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    What General Information Do I Need to Know About This Position?

    Salary: $93,587 (Step 01) to $121,668 (Step 10).
    NOTE: First time hires to the Federal Government are typically hired at the Step 01.

    There is one vacancy; however, this announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies if they become available.

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    Mendenhall Research Fellowship - Research Opportunity #: 19-8. Geology, geochemistry and global context of deep-ocean marine minerals

    Any true evaluation of global minerals must consider the marine realm.Marine minerals occur in every ocean basin, on both continental and oceanic crust; some are currently forming today, and some began forming 70 million years ago. The most well-known deep-ocean mineral deposits are ferromanganese crusts and manganese nodules (Hein and Koschinsky, 2014) composed mainly of iron and manganese oxides that accumulate trace metals sourced from seawater and porewaters over millions of years, and hydrothermal deposits composed mainly of metal sulfide minerals (Gartman et al., 2014) that accumulate over thousands of years at tectonic boundaries and intraplate hotspots. These deposits exhibit significant variability in extent and element composition across both timescales of formation, as well as spatially on local and global scales. In addition to manganese nodules, ferromanganese crusts, and seafloor sulfide minerals, other marine minerals that have generated interest include phosphorite deposits, found in open-ocean environments and continental margins, and rare-earth element rich marine muds in the deep ocean.

    Interest in marine minerals is increasing globally from government, private industry, and research entities. In addition to containing elements that may be economically valuable or critical to societal needs, these minerals may be used to provide insight into the formation of ancient marine mineral deposits now emplaced on land such as Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide (VMS) deposits. The deep oceans are difficult to access and many challenges remain for this research, including deposit mapping and characterization, interactions between minerals and the marine environment, and the development of technology for oceanographic mineral exploration. There is currently no mining of deep-ocean minerals, however increased delineation of resources and a clarifying regulatory regime suggests doing so may be viable within the next several years. Scientific understanding of these mineral resources is necessary to provide information to society as to the location, extent, manner of formation, and marine mineral extraction options and their potential consequences; as well as context for marine minerals in the global framework of mineral resources.

    Proposed Duty Station: Santa Cruz, CA

    Areas of Ph.D: Geology, earth science, marine geology, oceanography or related fields (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered).

    Qualifications: Applicants must meet one of the qualifications for: Research Geologist, Research Oceanographer, Research Chemist, Research Geophysicist

    (This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above. However, other titles (see link below) may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources Specialist.)

    Mendenhall Basic Qualification Requirements:

    Physical/Environmental Demands: Work is usually performed in an office setting. The work area normally involves everyday risks or discomforts that require normal safety precautions typical of offices or meeting and training rooms.

    Work may occasionally involve exposure to moderate risks and discomforts, such as those due to:
    - fieldwork that includes some physical exertion, for example bending, crouching, stooping, stretching, reaching, or similar activities;
    - adverse weather conditions, such as high winds and low or high temperatures;
    - crowded or constricted maritime docks or ship cargo areas;
    - irritating chemicals; noxious fumes; flammable liquids;
    - radiation; carcinogenic materials.
    Work may at times require special safety precautions and/or protective clothing and equipment.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel an average of 2 nights for this position.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


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    Conditions Of Employment

    Key Requirements:

    1. Suitable for Federal employment, as determined by background investigation.
    2. Selectee may be subject to serving a trial period.
    3. Selectee subject to successfully passing a pre-employment medical exam.
    4. Selectee must provide proof of valid driver's license, safe driving record.
    5. More requirements are listed under Qualifications and Other Information.

    Are There Any Special Requirements For This Position?

    • A background investigation will be required for this position. Continued employment will be subject to the applicant's successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
    • Taking and passing a pre-employment medical examination at Federal expense is required due to the physical demands of this job.
    • Because this position requires travel for official business, the selectee will be required to apply for a charge card within 30 calendar days of appointment. Individuals who have delinquent account balances from a previous Government charge card will be required to satisfy their existing obligation before a new card can be issued.
    • You will be required to operate a government-owned or -leased vehicle in the performance of your official duties. Applicants for this position must meet the following requirements: (1) possess a valid State license, and (2) possess a safe driving record. If selected, you may be required to provide proof of a valid State license and a copy of your driving record.
    • Throughout the recruitment and hiring process we will be communicating with you via email; therefore, it is imperative that the email address you provide when applying for this vacancy remains active. Should your email address change, please notify the point of contact identified in the vacancy announcement as soon as possible so that we can update our system.


    General Information

    The Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for postdoctoral fellows to conduct concentrated research in association with USGS scientists, often as a final element to their formal career preparation. The Program also provides: 1) research experiences that enhance the scientific stature and credentials of the Fellows; and 2) scientific expertise to assist in the implementation of the USGS Strategic Plan and the science strategy of its programs. Mendenhall Fellows are expected to publish their results in peer-reviewed scientific outlets.

    Eligibility Requirements

    In order to be considered for these opportunities, candidates must:

    (1) have successfully completed a Ph.D. in a field related to the described Research Opportunity no earlier than October 1, 2015 (5 years before the announcement opening date); OR

    (2) if close to completion, have all Ph.D. requirements completed and must submit proof of completion prior to receiving an official start date;

    (3) meet the qualification requirements described in the Research Opportunity. The research proposal submitted must demonstrate that the applicant is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties for the specific Research Opportunity.

    Start Date and Completion of PhD:

    It is anticipated that this position will start no later than March 2022. The person selected must have all PhD requirements completed and MUST submit proof of completion prior to receiving an official start date. Exceptions may be made for a later start date on a case-by-case basis.


    Under Executive Order 11935, only United States citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island) may compete for civil service jobs. A Federal agency is permitted to hire non-citizens only in very limited circumstances where there are no qualified citizens available for the position, AND the non-citizen meets the appropriation act and immigration laws. Read the information provided in the following link. If a non-citizen does not meet the appropriation act and immigration laws, then they cannot be considered for this Mendenhall Opportunity. Please contact the person under Agency Contact Information for questions about eligibility and further assistance. https://www.usajobs.gov/Help/working-in-government/non-citizens/.

    Foreign Education. You must provide proof, if the foreign education determines your qualifications for the position. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet Federal qualification requirements if the applicant can show that the foreign education is comparable to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide such evidence when applying for Federal jobs. If selected, you will be required to provide official proof that such education has been deemed at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education program. For more information on how foreign education is evaluated, visit: https://www.usgs.gov/about/organization/science-support/human-capital/how-foreign-education-evaluated-federal-jobs .

    You must meet all eligibility requirements for the position by the closing date of the announcement.


    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g. Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

    Additional information

    • Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses will not be paid by the Federal Government. Any travel, transportation, and relocation expenses associated with reporting for duty in this position will be the responsibility of the selectee.
    • These research opportunities are in the excepted service and are being filled through a Schedule A noncompetitive appointing authority. Appointments do not confer competitive or permanent status in the Federal Government nor are they subject to competitive examining procedures. The Mendenhall appointment may, in certain circumstances, be extended for up to an additional two years though rare.
    • USGS has determined that the duties of this position are suitable for telework and the selectee may be allowed to telework in accordance with the DOI Telework policy and with supervisor approval. The official worksite for the selectee is the duty station identified in this vacancy announcement. The selectee will typically report to this duty location on a regular and recurring weekly basis.
    • For additional information on our internal telework policy, please reference the Department of the Interior Telework Handbook at: https://www.doi.gov/telework/policies.
    • USGS employees are subject to Title 43, USC Section 31(a) and may not: (a) have any personal, private, direct or indirect interest in lands or mineral wealth of lands under survey; (b) have any substantial personal, private, or direct or indirect interest in any private mining or mineral enterprise doing business with the United States; or (c) execute surveys or examinations for private parties or corporations.
    • The application contains information subject to the Privacy Act (P.L. 93-579, 5 USC 552a). The information is used to determine qualifications for employment and is authorized under Title 5, USC, Section 3302 and 3361.
    • Applicants who include vulgar, offensive, or inappropriate language or information in their application package will be ineligible for further consideration for this position.
    • DOI uses E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit www.dhs.gov/E-Verify.
    Agency Benefits:

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    The Human Resources Office will provide the hiring official with application material for review and consideration. The Research Advisor and/or hiring official will review the application material and contact candidates for interviews as needed. A subject matter expert panel will be convened. If an applicant is chosen for an opportunity and meets the qualification requirements, the Human Resources Office will contact the applicant and make a firm job offer. For Research Opportunities with multiple duty stations, the selection of the official duty station will be made by the USGS.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Not Required

    Drug test required


    Position sensitivity and risk

    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process


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    Required Documents

    Applicants must submit the following for each individual Research Opportunity for which they are applying.

    • Resume. Please ensure that the resume includes:
      1. number and title of the Research Opportunity;
      2. how the applicant became aware of the Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program;
      3. country of citizenship;
      4. veterans preference (if applicable);
      5. names of colleges/universities attended;
      6. type of degrees earned and the years they were received;
      7. names, phone numbers, and contact information of 3 references; and
      8. an e-mail address at which the applicant can be reached. (NOTE: If your e-mail address changes after the closing date, it is your responsibility to send the new e-mail address to the following: ccampbell@usgs.gov and the appropriate Human Resources contact.
    • Educational Transcripts. Proof of completion of education must be provided includes copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts. If selected, you will be required to provide official transcripts. If your transcripts are not in English or illegible, provide a listing of all course work with grade and credit hours. If degree is in progress you must proof of being in a PhD program. Degree must be completed prior to appointment.
    • List of Publications. Include articles in journals, proceedings volumes, etc., and abstracts, reports, maps, etc. Do not submit copies of publications unless requested. Abstracts of up to 3 papers, reports, etc., or a chapter from your Ph.D. dissertation may be submitted.
    • Foreign Education Documentation. You must provide proof of completion of education includes copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, if needed to qualify. Foreign accreditation equivalency can be provided after an employment offer is made.
    • Veterans Preference Documentation if claiming 5/10 points.
    • Research Proposal. Each research proposal should be a maximum of 8 standard pages in length (single space, Times New Roman font, font size 12) and should contain:
    1. research objective(s);
    2. links to USGS science program strategy;
    3. how and where research is to be conducted;
    4. name of Research Advisor(s) (RAs) - the RAs are listed in the description of the research opportunities;
    5. required scientific facilities.

    Budget Estimate. In addition to the 8-page proposal, a separate budget estimate is required. This estimate should detail anticipated operating expenses for fieldwork, access to specialized equipment/facilities, conference travel, publications, computer hardware/software, and so on. The Research Proposal is the most important part of the application package, and we strongly urge applicants to coordinate the development of the Proposal with the appropriate RAs.

    USGS strongly encourages the electronic submission of applications. All materials should be submitted in PDF format through the USAJOBS web link. PDF files submitted should not be larger than 3 MB. If a file is larger than 3 MB, applicants must split the contents of the file so that no one unit submitted is larger than 3 MB.

    Applications should be prepared as follows: 1) First PDF file should contain ONLY the research proposal. 2) Second PDF file should contain: list of literature references cited in the proposal; and budget estimate. 3) Resumé. 4) A separate PDF file should contain educational transcripts; and 5) supporting veterans documentation, if applicable.

    Clicking on the "APPLY HERE" button next to each Research Opportunity in the Table of Research Opportunities will take applicants to the USAJOBS application for that particular Opportunity. For technical assistance for submitting an application through USAJOBS, contact the HR Specialist listed as the Point of Contact listed in this announcement.

    PDF conversion tools are readily available via the Internet. Some examples can be accessed at the following sites: http://www.ps2pdf.com/ http://www.pdf995.com/ Disclaimer: Hypertext links and other references to non-USGS products and services are provided for information only and do not constitute endorsement or warranty, express or implied, by the USGS, DOI, or U.S. Government, as to their suitability, content, usefulness, functioning, completeness, or accuracy. In addition, documents that do not easily lend themselves to conversion may be faxed. Contact the appropriate Human Resources Office to make arrangements.

    If a complete application package is not submitted, the applicant will not be considered for the position. Requests for deadline extensions will not be granted. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure the successful conveyance of the application package. Applicants will receive a confirmation e-mail upon receipt. Application packages must be received by 11:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Time) on the closing date of the announcement. It is against the law to submit applications for employment using Government paid postage envelopes or mail services (18 USC 1719). Such application packages will not be considered. Application material will not be returned.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.


    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

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    How to Apply

    • Applications (required material) for this opportunity must be received on-line via USAJOBS BEFORE 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (Washington, D.C. time) on the closing date of this announcement. If you fail to submit a complete online application, you will not be considered for this opportunity. Requests for extensions will not be granted. Most libraries, employment offices, and all USGS personnel offices can provide access to the Internet. If applying online poses a hardship for you, you must speak to someone in the Servicing Human Resources Office listed on this announcement PRIOR TO THE CLOSING DATE for assistance.
    • Instructions for Applying Online for this Vacancy Announcement: 1) Click the blue "Apply Online" button. 2) If you are not a registered USAJOBS user, please create a new account and follow the instructions to complete your application process. If you are a registered user, login to access your existing USAJOBS profile. 3) As a registered user, select a stored resume. 4) Check the "Certification" box and click the "Apply for this position now!" button located at the bottom of the screen. 5) Address the eligibility questions as well as the questionnaire containing questions and/or task statements that address the Research Opportunity for this announcement. 6) Submit required documents using one of the available methods listed below. 7) If you experience technical difficulties during the online application process, please contact from the list below.
    • Required documents may be: (1) faxed to the Agency Contact listed in the vacancy announcement; or (2) uploaded directly from your desktop; or (3) uploaded directly from your USAJOBS stored attachments; or (4) hand delivered to the servicing Human Resources Office listed in the vacancy announcement.
    • PROGRAM CONTACTS: Dr. Cara Campbell, Office of Science Quality and Integrity, 703-648-6459, ccampbell@usgs.gov, or HR Specialist (See "Agency Contact Info" section within the Announcement.)
    • Veterans' Preference: If you are claiming veterans' preference you must provide a legible copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, member 4 copy or any official documentation or statement from the Armed Forces that confirms your dates of service and that your separation, discharge, or release from active duty was under honorable conditions (i.e., Honorable or General Discharge). Note: If you have more than one DD-214 for multiple periods of active duty, submit a copy for each period of service. If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference, in addition to the documents specified above, you must also submit documentation that supports your claim, e.g., an official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs (dated 1991 or later) or from a branch of the Armed Forces certifying the existence of a service-connected disability, or the award of the Purple Heart, etc. The overall rating must be identified on your certification letter or separation orders.
    • Documentation must be received by the closing date shown in this vacancy announcement. If you fail to submit any of the required documentation, you will not be granted veterans' preference. Additional information on veterans' preference can be found in the VetGuide.

    Agency contact information

    Beverly Ledbetter


    12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
    Mail Stop 600
    Reston, VA 20192
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    Next steps

    If an applicant is chosen for an opportunity and meets the qualification requirements, the Human Resources Office will contact the applicant and make a firm job offer.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/580466700. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.