Data Science Jobs

By David LeBauer; ARPA-E TERRA Reference Data and Computing Team Comment

Paid undergraduate hourly positions and other opportunities contribute.

Project Descriptions

This position will assist in the development of infrastructure for data processing and access required by the TERRA program. Multiple positions are open for both the reference (TERRA Ref) and robotic (TERRRA MEPP) data generating platforms.


TERRA Ref will provide an unprecidented open-access source of data and an integrated phenotyping system for energy Sorghum. The TERRA Ref system will include field- and controlled-environment digital sensing of energy Sorghum along with computational pipelines and open data for the research community. These will be used for crop selection and better understanding of the interactions among genes, traits, and the environment.

For more information, see About TERRA Ref.


TERRA-MEPP (Mobile Energy-Crop Phenotyping Platform) will be a low-cost, tactical, semi-autonomous, ground-based vehicle that plant breeders can use to rapidly identify plants with desirable traits. Its multiple sensors will collect detailed field data at an unprecedented scale that will then be analyzed using high-throughput analytical strategies to determine the genetic basis of these traits and identify promising genotypes for crop improvemnt.

For more information, see the TERRA MEPP Brochure.

Job Description

Multiple openings for talented undergraduates interested in data science, digital agriculture, and robotic sensing. The sucessful candidate will work with researchers at NCSA, IGB, Crop Sciences, and Civil Engineering to develop a pipeline to process and faciliate the cross-disciplinary exchange of data and information.

You can use any open-source software including bash, R, Python, Perl, SQL, C++.

Your first project could include:

  • Developing dictionaries and thesauri to translate meaning across scientific disciplines
  • Developing exploratory data analysis pipelines for large scale summaries.
  • Define, document, test, and add core steps in the data pipeline
  • implement image processing, meta-data translation ‘extractors’ to data product pipelines, for example applying segmentation algorithms.
  • Or almost anything related to reference data, the computing pipeline, or BETYdb.

You will be making a contribution to research-grade scientific code that will be publicly available as open-source software. This can be valuable education and training for a variety of careers.

All employees will be trained in the principles of Software Carpentry including Best practices for scientific computing outlined by Wilson et al 2014.

Required Skills

Knowledge of programing language suitable for managing numeric, textual, and / or image-based data.

Must have excellent writing and communication skills.

Other Skills Relevant to the Project

Course work or experience in computer vision, geospatial information systems (GIS), computational biology, ontologies, and / or informatics. Experience using iPython, Rmarkdown, JavaScript, PostGIS, OpenCV, GDAL, and/or REST APIs could all be useful .

To apply

If you want to:

  • Construct a digital crop observatory.
  • Work with a great team of programmers.
  • Understand plant growth = f(genes, environment)

Please send a brief statement of interest, resume, and level of FWS support if applicable to Ank Michielsen and Rachel Shekar with subject “TERRA Data Science Position”.

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