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Couples and Science Employment


There is a growing concern in the sciences with which I am becoming all too familiar, having attended several workshops and conferences recently. One of the biggest challenges for scientists today is that it is very difficult for couples who are both scientists to find employment in the sciences in the same town.

My wife recently finished her PhD studies. For the six years that she was working on the degree, we were living between 1,000 and 2,500 miles apart. As she has just finished her degree, she is unemployed and is looking for work in Boulder. This six-year separation enabled us to both pursue our chosen professions. The fact is that our separation was short compared to the separations that some endure.

A lot of good scientists are leaving the field because two scientists have a very difficult time finding a job nearby. As an NCAR employee, I am well aware of the NCAR remote workplace options. I have worked remotely from time to time during the past six years, but I do not believe this would be a viable permanent solution for myself if my wife were to find work elsewhere.

Are there any policies at NCAR that are designed to help a second scientist in a family gain employment locally? I would be interested in any current policies as well as any information about potential future policies.


Answered on October 06, 2009


We agree that this is a significant problem for many couples and can be particularly difficult for spouses who are scientists with specialties that may not have many opportunities in Boulder. In discussions with the Executive Committee for the Workforce Management, this issue came up several times.

Currently, we try to help where we can, but that help is limited to informally connecting spouses with contacts that we have in the local community. We will be looking at other ways to help, but there are limitations as to what we can do. UCAR cannot guarantee employment either within UCAR or with another organization, nor can we provide placement services for spouses. If you have ideas please let us know.

Bob Roesch
Human Resources Services Director