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Research Fellow

University of Massachusetts Amherst
UMass Amherst

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Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Job Details

Job no: 523711
Work type: Senior/Research Fellow (Amherst Only)
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Biostatistics & Epidemiology
Union: Non-Unit Exempt
Categories: School of Public Health & Health Sciences

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

Job Description

To lead and support research activities in the Reich Lab in the UMass-Amherst Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology related to a CDC-funded project “Center for Implementation in Outbreak Analytics and Disease Modeling: Multi-Scale Outbreak Decision-Support Tools.” As part of this project, our team is developing an ecosystem of open-source tools called the Hubverse. This technology suite is designed to assist public health agencies and academic modelers by creating data standards and open-source tools to organize and administer collaborative infectious disease modeling projects, referred to as modeling “hubs”. The successful candidate in this position will participate in developing, documenting, and testing software for the Hubverse. Additionally, they will work with users looking to set up new hubs, helping them with the technical configuration and use of software packages necessary to succeed. Must be able to multi-task and manage diverse projects with deadlines while working under the direction of the project lead.

Essential FunctionsFunction 1: Participate in Hubverse team meetings
  • Attend once monthly Hubverse community meetings
  • Attend once weekly Hubverse development team meetings
  • Attend ad-hoc team meetings as needed
Function 2: Develop, test and document new Hubverse features
  • Develop new features as needed for the Hubverse
    • Based on issue prioritization and tracking provided by the project manager, fix bugs and add new features to the Hubverse code base
  • Conduct code reviews from a user perspective
    • Stress-test pre-release code in Hubverse packages as new features are developed by running example code provided by developers
    • Write and submit code reviews on GitHub that focus on usability of new features and user-friendliness of documentation and warnings
  • Keep documentation updated and relevant
    • Draft new and edit existing user manuals and vignettes for Hubverse software
    • Edit and monitor deployments of hubverse websites, including the main project documentation site as well as individual package websites (e.g., hubUtils or hubVis).
Function 3: Support Hubverse users and expand user base
  • Meet with and assist new Hubverse users in setting up and administering a hub
    • Assist new users in designing hub configuration files
    • Help new users navigate the suite of tools and determine which tools they should use
    • Serve as a primary point of support contact for new Hubverse users as they launch a hub
  • Support existing Hubverse users
    • Troubleshoot issues for existing Hubverse administrators
    • Provide ongoing user support for Hubverse users and administrators
  • Expand Hubverse user base
    • Present hubverse tools and functionality at virtual and/or in-person conferences and meetups
Function 4: Other related functions as assigned.

Minimum Requirements

  • 3+ years' experience using and writing code collaboratively on version control systems such as GitHub, BitBucket, etc.
  • 3+ years' experience working in the R programming language
  • Expertise developing software packages/libraries in R
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and effectively in both verbal and written formats with both technical and lay users
  • Experience coordinating and communicating across diverse stakeholders of developers and users in an open-source software community
  • Strong organizational skills including the ability to manage multiple responsibilities, prioritize, and escalate while delivering results on time
  • Experience working with continuous integration server
  • Relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate

Preferred Requirements

  • 5+ years' experience using and writing code collaboratively on version control systems such as GitHub, BitBucket, etc.
  • Expertise with Python programming language
  • Expertise developing software packages/libraries in Python
  • Familiarity with web development technologies such as HTML, CSS and Javascript
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

Additional Information

  • Flexible work arrangement possible
  • Occasional evenings and weekends required as needed to meet deadlines
  • Travel within US (and perhaps occasionally international) around 1-2 times per year may be required to attend meetings and/or conferences
  • May work around standard office conditions

Application Instructions

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • Names and contact information for three (3) work references including at least one current or former supervisor

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, caste, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, natural and protective hairstyle and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Advertised: Jun 12 2024 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close:


The University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the preeminent public research universities in America. Nestled in idyllic Amherst, Massachusetts—often called “The top college town in North America”—the campus is consistently ranked among the top public research universities in the nation, and offers a rich cultural environment in a rural setting close to major urban centers. 

As one of the nation's top public research universities – as measured by national and international rankings, academic citations, and research funding – the campus spends more than $180 million on research each year, demonstrating its contribution to the nation’s position as a technological and economic leader. The university works in conjunction with academic, government, and private partners to translate new knowledge and scientific discoveries into technical innovations and scholarly works that create opportunities for students, faculty and the public. 

Eight schools and colleges offer more than 85 undergraduate majors, 68 master’s and 48 doctoral degree programs, many counted among the top programs in the nation and world. UMass Amherst is also home to New England's premier honors college.

The 1,159 full-time faculty members are dedicated teachers and world-renowned researchers and the campus has regularly been listed among the top performers in terms of faculty awards. With over 24,000 students from all 50 states and over 70 countries, the student body is the most academically successful in the history of the campus. Students participate in 240 organizations, 21 NCAA Division I athletic teams, extensive intramurals, living-learning residence halls, community service, and internships. With one of the largest residential life systems in the nation, UMass Amherst houses approximately 12,000 students on campus. The university is enjoying a facilities renaissance, including new buildings in the sciences, the arts, and recreation. UMass Amherst is part of the Five College consortium with Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Amherst colleges.

As an employer, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a national leader in developing family-friendly policies, benefits and amenities designed to help faculty members develop both productive careers and satisfying personal lives. The university offers one of the nation’s most generous parental leave policies. The university is also part of the Academic Career Network, a regional consortium formed to serve dual-career couples and encourage greater diversity in the academy.


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