Environmental Response Physical Scientist - Seattle, WA


Genwest Systems Inc., an equal opportunity employer, is currently accepting applications for an Environmental Response Physical Scientist. This position will primarily support our clients at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R), Emergency Response Division and will be working from NOAA offices in Seattle, WA.


Position Background and Description:

Numerous incidents occur each year in which oil or chemicals are released into the environment as a result of accidents or natural disasters, causing substantial disruption of marine transportation with potential widespread economic impacts. The Emergency Response Division (ERD) of NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R) provides scientific expertise to support an incident response.

Under the National Contingency Plan, NOAA is responsible for providing scientific support to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (FOSC) for oil and hazardous material spills. To support this mandate, ERD provides 24-hour, 7 day a week response to spill events. ERD develops and maintains many of the applications used to support this mission.


Position Duties:

The Physical Scientist will use and develop models used in oil spill fate and transport forecasting as part of the ERD response support group. In particular, this person will be responsible for learning and becoming familiar with and utilizing the General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment (GNOME).  GNOME is an ERD-developed oil and chemical spill modeling system used to support oil spill response.   The successful applicant will be expected to be able to understand GNOME sufficiently well to apply it for spill response and suggest and implement research and development on model improvements.  Over time, this role will also serve as part of the core ERD scientific support team, providing assessments and analysis on pollution behavior, pathways, fates, and potential impacts in order to inform operational response decisions and outcomes.


Primary Tasks:

  • Become proficient in and utilize ERD’s oil spill fate and transport modeling tools to provide information needed to provide support for emergency response. This includes utilizing modeling tools to assess pollution pathways, behavior, and fate
  • Support general emergency response requests as a member of the ERD scientific support team (on-call on a rotational basis).
  • Provide input, testing, and programming support for development of ERD model and software tools.
  • Review and contribute to technical documentation on OR&R spill response tools and processes.


Qualifications and Skills:

The successful candidate will be evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate the listed qualifications and desired skills in their resume and interview:

  • Masters or Doctorate degree in physical or environmental sciences or engineering, preferably in one or more of the following sub-disciplines:
    • Physical Oceanography
    • Civil / Ocean Engineering (e.g., Environmental Fluid Mechanics)
    • Marine Biology
  • Knowledge of coastal physical oceanography.
  • Knowledge of oil chemistry and weathering processes.
  • Experience in writing and implementing code for numerical modeling of physical processes, e.g. hydrodynamic modeling, dispersion, oil fate modeling.
  • Experience with computational programming, preferably in Python (or MATLAB, R,C++)
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Self-motivated, energetic, and pro-active – able to work both independently and in a team setting
  • Experience working on geographically distributed interdisciplinary teams.
  • History of success in team-based project execution, working as both lead and contributor.
  • Demonstrated flexible and pro-active approach to problem solving.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and execute long-term projects, including setting timelines and milestones and balancing priorities.
  • Ability to work collaboratively – accepting and integrating feedback, suggestions, and comments from team members.



Compensation will be determined based on the experience and qualifications of the successful applicant in combination with contract budget. The wage range is anticipated to be roughly $70,000 – $90,000 on an annualized basis, depending on candidate qualifications.   The position is also eligible for a full-time benefit package that includes health insurance, paid personal and holiday leave, 401(k) program eligibility, and employee disability and life insurance.



Please email a cover letter (optional), resume (less than 4 pages), and 3 references to hr@genwest.com. Please include these materials in a single .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) attachment with your name included in the .pdf file name. Also, please include the words, Physical Scientistin the subject line of your email.


Applicants selected for interviews will be contacted via email. The position will remain open until filled, with priority given to applications received before June 5, 2023.