Research Associate – JINA-CEE Data Science

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) user facility, supporting the mission of the Office of Nuclear Physics in DOE-SC. FRIB is funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), Michigan State University (MSU), and the State of Michigan. Under construction on the site of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) on the MSU campus and to be operated by MSU, FRIB will provide intense beams of rare isotopes (that is, short-lived nuclei not normally found on Earth). FRIB and NSCL will continue to enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of these rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society.

Rare-isotope beams are produced and separated in-flight, presently at the NSCL Coupled Cyclotron Facility and in the future at FRIB, and subsequently thermalized and reaccelerated to energies up to 6 MeV/u, by the ReAccelerator facility ReA3, a worldwide unique, state-of-the-art accelerator for rare- isotope beams. An upgrade to higher energies (ReA6) is presently under construction. When FRIB comes online, it will supplant the Coupled Cyclotron Facility and provide the highest possible intensity rare isotope beams as input to the ReA facility.

This position affords an exciting opportunity to become part of the world-class FRIB Project, and to get in on the ground floor of an emerging national user facility that will expand nuclear science into a whole new realm of possibility.

The IReNA International Research Network for Nuclear Astrophysics, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE) headquartered at Michigan State University in the US are seeking to fill the position of a Research Associate in nuclear astrophysics data science. The successful applicant will work with Hendrik Schatz at Michigan State University on code development for a novel data framework for including nuclear data in astrophysical model simulations. The applicant is expected to propose an independent research program that will utilize the new data framework for research in nuclear astrophysics.

The successful applicant will collaborate with senior scientists at other JINA-CEE / IReNA partner institutions to incorporate the data framework into ongoing research efforts. Depending on the applicant's interests, Matthew Mumpower at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US and/or Marco Pignatari at Hull University in the UK are available as co-mentors. The position is initially for one year. Subsequent employment at the partner institution may be possible. While this is a full-time position located at Michigan State University, remote or part time arrangements may be possible and interest in such arrangements should be expressed in the application.

The position offers unmatched collaborative and networking opportunities with the world-wide network of research institutions participating in IReNA International Research network for Nuclear Astrophysics and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA-CEE). The successful applicant will be part of a community of more than 60 postdocs that share their experiences at the annual collaboration meeting, seminars, and numerous other workshops and conferences, many of which are organized by postdocs and students. Postdocs are particularly encouraged to take advantage of national and international visitor and exchange programs supported by JINA-CEE and IReNA. JINA-CEE and IReNA are committed to an equitable and welcoming research environment as set forth in the JINA-CEE code of conduct.

Position Overview

The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) invites applications from outstanding candidates for a fixed-term research associate (Postdoctoral Researcher) position in the area of Nuclear Astrophysics Data Science, who will work in the JINA-CEE research group led by Prof. Hendrik Schatz.

Major Position Responsibilities

Develop a new data framework for nuclear astrophysics, including data storage format and user code interfaces.

Create comprehensive updated data packages for nuclear astrophysics using the new framework.

Communicate closely with JINA-CEE and IReNA collaborators to develop requirements and specifications.

Develop a schedule and manage the project to deliver a successful product on time.

Follow Laboratory-wide policies, procedures and standards, follow the JINA-CEE code of conduct, and contribute to a safe and welcoming environment at the Laboratory and in the collaboration.

If desired, engage in nuclear astrophysics research using the new data framework

Works closely with Matt Mumpower at LANL, and the JINA-CEE and IReNA nuclear data collaborations.

One year duration with possible continuation up to three years for candidates with a nuclear astrophysics research program. Additional years may be LANL positions and require relocation.

Required Qualifications

Ph.D. in Astrophysics, Nuclear Physics, Computational Science, or related fields

Experience in scientific code development

Experience with scientific data products

Ability to work with export controlled technologies

Desired Qualifications

Understanding of data needs in nuclear astrophysics

Experience with hierarchical data formats


MSU employees receive excellent benefits including health/dental plans, a generous retirement plan, and educational assistance.

How to Apply

For immediate consideration, please go search for posting number 676166 and follow the application process.

MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and person with disabilities.

About FRIB and MSU, and the East Lansing Community

FRIB is currently under construction and baselined at a total project cost of $730M. Upon start of user operation in 2022, FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications of rare isotopes to benefit society.

MSU is one of the largest university campuses in the U.S. with a beautiful campus of 5,000 tree-filled acres. It has 17 degree-granting colleges and is a center for academic and research activities as well as the arts and athletics.

The campus sits between Lansing (Michigan’s capital city) and East Lansing. The Lansing area has a population of 350,000 and offers lovely suburban areas, loft condos and other urban living opportunities as well as easy-to-get-to rural areas. A symphony orchestra, excellent health care, many community and professional theatres, rivers, lakes, outdoor festivals, close access to large cities and Lake Michigan make for a near perfect living environment.


MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.