Postdoctoral Associate

Apply now Job no: 502096
Position type: Full-Time 12-Month
Department: 191000 - Geosystems Research Institute
Location: Main Campus - Starkville, MS
Categories: Professional
Position Open Date:

Position Function:

This position will address 2 funded projects:

The first project focuses on the utilization of low-altitude, high-resolution remote sensing platforms such as small uncrewed aerial systems (sUAS) used for surveying and tracking birds. Specifically, the project will focus on large-bodied birds that typically form flocks and are considered a hazard to aircraft if struck. The objective will be to identify, from video captured by another sUAS hovering above an approaching sUAS and birds, the moment an individual bird initiates an escape reaction in response to the sUAS approach; multiple birds will be tracked using computer vision methods. The postdoctoral associate will support a team of scientists (including MSU and USDA researchers) working on individual and team research objectives related to animal counting with drones. The role of the postdoctoral associate will be to research and implement the algorithms and assist with experimental design and data analysis related to these research efforts. As such, the postdoctoral associate is expected to have a strong background in image analysis, computer vision, image classification and visualization.

The second project focuses on developing advanced sUAS applications for precision agricultural crop management for Mid-South crops. The postdoctoral associate will assist with establishing the best practices for collecting imagery and data with sUAS payloads to detect phenomenon within field that indicate plant stress and/or soil health. The postdoctoral associate will assist with developing algorithms that automate sUAS image processing, for use with in-situ data as appropriate, to detect phenomenon within field that indicate plant stress and/or soil health and develop algorithms to detect and quantify different types of plant stress and/or soil health using multiple sensors in collaboration with MSU and USDA/ARS personnel.
Duration of the first project is one year. This second project is a multi-year project that has a high probability of continued involvement if the postdoctoral associate’s performance warrants.

Approximate Start Date: June 2021.

Salary Grade:  UC

Please see Staff Compensation Structure or Skilled Crafts and Service Maintenance Compensation Schedule for salary ranges.  For salary grade UC, these positions are "Unclassified" and salary ranges are determined by the hiring department.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

1) Support interdisciplinary teams to develop study questions to address the problem of bird tracking from sUAS videos;
2) Develop multiple object tracking methods using still and video data to meet the needs of research in collaboration with USDA Wildlife Services National Wildlife Research Center scientists, as well as colleagues at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA);
3) Develop algorithms to assess plant stress and/or soil health in collaboration with MSU and USDA ARS scientists.
4) Participate in oral and written communications, as needed, to interface with the participating scientists and stakeholders to obtain clarity in requirements; and
5) Other duties as assigned.

The position will be located at the main campus of Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS. Salary commensurate with abilities and experience.

Minimum Qualifications:

1) Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mathematics or related fields
2) Appreciation for the value of small uncrewed aerial systems (sUAS)
3) Motivation to advance personal and group knowledge
4) Positive attitude

Preferred Qualifications:

1) PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering or other relevant discipline
2) Demonstrated leadership skills
3) Excellent written and oral communication skills
4) Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment
5) Ability to appropriately apply advanced computer vision and object tracking algorithms.
6) Basic knowledge of plant physiology and soil moisture processes
7) Experience in Geographic Information Systems.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

The ideal candidate for this job will (listed in order of importance):
1) Have a strong background in computer vision and object tracking
2) Demonstrated proficiency in programming languages like Python and experience using Matlab, and ArcMap Pro.
3) Work well in an interdisciplinary collaborative team environment

Instructions for Applying:

Link to apply:

Apply online by submitting a cover letter, resume, and a copy of your transcript(s). Any social security numbers included on requested transcripts should be redacted prior to submitting online.

Restricted Clause:

Position is contingent upon funding availability. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.

Advertised: Central Standard Time
Applications close:

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