Research and Technical Staff

ISI offers a prestigious, intellectually vibrant environment on both coasts. As a world-class institution, we combine the best of major research universities and industry research-and-development labs. The result is a flexible working environment in which information scientists can explore the subjects that intrigue them most, anywhere on the basic-to-fully applied research spectrum. Whether pursuing in-depth work in a single field or joining cross-disciplinary teams, you’ll find remarkable colleagues Institute-wide.

Academic advantages

As a unit of USC’s highly ranked Viterbi School of Engineering, ISI provides the independence of an academic setting, along with a lengthy history of federal research support. Individuals are encouraged to seek funding for their research priorities and to pursue that work as fully as their resources allow.

Researchers who enjoy collaborating with students may engage USC Viterbi master's and Ph.D. candidates as research assistants. ISI professionals also may be considered for Research Faculty appointments, enabling them to teach courses in computer science, electrical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, astronautics and aerospace, material science and other fields. Research faculty also may request positions as Ph.D. advisors to students.

Industry appeal

Conversely, ISI resembles corporate labs in its emphasis on projects and systems, along with a leadership commitment to collaborative efforts. Researchers often work closely with ISI colleagues in different disciplines, in departments on USC’s main campus, and at other institutions. Our people also can move beyond pure research to work directly with real-world technology users.

We hire talented researchers, engineers, and research programmers and managers in Marina del Rey, California, and Arlington, Virginia. Please consult the USC employment site for current openings. In addition, we periodically launch new research projects or directions. If you don’t see the right opening, but consider your skills and knowledge ideal for ISI, please submit a resume and letter describing your primary interests and/or research areas to ISI human resources.

ISI also offers a Researcher in Residence that provides talented researchers with the opportunity to pursue creative work for one to two years without extraneous encumbrances.

Research Staff Titles

Research is an undertaking that requires developing a research agenda, initiative and persistence. A person capable of independently pursuing research deserves to be explicitly recognized for it. As one of the prime research institutes in the country, ISI wishes to ensure that a researcher’s title reflects that, and broadcasts it to every person they come in contact with.

To recognize the contributions of our researchers, ISI has created internal titles that reflect the expectations of and contributions made my our staff. These titles may be held in parallel with faculty titles, when appropriate.

Below are the current ISI research staff titles with the descriptions of the job responsibilities they entail. These require promotions beyond the USC staff title of “Computer Scientist”, which is the initial title granted to every researcher hired into ISI.

Research Lead

  • Articulate their own scientific/technical research agenda.
  • Keep abreast of research, technology and funding opportunities in their areas of research focus.
  • Network with professional counterparts inside and outside the university.
  • Author articles for publications; help organize, participate in, and make presentations at professional meetings.
  • Develop, plan and pursue a research strategy, including funding opportunities.
  • Plan and manage project finances, working with their supervisor and the business office when necessary. Alert ISI management in a timely manner to problems that are beyond their control.
  • Recommend hires based on their goals, objectives, opportunities and funding. Recommend salaries, including raises, promotions, and reclassifications for people they may supervise.
  • Successfully execute all research and administrative responsibilities associated with their awards.
  • Contribute to the direction of the Institute through technical discussions and business development.
  • Help ISI management identify strategic hires and other opportunities for growth in their area.

Research Team Leader

  • Articulate a scientific/technical vision for their research area.
  • Keep abreast of research, technology and funding opportunities in their areas of research focus.
  • Network with professional counterparts inside and outside the university.
  • Author articles for publications; organize, participate in, and make presentations at professional meetings.
  • Develop, direct, plan and oversee a research strategy for their team, including identifying short- and long-term potential opportunities for themselves and other members of the team. Pursue research directions and funding opportunities and mentor or otherwise assist others in pursing them.
  • Work with team members to develop their respective research and career goals. Track team members' career progress and provide mentorship and support.
  • Plan and manage the team's financial strategy, working with their supervisor and the business office when necessary. Monitor their financial situation. Alert ISI management in a timely manner to problems that are beyond their control.
  • Determine staffing needs and projections based on goals, objectives, opportunities and funding in their area. Recommend team member salaries, including raises, promotions, and reclassifications.
  • Successfully oversee and/or execute all research and administrative responsibilities associated with their awards.
  • Contribute to the direction of the Institute through technical discussions and business development.
  • Identify, and with Institute assistance pursue strategic hires and other opportunities for growth in their area.

Research Director

  • Articulate a scientific/technical vision for the research group.
  • Keep abreast of research, technology and funding opportunities in their areas of research focus.
  • Network with professional counterparts inside and outside the university.
  • Author articles for publications; organize, participate in, and make presentations at professional meetings.
  • Develop, direct, plan and oversee a research strategy for their area, including identifying short- and long-term potential opportunities for themselves and other members of their group. Pursue research directions and funding opportunities and mentor or otherwise assist others in pursing them.
  • Develop a strong research group. Work with group members to develop their respective research and career goals. Track group members' career progress and provide mentorship and support.
  • Plan and manage the group's financial strategy, working with the business office when necessary. Monitor the financial situation of the group. Alert ISI management in a timely manner to problems that are beyond their control.
  • Determine staffing needs and projections based on goals, objectives, opportunities and funding of the group. Determine and/or recommend group member salaries, including raises, promotions, and reclassifications.
  • Successfully oversee and/or execute all research and administrative responsibilities associated with their group's awards.
  • Contribute to the direction of the Institute through technical discussions and business development.
  • Identify, and with Institute assistance, pursue strategic hires and other opportunities for growth in their area.