Research Scientist - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (153844)

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

United States

October 20, 2021



Research Scientist

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Grainger College of Engineering

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seeks applicants for the position of part-time (75% FTE) Research Scientist. The Research Scientist will contribute to the design and execution of research projects by developing and leading projects in transportation geotechnics and pavement engineering, preparing and contributing to proposals, technical reports, and publications proposals, and assisting with management of research group activities.

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, visithttps://

Specific duties and responsibilities include:

  • Assist with managing tasks associated with a research project titled "Automated Machine Vision Based Ballast Scanning," funded by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

  • Identify equipment types for use in developing the scanning and processing subsystems.

  • Design a test matrix for field ballast scanning with various imaging equipment and methods to test the prospective equipment under varying environmental conditions and ballast types/conditions.
  • System Design: Propose and revise designs for the ballast scanning system (new platform development and the existing Vehicle Track Cart or VTC) based on field testing results and requirement conclusions.
  • Coordinate the construction of the mobile platform with Machine Shops at the University of Illinois.
  • Determine motor and control system to provide steady speed for scanning ballast cross-sections.
  • Experiment with retractable camera arm and positioning system for proper position of cameras for scanning.
  • Work with Railroad Partners on Class I Track to provide cut sections with backhoe assistance and analyze results on degradation levels for cut sections.
  • Prepare deliverables and monthly progress reports.
  • Prepare and revise the final project report including all data and interpretations, and details of the final design of the ballast scanning platform.

  • Assist with managing tasks associated with a research project titled "Bender Element and Coil Sensor Data Driven Approach for Analyzing Modulus and Deformation Behavior of Granular Base/Subbase Layers in Airport Pavements: National Airport Pavement Test Facility (NAPTF) Construction Cycle 9 (CC9) Tests," funded by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA)

  • Analyze and interpret data from Bender Element field sensors installed at the geosynthetic experiment at NPTF CC9 test sections

  • Analyze and interpret data from coil sensors installed in CC9 test sections for the P-209 layer thickness, geosynthetics, and cement-treated drainable base experiments.
  • Establish a data-driven approach for modulus and deformation prediction of unbound airport pavement layers.
  • Develop calibrated permanent deformation damage prediction models for unbound layers in airport pavements, based on the collected data from coil sensors.
  • Prepare and deliver progress reports.
  • Prepare and revise the final report including all data, interpretations, and proposed damage prediction models.
  • Manage travel requirements for data collection and testing of any collected field material at the laboratory.

  • Manage the 'soils and geomaterials' laboratory at the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering laboratory

  • Contribute to equipment design, upgrades, and repair. This includes involvement in developing a shear box equipment for testing ballast materials and customizing current state of the art triaxial testing equipment (TX-2, TX-24, and UI-FastCell) to perform customized testing.
  • Maintain equipment at the laboratory, and train graduate and undergraduate students on the proper procedures/use of equipment.
  • Propose testing plans for new equipment including but not limited to lightweight, variable energy, dynamic penetrometer (panda┬«), and Precision Unbound Materials Analyzer (PUMA).
  • Work on the calibration of equipment developed at the Univ. of Illinois including the large triaxial test equipment (TX 24) and the Univ. of Illinois FastCell.
  • Propose testing plans for accelerated pavement testing projects including material testing, design of pavement test sections, and instrumentation plans.
  • Work closely with students to analyze and interpret data.
  • Write and follow up on proposals

  • Conduct comprehensive reviews of technical literature to identify knowledge gaps and research needs.

  • Formulate research tasks, including detailed deliverables, timelines, allocation of personnel and equipment, and required resources.
  • Estimate budgets and prepare project timelines.
  • Follow up on proposal submissions, revisions, and execution.

  • Assume additional appropriate related research scientist duties to further the mission of the laboratory

  • Draft and revise final reports for research projects and write peer- reviewed journal and conference papers based on research findings.

  • Present at meetings with sponsors, discuss research findings, follow-up on remaining tasks, and future research areas.
  • Work closely with research partners to identify needs and propose sound solutions.
  • Minimum Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering or closely related field, with a focus on transportation facilities and transportation geotechnics materials research
  • Experience in the following:

  • field instrumentation and pavement performance monitoring

  • laboratory testing and numerical modeling of unbound granular materials
  • state-of-the-art triaxial testing of transportation materials
  • accelerated pavement testing
  • nondestructive testing of pavement structures, and analysis/interpretation of results
  • ballast testing using state of the art triaxial testing equipment
  • pavement instrumentation using traditional and state of the art sensors such as pressure cells, bender element sensors, etc.
  • testing nontraditional and by-product pavement materials such as quarry by-products, riprap, and large marginal aggregate for aggregate subgrade applications
  • falling weight deflectometer backcalculation software and techniques
  • conducting life cycle assessment for pavements, primarily for aggregates
  • geosynthetics use in pavements, including design with geosynthetics for stabilization and drainage
  • using pavement analysis and design software including AASHTOWare Pavement ME

  • Familiarity with topics related to soil stabilization and durability testing of aggregates and chemically stabilized geomaterials.

  • Post-doctoral experience in a research facility (minimum two years of experience), with a focus on transportation geotechnics materials research
  • Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with faculty and students in an academic setting
  • Experience in proposal writing
  • Experience in writing professional reports and research papers with minimal supervision
  • Strong record of peer-reviewed publications
  • Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Demonstrate excellent communication and organization skills
  • Ability to handle multiple duties simultaneously
  • Demonstrate ability to lead a team of graduate students with minimal supervision
  • The Research Scientist position is a part-time (75% FTE), benefits-eligible academic professional position appointed on a 12-month service basis. There is potential for the position to become full-time in the future. The expected start date is as soon as possible after the closing date. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.

    To apply for this position, please create your candidate profile at https:// and upload your cover letter, resume, and names/contact information for three references by October 20, 2021. Full consideration will be given to complete applications received by the closing date. For further information regarding application procedures, contact Summer Redman at

    The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visitPolicy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment.

    As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility . The University of Illinois must also comply with applicable federal export control laws and regulations and, as such, reserves the right to employ restricted party screening procedures for applicants.

    College Name or Administrative Unit:

    The Grainger College of Engineering




    Research Scientist - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (153844)

    Open Date:


    Close Date:


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