Research Scientist/Engineer, UW / Rubin Observatory

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, November 20, 2020
Archive Date: 
Friday, December 18, 2020
To event remaining 12 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
University of Washington
Department Name: 
Department of Astronomy
Street Line 1: 
Box 351580
Street Line 2: 
University of Washington
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Data Intensive Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology (DIRAC) Institute within the Department of Astronomy at the University of Washington is searching for multiple research scientists to help design and develop next-generation data processing pipelines for the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and to participate in its early science projects.

The Rubin Observatory will soon undertake a decade-long astronomical survey, the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST).  It will observe half the sky every three nights, detect ten million transient events nightly, and generate more than 6 petabytes of data per year.  Its catalogs will include data for about 40 billion objects. The University of Washington is leading the development of the software pipelines that will analyze LSST's images in near-real time, detect millions of transient, variable and moving objects — and alert the world about them.

As a member of our team, you will develop the algorithms and write the code that makes this possible.  Through your work investigating new algorithmic approaches, evaluating technical tradeoffs, and testing the resulting pipelines we will be able to confirm that they meet our performance requirements. We will encourage you to have a voice in the project and support you in producing high-quality science with the resulting LSST data.

We are looking for multiple research scientists to work within the Rubin Observatory Alert Production team.  We are hiring for roles developing algorithms to discover new objects in our Solar System; improving our image processing and image differencing algorithms and pipelines; and creating machine learning algorithms for identifying image processing artifacts.

You are a researcher excited by the scientific potential of the Rubin Observatory.  You're an effective software developer with experience in Python and/or C++. You are a skilled written and oral communicator who effectively collaborates with local and remote colleagues. You are eager to develop new algorithms for a next-generation astronomical survey.

The Rubin Observatory is an international collaboration with headquarters in Tucson, AZ. The Rubin Observatory Data Management team is composed of about 100 people, with 15 at the University of Washington. Our developer guide is regularly updated at The main codebase you will work on is open source at

The DIRAC Institute is a community of over 25 researchers and software developers within UW's Department of Astronomy engaged in the understanding of our universe through the analysis of large and complex data sets. We are an open, ethical, collaborative community. We believe in providing a welcoming and inclusive environment, in the importance of quality of life, in embracing diversity, in making a difference, and in having fun.

The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. We especially encourage individuals from underrepresented groups in STEM to apply.


  • A 40-hour work week with a flexible schedule
  • 20% of your time to work on your own scientific research and/or software pursuits
  • A team culture that values high-quality work, supports growth, and encourages vacations
  • Relocation expenses
  • Living in Seattle with flexibility for remote work some of the time
  • Support for professional development and conference travel
  • Choice of personal computing hardware (provided)
  • Access to UW and LSST computing clusters


  • Masters Degree in astronomy, physics, computer science, or a related field; and 1 year of experience
  • Ability to develop astronomical image processing algorithms and software
  • Experience developing Python and/or C++ software
  • Effective written and oral communication skills

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration.


  • Experience in solar system orbital dynamics or asteroid surveys; astronomical image differencing; or deep learning
  • Excited to contribute to the science projects enabled by early LSST data
  • Experience with collaborative software development
  • Excited to contribute to open source software and know your way around Git and GitHub

Candidates with fewer than five years of prior postdoctoral appointments may wish to apply for Astronomy’s advertised postdoctoral positions at UW, particularly if they require visa sponsorship.

Please submit a resume and a cover letter describing your interest in the position and relevant experience through the UW HR website (linked below). The positions will remain open until filled; for full consideration please apply by December 10, 2020. The start date is flexible, but the positions are funded to start immediately.

Included Benefits: 

As a UW employee, you will enjoy generous benefits and work/life programs.  For detailed information on Benefits for this position, click here.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, December 18, 2020
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, February 1, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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University of Washington Human Resources
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Eric Bellm
Rubin Observatory Research Scientist Positions