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Research Associate III, Biden School of Public Policy and Administration

Apply now Job no: 496030
College / VP Area: College of Arts & Sciences
Work type: Staff
Location: Newark
Categories: Research & Laboratory, Full Time

Pay Grade: 30E

Context of the Job:

The “Urban Observatory” (UO) at the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware seeks a well-qualified candidate for the position of Research Associate within Prof. Gregory Dobler’s research group.  The Research Associate will be responsible for designing, deploying, and implementing UO sites in Wilmington, DE and cities of partner institutions.  The UO is a multi-modal sensing platform for acquisition and analysis of remote imaging data of urban skylines for the goal of studying cities as complex systems (see  Initially deployed in New York City in 2014, the UO is in the process of expanding to multiple sites in multiple cities to use remote imaging to study urban energy use, air quality and environmental impacts, patterns of urban functioning, health of urban greenspaces, and ecological and public health impacts of infrastructure use. 


The Research Associate’s responsibilities will include: equipment selection and deployment; documentation and relationship building with vendors; design and implementation of backend architecture for data acquisition, storage, and analysis; and management of devices and users on a shared computing environment. Responsibilities pertain to design and deployment of urban observatory sites as well as research responsibilities within the Urban Observatory. 


The Biden School of Public Policy and Administration provides undergraduate and graduate education, research, and public service in the fields of leadership, urban affairs, public policy, public administration, public health, energy and environmental policy, and disaster management. The School hosts approximately 35 faculty and 55 professional staff in addition to approximately 270 undergraduate majors, 250 undergraduate minors, and 250 graduate students in its 10 academic programs.


Major Responsibilities:



  • Responsible for selection and acquisition of broadband and multi/hyper-spectral imaging systems to be deployed at a high vantage point overlooking an urban environment. 
  • Establish connection protocols with the deployed imaging systems and create a pipeline for survey-mode observations, including image acquisition, transfer, and databasing.
  • Relationship building with equipment vendors including coordination of shipment and receiving of specially designed camera and computing systems.



  • Responsible for assembly and management of a backend environment including computing and large data storage components.
  • Design and implement databases for imaging and image products.
  • Maintain the UO’s tiered access system for users of UO data.


Urban Science Research

  • Participate in the analysis of UO data as well as contributing to the writing of scientific papers and preparation of funding proposals.
  • Collaborate with students and researchers at the University of Delaware and partner institution in academic settings.
  • Perform miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.



  • Bachelor’s degree and four years related experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Degree in computer systems related discipline preferred.
  • Expertise in deployed sensing systems including data acquisition, transfer, and communications. 
  • Fluent in scripted Python (with an emphasis on real time data pipelines preferred); proficient in C++; experience with Javascript is a plus.
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision for all types of projects.
  • Co-author on publications or other research products.
  • Experience with communications between networked devices.
  • Experience managing multi-user computing environments.
  • Experience managing and maintaining a laboratory for the design and testing of imaging equipment.
  • Effective communication skills.
  • Ability to develop, organize, and manage high-profile projects and programs preferred.
  • Experience managing high velocity, high volume data streams with low throughput connections preferred.
  • Expertise in SDK development of custom camera communication software preferred.
  • Experience deploying weatherized field instrumentation including scientific imaging and video equipment preferred.
  • Experience with OpenCV (C++ based) preferred.
  • Knowledge of radio communication protocols for low-latency, antenna-based data transfer preferred.

Notice of Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The University of Delaware does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, disability, religion, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in its employment, educational programs and activities, admissions policies, and scholarship and loan programs as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Delaware also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

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