Research Associate (PREP0001334)

This position is part of the National Institute of Standards (NIST) Professional Research Experience (PREP) program. NIST recognizes that its research staff may wish to collaborate with researchers at academic institutions on specific projects of mutual interest, thus requires that such institutions must be the recipient of a PREP award. The PREP program requires staff from a wide range of backgrounds to work on scientific research in many areas. Employees in this position will perform technical work that underpins the scientific research of the collaboration.

The PREP research associate will be responsible for implementing reinforcement learning (RL) agents and environments for completing robot-based manufacturing tasks. The associate will be responsible for developing the data collection infrastructure used for training, and for developing RL agents that combine real-world, simulation-based, and imitation-based learning paradigms.

The work will entail...

Key responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

  • Investigating current trends in robotics RL (particularly Offline RL), as well as Sim2Real transfer
  • Developing the infrastructure for collecting robot demonstration data
  • Developing an imitation learning method for a robot task utilizing robot demonstration data
  • Using the developed imitation learning method as a fine-tuning strategy for real-world and simulation-based RL agents


  • A Master's degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Manufacturing, or a related field.
  • Proficiency with Python and C++
  • Familiarity with common machine learning frameworks such as PyTorch and Tensorflow
  • Familiarity with common deep reinforcement learning algorithms
  • Familiarity with common robotic simulators such as Gazebo, MuJoCo, IsaacSim, and PyBullet
  • Familiarity with common robotic simulators such as Gazebo, MuJoCo, IsaacSim, and PyBullet
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
Please provide an up-to-date CV and cover letter

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Purpose: The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) hosts the Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) which is designed to provide valuable laboratory experience and financial assistance to undergraduates, post-bachelor’s degree holders, graduate students, master’s degree holders, postdocs, and faculty.

PREP is a 5-year cooperative agreement between NIST laboratories and participating PREP Universities to establish a collaborative research relationship between NIST and U.S. institutions of higher education in the following disciplines including (but may not be limited to) biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, engineering, electronics, materials science, mathematics, nanoscale science, neutron science, physical science, physics, and statistics. This collection of information is needed to facilitate administrative functions of the PREP Program.

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