Research and Development Engineer (Autonomy Lead Engineer)

Penn State University

University Park Campus
Campus City:
University Park, PA
Date Announced:
Date Closing:
Job Number:
Level/Salary Band:
  • 03 – N – Exempt
  • 04 – O – Exempt
  • 05 – P – Exempt
Work Unit:
Applied Research Laboratory
Tactical Processing
Full/Part Time:


The Tactical Processing Department in The Guidance and Control Technologies (GCT) Division of the Undersea Systems Office (USO) within the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at The Pennsylvania State University is seeking an Autonomy Lead Engineer to join our team. The department’s mission is to develop, analyze, and deliver tactical processing capabilities for the autonomous, intelligent control of undersea systems, and research new capabilities and designs for future autonomous systems. The Tactical Processing Department is responsible for the research and development of architectures and algorithms for situational awareness, and autonomous decision making, and analyzing acoustic, sensor, and vehicle data for Science and Technology demonstrations as well as Engineering Development and In-Service weapons programs. It serves as the leading resource for the undersea systems community in situational awareness, guidance and control, and autonomous decision-making. This position may be filled by either a Research Faculty or Research and Development Engineer. Technical and program leadership responsibilities include: Provide technical expertise and direction through the development of outstanding research and engineering capabilities within the Tactical Processing Department. Work with the USO leadership team to ensure rigorous execution, sound research and engineering practices, and the highest standards of technical work. Develop and execute the strategic vision of undersea autonomy. Work with the leadership of USO programs, sponsor and technical community, and PMs/PIs of other ARL programs, to plan and execute programs advancing autonomous capabilities for current and future applications. Direct and/or participate in major proposal preparation and presentation. This job will be filled as a level 3, level 4, or level 5, depending upon the successful candidate's competencies, education, and experience. Typically requires a Bachelor's degree or higher in an Engineering or Science discipline (Master's degree preferred) plus five years of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience for a level 3. Additional experience and/or education and competencies are required for higher level jobs. Experience in: Vehicle autonomy; machine learning; artificial intelligence; deep learning; intelligent control and fuzzy logic; command and control systems; and undersea acoustics is ideal. A Master’s degree or a PhD is preferred. Possession of a security clearance is highly desired. Experience leading programs, managing people, and advancing autonomy concepts from research to application is required. The successful candidate should have the following attributes: proven ability to obtain external funding for proposed research; willingness and ability to travel to represent ongoing programs with sponsors and to develop new research initiatives; broad experience across relevant defense and related U.S. Government domains; experience with Navy, Department of Defense, and/or industry research funding activities; and good presentation skills for effective verbal and written communication. Applicant selected will be subject to a government security investigation. You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply. Employment with the ARL will require successful completion of a pre-employment drug screen. ARL is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion; we believe this is central to our success as a Department of Defense designated University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). We are at our best when we draw on the talents of all parts of society, and our greatest accomplishments are achieved when diverse perspective are part of our workforce. This is a one year, fixed-term renewable appointment.

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