Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is currently searching for Engineer I/Engineer II applicants to join the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department. This position seeks candidates with interests in oceanographic research, ocean exploration and/or ocean-based climate solutions. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for full benefits.


Primary responsibilities will include the development, design, and implementation of mechanical, electronic and/or embedded systems associated with purpose-built oceanographic equipment and marine robotics. An applicant hired into this position may be responsible for the design and integration of oceanographic instrumentation, marine vehicle sensor payloads, and the development of unmanned underwater vehicle platforms. This position may also include assessing, troubleshooting, and resolving technical issues with equipment and sensors in the field as well as in laboratory settings. The individual may organize and carry out coastal field work and support research cruises onboard oceanographic research vessels. They may also assist in the development of software for real-time processing of sensor data or otherwise assist or contribute to the analysis of data from field sensors to produce curated data products. They will be encouraged to contribute to writing and presenting published research at academic conferences and to support STEAM outreach and intern mentorship programs. Candidates with mechanical, electrical, computer science, software or robotics backgrounds are encouraged to apply for this position.


The internal working title for this position could be either Engineer I or Engineer II. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate's level of education & experience. 


WHOI is committed to creating a diverse research community and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

Essential Functions

Engineer I

  • Prepares oceanographic instruments for field deployments
  • Participates in field operations, including operations at land-based sites, fixed offshore structures, and at sea ship-based sampling
  • Applies basic research principles and standard laboratory instrumentation to engineering design efforts
  • Tests designs, calibrates instrumentation, troubleshoots mechanical/electronic systems
  • Develops computer code, microprocessor code, and uses CAD, CAE tools
  • Participates in report writing to document instrumentation developments and tests
  • Organizes, interprets, and summarizes acquired data using scientific and statistical techniques via computer-based analysis programs

Engineer II

  • Participates in the design of instruments, methods, and observing techniques
  • Conceptualizes solutions to engineering problems and exercises creativity regarding adaptations or modifications to standard research and laboratory methods
  • Leads field operations, including operations at land-based sites, fixed offshore structures, and at sea ship-based sampling
  • Develops, calibrates, and tests new designs and techniques and troubleshoots electronic/mechanical systems
  • Acts as information source on specific research techniques and trains others in technical procedures and equipment operation
  • Participates in report writing to document developments and tests
  • Analyzes field and laboratory experiments using prescribed techniques; may utilize and/or modify computer analysis tools
  • Organizes, interprets, and summarizes acquired data using scientific and statistical techniques via computer-based analysis programs
  • Contributes to academic manuscript writing and publication and presenting of research and developed systems at academic conferences.
  • Develops and tests signal processing and sensor data processing software.
  • Will be given the opportunity to undertake tasks with minimal supervision, complete objectives with creativity and independent thinking, and collaborate on novel applied research ideas.


  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Education & Experience

  • Engineer I is expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in a relevant Engineering or science environment or 2-3 years of experience in a relevant field
  • Engineer II is expected to hold a master’s degree in engineering or computer science with a research component and minimal experience, or a bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science with a few years of experience in academic or industry research.



  • Experience in mechanical design and CAD tools
  • Experience in software development, data analysis, programming, or robotics
  • Familiarity with boat handling and working on the water or a willingness to learn

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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