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Position Details

Academic Personnel

Postdoc to quantify uncertainty to inform Alaskan Observer Program data collection for age and length composition used in fishery stock assessment models

Position Overview

School / Campus / College: College of the Environment

Organization: Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Title: Postdoc to quantify uncertainty to inform Alaskan Observer Program data collection for age and length composition used in fishery stock assessment models

Position Details

Position Description

Dr. André Punt’s lab at the University of Washington, seeks to hire a Postdoctoral Scholar in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS). The position is supported by a Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) award from NOAA for a project entitled, “Quantifying uncertainty in fishery-dependent age and length composition data used in Alaskan fishery stock assessments to inform optimization of Observer Program data collections.” The candidate hired into this position will have the opportunity to conduct the first-ever evaluation of age and length fishery observer sampling effort across selected species in the North Pacific


The Punt lab is dedicated to the development and testing of methods for assessing the past and current status of fish, invertebrate and marine mammal populations. We use these assessments as the basis for forecasts that evaluate which methods for managing these populations will best achieve the goals established by society for those populations. We are exploring how to manage marine populations in the face of changing societal goals, climate change, ocean acidification, and the lack of data which is typical of the marine environment.


The project will involve: 

·        Build upon and migrate the existing age and length composition expansion methods used in the Eastern Bering Sea (EBS) pollock and Pacific cod assessments into an R package,

·        Develop simulation methods to estimate input sample size and to conduct sensitivity analyses that evaluate the effect on input sample size of increasing or decreasing Observer Program sampling rates of fishery-dependent age and length collections.

·        Apply the results of the input sensitivity analysis within the EBS pollock and Pacific cod assessment models to explore the sensitivity of results of varying levels of Observer Program sampling rates.

·        Project deliverables include:

1.     A release of an R package to estimate fishery age and length input sample size based on expansion methods that follow the hierarchical design employed by the Observer Program and options to evaluate increasing or decreasing sampling rates, the package design will be developed to be adaptable to other species,

2.     A journal article that presents the development of these methods, results of the estimated fishery-dependent input sample sizes and sensitivity to varying sampling rates, and the application to stock assessments with a focus on sensitivity of assessment model results to input sample size,

3.     A presentation to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council Groundfish Plan Team and Alaska Fisheries Science Center assessment authors that presents the resulting fishery input sample sizes and demonstrates the utility of employing objective methods to apply input sample size within stock assessments.

·        The PI and the NOAA collaborators will provide data and support for case studies, and guide code development and statistical implementation.


The salary for this position will be $65,508 per year, or as mandated by a U.S. Department of Labor prevailing wage determination.


Postdoctoral scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website.


University of Washington Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are for a temporary, defined period not to exceed five years/60 months, including any previous postdoctoral experience.


Mandatory Qualifications:

Candidates will have confirmed Ph.D. at the time of appointment, in a relevant discipline (e.g., stock assessment, quantitative ecology, statistics).



·        Have experience with R, TMB, population dynamics, stock assessment and model fitting, collaborative coding, and leading scientific publications,

·        Adopt a rigorous and scholarly approach to their science, with evidence of this from presentations and publications,

·        Demonstrate informed curiosity, with the ability to generate novel scientific questions,

·        Be internally, intrinsically motivated to answer the project’s overarching research questions,

·        Be a reliable team member who collaborators can always count on to come through on their promises,

·        Be a respectful, professional, and generous team player who goes the extra mile to help their colleagues and maintains strong collegial bonds,

·        Be an effective mentor for junior colleagues,

·        Have a positive attitude in the face of obstacles or setbacks; have the professionalism to take these inevitabilities in stride,

·        Have excellent time management skills; accomplish research goals by creating realistic but ambitious plans and initiating open communication when plans need to be adjusted,

·        Have the willingness and the courage to discuss issues openly (i.e., to give and receive feedback, to celebrate successes, and to discuss ways to overcome challenges).


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but those received by July 31, 2023, will be considered as a priority in the first screening. The position will start as soon as possible, but the anticipated start date is September 1, 2023, and no later than May 31, 2024. An earlier start date may be required for candidates who will need more time for training.  The initial appointment will be 100% FTE for one year, with potential renewal for a second year.


Application Instructions:

All applications should be submitted through Interfolio. To apply for this position, please include the following in your application:

·        A letter of intent explaining why you are a good candidate for this position.

·        A current CV

·        PDFs or DOIs of any written materials that demonstrate your previous research experience and your rigorous and scholarly approach to science.

·        Contact information for at least three references in order of importance.


For any queries about this position, please reach out to Dr. André Punt at

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A summary of benefits associated with this title/rank can be found at Appointees solely employed and paid directly by a non-UW entity are not UW employees and are not eligible for UW or Washington State employee benefits.

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