• Research Associate

    Job ID
    Location : Location
    US-MA-Woods Hole
  • Job Summary

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for a Research Associate or Research Specialist to join the AOPE Department. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position, and is for benefits.


    The Ocean Acoustics and Signals Lab in the WHOI AOPE Department is seeking to hire a technically proficient and creative person to engage in our many-faceted research program. The person filling this position will engage in all aspects of research, including equipment and system design, at-sea data collection, rigorous data quality control, data processing, theoretically based data analysis, and documentation and publication of results. A combination of educational background and job experience is sought, with no strictly defined requirements. We encourage applications from motivated people looking for a challenging yet rewarding career who are willing to develop and apply new skills, and can work at sea as required.


    Necessary proficiencies


    1. Operation of data acquisition systems and software
    2. Data management
    3. Graphical representation of technical results


    Other desirable skills


    1. Computational physics expertise
    2. Refined skills with multiple technical computing languages
    3. Signal processing algorithm implementation
    4. Strong language and writing skills
    5. Time management when working on multiple projects.


    Appointment will be made at the level commensurate with experience, education, and expected responsibilities. It is anticipated that this position will be at the Research Associate I, II, III, or Research Specialist level.


    Research Associate I:
    This is an entry level position designed to encourage the connection and application of academic training to results-oriented projects in support of scientific and research activities. Initially this position will have direct supervision to achieve structured and assigned objectives.


    Research Associate II:
    With some supervision to achieve assigned objectives, identifies and participates in projects that support science and research activities through the demonstration of one or more specialized skills. Will be expected to work on tasks requiring creativity and independent thinking along with a proven understanding of fundamental research and science principles.


    Research Assoiate III:
    With little supervision, works creatively and independently to establish objectives, meet deadlines, and complete difficult assignments by demonstrating full competency in one or more areas of scientific investigation; assists substantively in planning technical aspects of experiments as well as identifying and developing techniques and instrumentation for scientific investigation in the laboratory and/or the field.


    Research Specialist:
    With increased latitude for unreviewed activity and using a broad view of principles and practices in relevant laboratory or field projects, contributes substantially to the conception, organization, execution, management, and reporting of significant technological projects. A Research Specialist is recognized within the Institution as an authority in his/her field of specialization or in management of complex projects.


    Essential Functions

    Research Associate I

    •       Analyzes field and laboratory experiments using prescribed techniques; may utilize and/or modify computer analysis tools;
    •         May make creative suggestions regarding adaptations or modifications to standard research and laboratory methods;
    •         Participates in the preparation of scientific articles, reports or documentation of methods and procedures;
    •         May test and calibrate laboratory and scientific equipment, engage in literature searches, or assist with preparations for research cruises.


    Research Associate II:

    •         Analyzes field and laboratory experiments to achieve stated goals; may do computer programming or computer network/systems support for research related tasks;
    •         Exercises creativity regarding adaptations or modifications to standard research and laboratory methods;        Participates in the preparation of scientific articles, reports, research proposals, and documentation of methods and procedures. May engage in oral communication of the results of research endeavors;
    •         May be responsible for the testing, calibration, and troubleshooting of laboratory and scientific equipment, or for the planning and preparation for research cruises;
    •         May supervise other personnel.


    Research Associate III:

    •         Designs and analyzes field and laboratory experiments to achieve stated goals;
    •         Exercises independent judgment and creativity in making adaptations or modifications to standard research and laboratory methods;
    •         Assists in the preparation of scholarly papers and research proposals and demonstrates skill in communicating the results of the scientific endeavors;
    •         May prepare and produce independent writings of scientific endeavors;
    •         May supervise other technical staff personnel within the laboratory.



    • Exercises technical responsibility for organizing, coordinating, executing, and interpreting required research to achieve stated scientific goals, including furthering the scientific discipline;
    • Fulfills all the characteristic duties appropriate to a Research Associate III, but with a broader view and understanding of the scientific principles in his/her specialized field;
    • Independently writes technical reports, papers, and research proposals and/or provides documentation of research results;
    • May be responsible for supervising other personnel within the laboratory;
    • May serve as a principal investigator, with full responsibility for proposal preparation, grant financial and management oversight, and the supervision of the staff necessary to support the grant activities;





    • As deemed necessary by supervisor

    Education & Experience


    Research Associate I: Bachelor's degree in a specifically related field with minimal experience, or evidence of appropriate skills gained through experience in the absence of a formal degree. (Candidates with a Bachelor's degree and minimal experience in an unrelated field will likely start on the Department Assistant ladder.).  Math, engineering or science degree preferred.


    As an initial position on the Technical Ladder, a Research Associate I is not expected to remain at this level for more than two to three years. During this time, the Research Associate I is expected to demonstrate appropriate skills, intellectual motivation, and growth in independence and creativity to warrant promotion to the Research Associate II position. Failure to reach the level of Research Associate II within two to three years may warrant reclassification or termination.


    Research Associate II: Master's degree in a specifically related field with minimal relevant experience, or Bachelor's degree in a related field with several years of relevant experience, or demonstrated competency as a Research Associate I, or significant, progressive independence and skill development as a Research Assistant III, or Senior Research Assistant levels or equivalent positions on the other technical ladders, or equivalent experience in the absence of a formal degree. (Candidates with a Master's degree in an unrelated field and minimal relevant experience will likely start on the Department Assistant ladder.)


    A Research Associate II will have demonstrated initial competence in one or more specialized areas of science or research support. The opportunity exists for assumption of increased technical and/or managerial responsibilities based on the continued development of expertise. While there is no time limit to appointment at this rank, promotion within the Technical Staff is expected. To that end, promotion consideration can occur as early as the third year in rank; formal consideration should normally occur within five or six years in rank.  Math, engineering or science degree preferred.


    Research Associate III: Ph.D. in a related field, or Master's in a related field with several years of relevant experience, or Bachelor's in a related field with more than five years of experience. In the absence of a formal degree, considerable equivalent work experience is required. Successful candidates will have demonstrated the technical skill, motivation, independence, and creativity necessary to complete difficult tasks.


    While there is no appropriate time limit for appointment at this rank, exceptional individuals will be promoted. Candidates should develop a mastery of specialized techniques or ingenuity and creativity in selecting and evaluating approaches to problems. They should develop the ability to apply an analytical approach to solutions and to assimilate the details and significance of various analyses, procedures, and tests prior to being considered for promotion.   Math, engineering or science degree preferred.


    Research Specialist: Appropriate academic background enhanced by more than 10 years of specifically related experience. All candidates must possess demonstrated excellence within a related field, i.e., a record of superior accomplishment--such as patents, publications, or documented instrumentation or systems--which provides objective evidence of original professional contributions and/or exceptional management skills. 

    Physical Requirements

    Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

    Sea Duty


    May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.



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