Research Scientist

Astronomy Group

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) advances discovery and innovation through extreme-scale computing, science-enabling software, and the skills of our expert staff. The center is part of the flagship University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—a world leader in research, teaching, and public engagement—and is located in a micro-urban community that combines cultural vibrancy with affordability and quality of life.

For more than 30 years, NCSA has partnered with visionaries to discover solutions to grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. Our advanced digital resources and world-class staff push research beyond the unimaginable. Can you imagine? We can.

NCSA seeks a Research Scientist to join the Astronomy Group. NCSA uses a variety of local, national and cloud-based resources, as well as intellectual resources, to enable large scale observational science, such as the Dark Energy Survey (DES), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), and a number of future projects in development. The scientist will: support, build, and operate ambitious data systems for observational astronomy; engage in scientific collaborations and also the data science and engineering communities to help improve the state-of-the-art in data toolkits and techniques for observational survey science; develop and support challenging data production systems and apply data science techniques to current and future large observational programs; process and analyze data and participate in the overall operations and success of NCSA projects.

NCSA encourages professional development and provides advancement and growth opportunities for employees wishing to further their careers.

Key responsibilities

  • Project Responsibilities
    • Assist science teams in the development of analysis techniques for survey science data.
    • Collaborate with research groups in the pursuit of common missions, vision, values and mutual goals.
    • Engage the data science community to improve the capability and performance of data science.
    • Participate in data production, management, and releases for large astronomical surveys such as DES and LSST.
    • Apply technologies to solve big data problems and to develop innovative big data solutions.
    • Keep abreast of developments in the high-performance computing field, writing technical reports, conference and journal papers as appropriate, review scientific papers and proposals as appropriate.
    • Other related duties as assigned.
  • Independent Research
    • Participate and engage in existing survey science research at NCSA and on campus.

Required education and experience

  • PhD in astronomy, physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, or related field. Alternative degree fields will be considered if accompanied by equivalent experience (depending on nature and depth of experience as it relates to current NCSA projects and technologies).
  • A minimum of one year of experience working with real world data science applications.

Preferred experience

  • Experience with large and complex data sets.
  • Experience with high-performance computing using distributed computing and/or cloud technologies.

Key skills/knowledge

  • Strong software engineering skills and a track record of contributing to software projects and collaborating with other developers.
  • Working knowledge of the Linux operating system, a programming or data analysis language (e.g., Python, C, C++, etc.), and data access languages (e.g., MySQL, Oracle, NoSQL).
  • Ability to work both independently and as a team member.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects with competing priorities and deadlines, and an eagerness to take ownership of challenging and open-ended assignments.
  • Effective at communicating with audiences whose technical backgrounds vary widely.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.

This is a regular academic professional position at NCSA and is an annually renewable, 12-month, 100%-time appointment with regular University benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience and start date will be as soon as possible after the close date of the search. Applicants must possess required education and experience by start date of position. Interviews and hires may occur before the closing date; however, all applications received by the closing date will receive full consideration. For further information regarding our application procedures, you may visit or email

To apply, please create your candidate profile at and upload your cover letter and CV/resume by the close date, November 25, 2019. Contact information for three references must be included on the application. For full consideration, candidates must complete the Hiretouch application process by the above date.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit

For further information regarding our application procedures, you may visit or email