Research Software Engineer

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Closing date
Oct 15, 2022

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Earth and Space Science Informatics
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Relocation Cost
Sector Type

Job Details

Requisition Id 8825 


The Watershed Systems Modeling Group within the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory seeks a research software engineer to contribute to the development and maintenance of high-performance computing software for simulating watershed hydrologic and geochemical processes. You will join a dynamic and growing team of researchers who are using state-of-the-art simulation tools running on the U.S. Department of Energy’s leadership class facilities to better understand some of the most critical environmental issues including the effects of changing climate on water availability and water quality. We are committed to the idea that well-engineered software is necessary for scientific productivity and seek a person to advance both software and science objectives.

Major Duties/Responsibilities:

The successful candidate will be responsible for research code development, testing, maintenance, documentation, and deployment. You will support the work of multidisciplinary teams as we evaluate new process models against observations. You will also help integrate new process models into spatially resolved watershed models running on high-performance computers and participate in projections of water availability and water quality in a changing climate.  You will work with the team to improve testing practices, refactor and maintain existing code, and improve software design and performance.  You will work to support and grow a healthy open source community software ecosystem that includes a diverse set of users, developers, and software.

Qualifications Required:

  • A BS in computer science, computational science, engineering, a quantitative science field or related and at least two years relevant post-BS experience are required.
  • Experience with C++ or python and modern software engineering practices and tools are required.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to work both independently and as a key contributor to a multidisciplinary team are essential.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Previous experience developing or contributing to large, complex scientific software systems.
  • Experience with high-performance computing and heterogeneous architecture programming models.
  • Experience with continuous integration, HPC software deployment, and DevOps.
  • Familiarity with all aspects of the software development lifecycle.

About the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD):

ESD is an interdisciplinary research and development organization with more than 60 years of achievement in local, regional, national, and international environmental research. Our vision is to expand scientific knowledge and develop innovative strategies and technologies that will strengthen the nation’s leadership in creating solutions to help sustain the Earth’s natural resources. Our scientists conduct research, develop technology, and perform analyses to understand and assess responses of environmental systems at the environment-human interface and the consequences of alternative energy and environmental strategies.

The ESS section is world-renowned for large-scale experimental manipulations and is currently leading the US DOE flagship ‘Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments’ (SPRUCE) field experiment. ESD staff also lead the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) Arctic project, and we are an integral partner in the NGEE Tropics research project. We also lead the Critical Interfaces Science Focus Area (CI-SFA), which investigates the role of hydrology on the transformation of redox-sensitive elements, such as mercury, in a flowing stream system. ESS staff also lead the development of multiple land system components in the US DOE Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), are an integral part of the modeling-focused IDEAS-Watersheds project (, and co-lead the ExaSheds project, which is integrating machine learning methods into watershed models.

This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply. UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy system. ORNL’s scientific programs focus on materials, neutron science, energy, high-performance computing, systems biology and national security. ORNL partners with the state of Tennessee, universities and industries to solve challenges in energy, advanced materials,manufacturing, security and physics. The laboratory's science and technology innovations are translated into applications for economic development and global security. The laboratory is home to several of the world’s top supercomputers and is a leading neutron science and nuclear energy research facility that includes the Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor. ORNL hosts a DOE Leadership Computing Facility—home of the Titan supercomputer; one of DOE’s nanoscience centers—the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences; the BioEnergy Science Center—one of DOE’s Energy Research Centers; and the Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light-Water Reactors, a DOE Innovation Hub.

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