Full time Remote / Telecommute

Visiting Research Scientist

Created: May 3, 2022


The School of Information Sciences seeks a Visiting Research Scientist, to apply advanced knowledge in computing to partner with research faculty to develop software enabling an open-source platform (yt; https://yt-project.org/) and extend its capabilities for scientific analysis and visualizations across domains.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Research and Domain Community Development (50%):

  • Engage with multiple open-source communities, particularly yt, and examine the dynamics of relationships between open-source scientific software communities. This will include dependency (technical and social) analysis, requirements definition and dissemination, and interoperability studies.
  • Invent and apply novel approaches, algorithms, or implementations to improve the capabilities of the yt platform across domains of research.
  • Conduct research in related domain sciences, as appropriate to individual background. Ensure that research outputs include publishable and/or openly accessible deliverables (such as software).
  • Conduct outreach to domains outside of astronomy for the adoption of yt, including research groups and software communities.
  • Work with Principal Investigators in developing grant applications and participating as senior investigator on appropriate proposals.
  • Disseminate research and technology through conference presentations, publications, and workshops.

Research Software Conceptualization and Implementation (40%):

  • Lead and assist in directing the development of the yt project, including new features and code development, code review, onboarding new team members, holding maintainer and triage meetings, participating as a member of the yt steering committee, as well as other community development work. Research and develop software for open source and/or community tools, such as yt, widgyts, tools in the yt-project ecosystem, and the natural science and data visualization communities.
  • Develop connections between yt and components in the modern python data ecosystem, including dask, xarray, jupyterlab, and others.
  • Drive research software development by guaranteeing milestones are achieved, recognizing emergent project needs, and taking the initiative to ensure these are addressed and resolved.
  • Integrate collaborative input and design new approaches and techniques to address project-specific needs and critical technological challenges.
  • Co-author sponsor required technical reports.

Development and Local Engagement (10%):

  • Engage with local groups at University of Illinois as well as at other academic institutions
  • Recruit, supervise, and train hourly employees and student interns.
  • Perform related duties as assigned. 



RequiredBachelor’s degree in information sciences, computer science, natural sciences (physics, astronomy, geophysics, atmospheric dynamics, etc.), or related field.

PreferredPost-graduate degree (Master's or PhD).



  • Experience in relevant software development.
  • Experience with python, git, and github. 


  • 4+ years experience in relevant software development.
  • Experience with pydata packages such as dask, xarray, jupyterlab, cython, etc.
  • Experience working with domain scientists (astronomy, geophysics, etc.).
  • Contributions toward research publications.
  • Contributions toward open source software. 


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Strong drive to learn and independently develop new computational techniques that will advance research. Commitment to open-source development. Excellent written and verbal communication skills and professional demeanor. Preferred:  Strong working knowledge of one or more natural science disciplines. Familiarity with HPC environments, containers, and parallel computing.


Salary and Appointment Information:

This is a full-time, benefits-eligible Visiting Academic Professional position appointed on a 12-month service basis, renewable annually based on funding availability. Position may become a regular, non-visiting position at a later date depending on funding and programmatic need. The application will be open until the position is filled, but all applications received by May 16, 2022* will receive full consideration. The proposed start date is as soon as possible after the close date. Salary will commensurate with experience.
*This is very likely to be extended, email Karen Wickett at wickett2@illinois.edu if you are considering the position and concerned about this timeline.

To Apply:

To ensure full consideration, complete applications must be submitted by May 16, 2022. To apply, please visit http://jobs.illinois.edu and upload your cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information of three professional references.

For further information about this specific position and the application process, please contact ischool-hr@illinois.edu. For information about job duties and expectations, contact Karen Wickett at wickett2@illinois.edu. Additional information about the iSchool is available on our website at ischool.illinois.edu.

University of Illinois faculty, staff and students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not able to receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, you may seek approval for an exemption in accordance with applicable University processes.

How to apply


Karen M Wickett
Assistant Professor
School of Information Sciences
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Software Developer high performance computing Community building Open source


Published: Wednesday, May 4, 2022 00:34 UTC

Last updated: Wednesday, May 4, 2022 00:34 UTC