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(Senior) Research Associate

Engineering, Research / Scientific


(Senior) Research Associate

  • 522810
  • Blacksburg, Virginia, United States
  • Engineering
  • Research / Scientific
  • Research Faculty
  • Virginia Tech University

Job Description

This is a research and development position based in Blacksburg, Virginia and is part of the VTNSI’s Mission Systems Division. MSD brings together researchers from aerospace and ocean systems engineering, mechanical engineering, computer engineering, systems engineering, computer science, AI/ML, and other fields to develop interdisciplinary solutions to cutting-edge technological challenges in platforms, including satellites, UAVs, UUVs, and drone swarms involving hardware, algorithms, sensor networks and phenomenologies, and more, and collaborates with other institutes and centers, including the Center for Space Science and Engineering Research (Space@VT) and the Center for Marine Autonomy and Robotics (CMAR). Successful candidates for this position will have relevant experience in one or more of the following areas: RF systems and payloads, avionics, small satellites, hypersonics, autonomy, multiagent systems, machine learning/AI, multi-physics modeling and simulation, model-based systems engineering, and/or cyber physical security.

Virginia Tech National Security Institute is the newest of three Thematic Research Institutes at Virginia Tech (the other two being the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute). Thematic institutes at Virginia Tech pursue and execute sponsored research and experiential learning programs, and they have deep relationships with sponsors, unique research facilities, and unique talent (typically a combination of research faculty and affiliated tenure-line faculty). The NSI’s mission is to perform interdisciplinary research and provide experiential learning in Blacksburg and the greater Washington DC metropolitan area to strengthen technology, standards, public policy, and the National Security Innovation Base. The objectives of the NSI includes: cultivation of a vibrant ecosystem of industry, government, and academic partners to transition research, knowledge, and talent into sustainable capabilities; and development of the next generation of leaders to strengthen the National Security workforce. It is expected that the NSI builds upon existing strengths, and broaden its reach across the unique array of academic disciplines at Virginia Tech that can contribute to all of the instruments of National Power.

(1) support research conducted in MSD through platform, payload, and algorithm development, prototype or production solutions, and the development of new modeling and simulation tools;
(2) establish and support development of laboratory and field environments for test and evaluation of research products;
(3) contribute to technical documents/presentations, proposals, and peer-reviewed academic papers;
(4) provide mentorship to students working on programs.

Appointments available at either the Research Associate or Senior Research Associate levels.
Those appointed to the rank of Senior Research Associate may have additional responsibility for leading program development efforts and may serve as co-principal investigator or principal investigator on research efforts, as well as may serve in a supervisory capacity for students and junior researchers.

Required Qualifications

- US citizenship
- Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance
- Experience with development environments, establishing workflows, electronics, and/or laboratory development and test equipment.
- Demonstrated ability to work as a member of a research and development team.
- Evidence of high potential for excellence in research and development as demonstrated through academic study or experience in one of the described areas.
- For the rank of Research Associate: An earned Master's degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or related discipline; or an earned Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or related discipline with significant related professional experience.
- For the rank of Senior Research Associate: an earned Doctorate degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or related discipline; or an earned master’s degree in Computer Science, Engineering, or related discipline and significant related experience. Also, significant experience serving in a leadership role in a research and development environment .

Preferred Qualifications

- Active security clearance
- Demonstrated ability to lead a team in executing research and/or development projects
- Evidence of excellence in research and development as demonstrated through academic study or experience in one of the described areas.
- Interest and/or experience in working effectively with a diverse faculty, staff and student population
- Experience working in an academic environment
- Experience executing on research and/or development programs supporting the federal government

Appointment Type


Salary Information

$80,000 - $130,000 depending upon level

Review Date

December 12, 2022

Additional Information

Due to restrictions imposed by the funding agency, applicants must be a U.S. Citizen. Position is based on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Sue Kass at sjkass@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.


Each agency within the Commonwealth of Virginia is dedicated to recruiting, supporting, and maintaining a competent and diverse work force. Equal Opportunity Employer

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