure waves, currents, and bathymetry from spaceborne SAR (synthetic aperture radar). The postdoc will use SAR data to implement and investigate the accuracy of wave, current, and bathymetry retrieval algorithms for use in the nearshore (inner shelf through the surf zone). This project will focus on data retrieved from rocky coasts where complex shorelines and bathymetry strongly affect the wave field and currents. Additional research directions are possible including, but not limited to, alternate retrieval algorithms (e.g. machine learning and artificial intelligence), novel SAR signal processing, and fusion with other remote sensing data. The postdoc will work in the Air-Sea Interaction and Remote Sensing Department at APL/UW with C. Chickadel and will collaborate with additional study participants at the University of Massachusetts, the Naval Research Laboratory, and additional institutions. The role of the postdoc will be (1) implementing SAR retrieval algorithms; (2) validation and testing against available ground truth data, and (3) dissemination of results at workshops, conferences and through peer-reviewed journals. The postdoc will be based at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. The start date is expected to be between May and July 2022, but more flexibility is possible.

In addition to disseminating results at major conferences and in peer-reviewed journals, postdocs are encouraged and mentored in writing grant proposals. A notable feature of APL postdoc positions is the ability to submit grant proposals as PIs under supervision, with the goal of establishing an independent research program and career path.


We strive to promote greater diversity among applicants than is currently found in our field, and we strongly encourage applications from all groups that are underrepresented in the remote sensing and coastal oceanography research communities.

To this end, the position is open to capable doctoral recipients in STEM research fields, including candidates holding degrees or graduating from institutions not specializing remote sensing and oceanography.

Candidates must have received a Ph.D. in a STEM field, with extensive background in physical or environmental sciences, or engineering. Candidates should have experience in, or aptitude for, data analysis and self-directed research focused on the application of physical science to the natural environment. Mathematical skills, familiarity with the Linux computing environment, and demonstrated experience with Python, Matlab, or other programming languages are prerequisites for this position. Ability to communicate scientific results to both broad and expert audiences, orally and in writing, is indispensable.

Desired skills include: experience with SAR, satellite data or similar remote sensing, signal processing, and physical oceanography (especially surface waves).

Application Instructions

Each applicant will be expected to submit:

  • A CV including demonstrated scholarly output (e.g., publications, presentations, public datasets, or code).
  • Cover letter with a brief description of how they would contribute to the project and their research interests.

To request disability accommodation in the application process, please contact the UW’s Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450, or 206-543-6452 (TTY), or

Contact Chris Chickadel ( for informal inquiries on duties or requirements.


The Applied Physics Laboratory is a research unit at the University of Washington. Our research expertise is in ocean physics and engineering, ocean and medical acoustics, polar science, environmental remote sensing, and signal processing. We conduct research and development that is sponsored by a variety of federal and state agencies and take great pride in our long-standing status as a US Navy-designated University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). Our work takes place not only on the University of Washington campus and medical centers, but in field locations around the world – at sea, in the air, and on polar ice caps. We apply rigorous scientific inquiry and engineering excellence in pursuit of solutions to important problems for the good of our region, nation, and world.

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