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Research Associate - Uncrewed/Autonomous Vessel and Data Analysis for Ocean Optics

The University of Southern Mississippi is currently accepting applications for the position of Research Associate - Uncrewed/Autonomous Vessel and Data Analysis for Ocean Optics.

Position Details
Location John C. Stennis Space Center

1020 Balch Blvd
Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, 39529
United States
Division Marine Science
Position Type Staff
Employment Status Full Time
Grant Funded Yes
Salary Range 38,656.00 - 52,300.00
Posting Close Date Open until filled

Special Instructions to Applicants
Please submit cover letter, CV and a list of three references with your job application. The successful candidate will be subject to a USM background check and additional background check by NASA Stennis Space Center, where job is located.

Job Summary 
To support a large scale research effort to develop high-resolution coastal sensor and model system in the Mississippi Sound, Division of Marine Science at the University of Southern Mississippi is offering an Engineering/Research Associate position in the field of ocean optics, with a particular focus on uncrewed/autonomous surface vessel integrated with optical sensors for data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Through a prior effort, two optical sensors, LISST-VSF by Sequoia and ACS by Sea-Bird have been integrated to an autonomous surface vessel SP-48 developed by SeaTrac.  The successful candidate will be expected to manage and operate the system, calibrate the sensors, and analyze data. Duties will also include contributing to monthly meetings, quarterly progress reports and publishing research findings in peer-reviewed journals.

DMS/USM comprises a large team of faculty, engineers, students and other related staff. The successful candidate is encouraged to collaborate among DMS and USM and to develop creative applications using the data collected by the autonomous system.

The position is available immediately, with an initial appointment of one year and can be extended contingent upon funding availability and satisfactory performance reviews.  

Primary Duties and Responsibilities  
Please list the six primary duties of this position.  Primary duties are those duties in which the incumbent would spend most of their time performing.  Please include “and performs other duties as assigned” at the end of your last primary duty.

  1. Manage and operate the SeaTrac SP-48 autonomous vessel;
  2. Develop software to automate and organize data to be collected, including navigation, environment, CTD, LISST-VSF, ACS.
  3. Calibrate the sensors in the lab
  4. Analyze data
  5. Reports the results in peer-reviewed scientific journals and professional conferences
  6. Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications 
This position requires a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in Engineering, Computer Science, Physical Sciences and 2 years of engineering or scientific experience; or a Master’s degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Physical or Biological Sciences.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
  • Scientific programming proficiency
  •  Quantitative analytical skills
  • Demonstrated knowledge in integrating and operating scientific sensors on various oceanographic sampling platforms
  • Ability to conduct lab experiment
  • Excellent command of the English language in both written and verbal communication
  • Driver license in U.S. and ability to work in/near water for launching boat 
  • Ability to occasional travel for conferences and possible field trip onboard a research vessel at sea.

Preferred Qualifications  
Master or Doctoral degree from an accredited college or university in a related marine science or engineering discipline with experience in working optical instruments, or substantial experience (> 5 years) in using optical sensors and programming skills in analyzing data. Related education and related experience may be substituted on an equal basis.

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 131 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education's "R1: Doctoral Universities - Very high research activity" designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and large event venue safety and security, among others.  USM is also one of only 37 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $600 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of more than 14,000, representing 71 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 37 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit

As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer/Americans with Disabilities Act institution, The University of Southern Mississippi encourages minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities to apply.


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