Research and Development Engineer (Operations Research/Data Science Engineer)

Penn State University

University Park Campus
Date Announced:
Date Closing:
open until filled
Job Number:
Level/Salary Band:
  • 01 – L – Exempt
  • 02 – M – Exempt
  • 03 – N – Exempt
Work Unit:
Applied Research Laboratory
Systems Engineering
Full/Part Time:


The Systems Engineering Department of the Undersea Systems Office at the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at Penn State University (PSU) is looking for multiple motivated and talented engineers and/or subject matter experts to apply tools and methods in Operations Research/Data Science to a variety of DoD/Intel applications. Operations Research is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions. It encompasses a wide range of problem-solving techniques and methods applied in the pursuit of improved decision-making and efficiency. The goal of our Operations Research group is to provide insightful and rigorous analytic studies in support of DoD and Intel customers that exceed their expectations while delivering on-time and within budget. We strive to: Provide unbiased “trusted agent” analysis; identify the right questions to answer via close customer interaction; work with domain experts across ARL, Penn State, the research community, and the DoD; conduct rigorous quantitative studies; provide creative, clear, and concise presentation of results; and achieve system-level “big picture” insights for decision support. We are looking for individuals that can solve minimally defined problems and deliver concrete findings and guidance to end customers. Typical efforts involve soliciting domain expert knowledge, modeling and simulation, optimization, literature investigations, and organizing reviews by stakeholders and customers. We are looking to round-out our team with the following roles: Entry Engineer/Analyst/Software Engineer (Engineering, Science, Math, Computer Science background with a desire to apply skills to real-world analytical problems in research and development through system assessment and tool development); Lead Engineer/Analyst (Engineering, Science, Math, Computer Science background with an ability to lead a group with diverse experience to deliver desired results and to initiate and manage relationships with end customers); and Subject Matter Expert (prior military, prefer candidates with Navy undersea experience who are able to use their operational and systems experience to identify key considerations and requirements for new concepts). This job will be filled as a level 1, level 2, or level 3, depending upon the successful candidate's competencies, education, and experience. Typically requires a Bachelor's degree or higher in an Engineering or Science discipline (Professional Engineer license accepted in lieu of Bachelor's degree), or an equivalent combination of education and experience for a level 1. Additional experience and/or education and competencies are required for higher level jobs. A Bachelor’s degree (Master’s degree or PhD for higher level positions) in Engineering, Operations Research, Data Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Physics, or other related technical degrees is desired. For entry level candidates, experience in scientific programming for modeling and problem solving (e.g. MATLAB, Mathematica, R, Python, C/C++, Java, or similar languages) is preferred. Previous military experience, especially in undersea systems, underwater vehicles (UUV, submarine, torpedo), cyber systems, or signal analysis is beneficial. Entry level candidates should be: Inquisitive, proactive, and interested in learning new tools, techniques, and problem domains; possess strong written, oral, and interpersonal communication and presentation skills; be well-organized, independent, and ready to work with minimal supervision; and feel comfortable working in an environment where problems are often not initially well-defined. Advanced candidates must have previous experience using various analytical methods in practice (e.g. mathematical programming, multi-objective optimization, multi-criteria decision support, game theory, Design of Experiments, random variables, Monte Carlo analysis, simulation optimization, and physics based capability modeling). Other analytic methods are desired as needed or appropriate. You must be able to demonstrate a history of presenting the results of work that you have led or participated in to experts or high-level decision makers. Candidates selected will be subject to a government security investigation. You must be a U.S. citizen to apply. Employment with the Applied Research Laboratory will require successful completion of a pre-employment drug screen. These are one-year, fixed-term renewable appointments.

These salary bands have been established to provide salary guidelines for staff positions.

Salary Band Minimum Midpoint Maximum
A $16,584 $24,456 $32,328
B $18,240 $26,904 $35,556
C $19,728 $29,592 $39,456
D $21,708 $32,568 $43,416
E $24,312 $36,468 $48,612
F $27,228 $40,848 $54,456
G $30,012 $45,744 $61,500
H $34,188 $52,140 $70,080
I $38,988 $59,424 $79,908
J $43,716 $67,740 $91,812
K $50,712 $78,600 $106,488
L $58,836 $91,176 $123,528
M $68,232 $105,756 $143,292
N $80,508 $124,788 $169,068
O $93,492 $147,252 $201,024
P $110,340 $173,760 $237,192
Q $126,396 $199,056 $271,728
R $151,668 $238,872 $326,088