Research Scientist (Engineer 4)

University of Washington

Seattle, WA, United States 🇺🇸

As a UW employee, you have a unique opportunity to change lives on our campuses, in our state and around the world. UW employees offer their boundless energy, creative problem solving skills and dedication to build stronger minds and a healthier world. 

UW faculty and staff also enjoy outstanding benefits, professional growth opportunities and unique resources in an environment noted for diversity, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits and natural beauty. All of which has allowed the UW to be nationally recognized as a “Great College to Work For” for four consecutive years. 

Civil & Environmental Engineering and the eScience Institute have an outstanding opportunity for a Research Scientist/Engineer 4. 

The Research Scientist/Engineer will provide research support and develop leadership in the interdisciplinary Freshwater Initiative in collaboration with College of Engineering, College of the Environment, and UW Tacoma researchers.  This field of research spans and intersects Civil Engineering, Environmental Science, Computer Science, and Data Science. We are seeking to enhance our impact in computational sciences for interdisciplinary research, made possible due to additional funding from the Mountain to Sea Strategic Research Initiative to support the Freshwater Initiative (  This position will coordinate with eScience research staff, which includes researchers from many fields, including physical, mathematical and biological sciences, to expand the footprint of engagement between eScience and Freshwater.  

This position will plan and execute research programs in collaboration with Freshwater faculty and other researchers through independent research activities.  This will include research project formulation, research project execution, research project publication, software development, graduate and undergraduate student mentorship, and other activities designed to advance research in Freshwater systems.  This position will report to the Freshwater Faculty Director and work closely with the Freshwater Executive Director and UW eScience Institute Executive Directors.  This position will collaborate with colleagues who are both researchers at UW (professors, other professional staff, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students) and users (domain experts within .gov and NGO stakeholders).  Because this effort is both a research project and a technology and training delivery project, its requirements can change rapidly.  The successful candidate will need to adapt to different roles and responsibilities as requirements change, and act as a key point of contact for the project across different organizational units. 

This position will provide leadership and support for a diversity of projects: 

  • Coordinate day-to-day running of Freshwater Data Science Office Hours, interacting with a large number of researchers and students, including coordination support for the Freshwater steering committee led by graduate students from multiple colleges and departments. Provide assistance for Freshwater community organizing (communications, website development, meetings). Develop of new training and project development activities in collab. Collaborate on Freshwater projects that require code development and data management for computational modeling. 

This position is funded at 50% FTE, with opportunity to self-fund additional FTE through independent or collaborative research. 

This position will provide the successful applicant with leadership training, and will offer mentoring and support in the following areas: 

  • Exploring tenure, academic professional, and industry or government research positions 
  • Advising on available funding opportunities and available resources to support the current position 
  • Suggesting strategies for career development based on individual career goals stated in the employee annual review 
  • Manage collaborations with Freshwater partners in the Pacific Northwest; establish a computational modeling research agenda and data sharing agreements. 
  • Organize and conduct workshops and training events for Freshwater grantees in the Pacific Northwest in data science and modeling techniques and technologies. 
  • Train and mentor students in Freshwater sciences on the application of data-driven methodologies, high performance, and cloud computing, in their fields of research. 
  • Contribute, as part of a team, to significant data science and modeling software projects using appropriate technologies in large-scale data management, and/or machine learning and statistics, and/or interactive visualization and specialized data presentation interfaces. 
  • Work to release open source software, distribute results, help ensure scientific reproducibility of all results, and contribute to a “culture of reproducibility” across campus. 
  • Review and evaluate potential projects for technical merit and feasibility. 
  • Meet with potential collaborators to clarify goals, identify collaboration opportunities and recommend solutions. 
  • Advance long-term collaborations with established partners through joint research engagements. 
  • May publish results in appropriate venues, often jointly with collaborators outside the candidate’s own area of expertise. 
  • Participate in eScience Institute and Freshwater sponsor reporting and annual retreat activities. 
  • Prepare and deliver presentations on significant results, both internally and externally, representing Freshwater and the eScience Institute as well as specific projects. 
  • Develop web materials communicating significant results, best practices and case studies with specific technologies, and documentation for significant software. 
  • Help advance a reputation outside of UW for excellence in data science and modeling methods and practice, contributing to the Institute’s overall portfolio of successful projects. 
  • PhD in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics with research focus on water resources questions that include expertise in working with large spatial datasets and complex numerical models. 
  • At least 4 years of experience with hydrologic modeling and hydrologic data analysis. 

Desired Qualifications
  • Working knowledge of current field and hydrologic modeling methods to assess Freshwater systems. 
  • Experience working with and managing large, long-term data sets derived from models, field experiments and observational studies. 
  • Demonstrated experience in applying data science tools to aquatic science and/or hydrologic science research needs 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to work both independently and as part of a dynamic team environment. 
  • Competence with qualitative and quantitative data analysis and associated software such as R, Python and Matlab. 
  • Demonstrated experience in publishing water-related scientific research and communicating effectively through writing and presentations. 
  • Demonstrated ability to interact in a collaborative manner with other team members to accomplish organizational goals. 
  • Demonstrated experience in coordinating projects in geospatial data hack training and educational programs. 
  • Demonstrated experience in providing mentoring.