PREP Research Associate - Post Bachelors - NIST EL


August 11, 2023

This position is part of the National Institute of Standards (NIST) Professional Research Experience (PREP) program. NIST recognizes that its research staff may wish to collaborate with researchers at academic institutions on specific projects of mutual interest, thus requires that such institutions must be the recipient of a PREP award. The PREP program requires staff from a wide range of backgrounds to work on scientific research in many areas. Employees in this position will perform technical work that underpins the scientific research of the collaboration.

Goals and Approach:

The PREP Postdoctoral researcher will focus time on efforts that support the project: “Cost-Effective Resource Allocation Strategies for Community Resilience.” (Applied Economics Office, Dr. Jennifer Helgeson and Dr. Christina Gore)

It is expected that the PREP Researcher will engage in all steps of the research process, including but not limited to: bibliometric analysis, data analysis, preparation of reports and archival journal articles, as well as reporting and communication with stakeholders. 

The objective of this role is to support community resilience planning through the development of methods and tools that evaluate the economic impacts of disruptive events and persistent stressors, while accounting for stakeholder perceptions and associated decisions related to future event uncertainty and co-benefit (co-cost) valuation. There will be special focus on criteria and methods to improve the resilient performance of structural systems in the built environment while maintaining cost-effectiveness and supporting community-defined objectives in addition to resilience. This project supports decision support for investments in community resilience through advancements in socioeconomic evaluation.

A PREP Fellow is proposed to support this project, with a background in risk assessment, economic evaluation methods (e.g., benefit-cost analysis, life-cycle cost analysis), sociology, environmental studies/science, statistics, and/or resilience of the built and natural environments.

The work will entail: 

Key responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

  • Provide detailed review of the socioeconomic literature (peer-reviewed and grey literature) for implementing uncertainty and risk perception into planning for community resilience. Provide insights into how to advance data collection and socioeconomic analysis for community resilience decisions that encompasses community-level values and preferences.
  • Work closely with NIST researchers to conduct a review of relevant literature as well as how that literature can be used to increase the underlying behavioral modeling in the Economic Decision Guide Software (EDGe$) Tool on risk and uncertainty through example formation. Furthermore, there will be an annotated bibliography literature review to be published through the NIST Special Publication series as well as a journal article version of the literature review for publication in an archival journal. The PREP Fellow will present selected results in a NIST seminar.
  • Conduct literature search and review of co-benefits and co-costs relevant to community resilience planning for acute hazards, considering other community objectives (e.g., to minimize loss of life, to maximize social equity, long-term sustainability goals).



  • A Bachelors Degree in Sociology, Economics, or a related field.
  • At least one year of relevant experience.
  • Background in econometrics and statistics and at least two of the following areas:
    • Applied microeconomics
    • Climate change
    • Decision-science or behavioral-science
    • Environmental economics
    • Non-market valuation
    • Regional economics
    • Risk and uncertainty
    • Input-output analysis
    • Supply-chain analysis
    • Survey design and methods
  • Familiarity with multiple scripting languages.
  • Experience conducting bibliometric analyses
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.

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