Deputy Director for Virtual Engineering

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Princeton University
United States

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Deputy Director for Virtual Engineering


Princeton, NJ 

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Job Description:


The Deputy Director for Virtual Engineering will provide technical leadership in the establishment, deployment, and utilization of a comprehensive virtual engineering capability at PPPL to meet the above goals. Responsibilities will include setting the technical direction and implementation of our fusion energy virtual engineering tool suite. This will necessitate the initiation and maintenance of extensive contacts with key engineers and scientists in other areas of the Laboratory and in other fusion organizations both in the US and internationally. The successful candidate will bring creativity, foresight, and mature professional judgment in anticipating and solving unprecedented problems, in determining project objectives and requirements, and in developing standards and guides for diverse engineering, computing, and scientific activities. This position reports to the PPPL Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for Engineering, who will provide support and general administrative direction for the virtual engineering program objectives, schedules, and budgets.


The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a world-class fusion energy research laboratory managed by Princeton University for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. PPPL is dedicated to developing the scientific and technological knowledge base for fusion energy. The Laboratory advances the fields of fusion energy and plasma physics research to develop the scientific understanding and key innovations needed to realize fusion, the processes that power the stars, as an energy source for the world.

  • Apply extensive and diversified knowledge of principles and practices in the implementation and integration of disparate modeling and simulation tools in support of a virtual engineering environment.
  • Develop system level requirements for the implementation of a virtual engineering tool suite using commercial tools as the backbone and generate relevant, measurable, achievable key performance indicators. These requirements include the integration and optimization of the tool suite with computing and storage assets including objective scope of capability growth overtime.
  • Develop and utilize necessary training materials and programs to engage engineering and physics staff in the proper deployment of virtual engineering tools and best practices.
  • Orchestrate workflow and translation services to allow the seamless interaction between physics codes and engineering analysis tools.
  • Prepare standard techniques, procedures, templates, and criteria for the integration, data modeling and data exchange within and between physics codes and engineering analysis tools.
  • Provide technical judgement in the evaluation, selection, and integration of commercial and PPPL-developed capabilities that comprise the virtual engineering environment. This includes developing algorithms for translation services between components.
  • Initiate and maintain extensive contact with key physicists, engineers, and analysts within the lab and other organizations and skillfully remove barriers to implementation of the virtual engineering capabilities.
  • Initiate and maintain extensive contact with the Information Technology department and the High Performance Computing group to effectively run the virtual engineering capabilities.
  • Implement novel approaches for the re-use integration of existing modeling and simulation, engineering tools and physics codes.
  • Prepare procedures across physics and formalize new approaches to optimize performance of virtual engineering while maintaining quality and integrity of the products.
  • Prepare cost and schedule estimates to include both short term and long-term system objectives.
  • Prepare Project Execution Plans, including cost, scope, and schedule, and manage work to the plan.
  • Write specifications and statements of work to establish external standards for suppliers and vendors.
  • Reprioritize activities within the scope of work being managed based on resources and laboratory research priorities.
  • Manage virtual engineering hardware and software lifecycle inventory and maintenance on the assets.
  • Supervise the professionals and technicians who assist them, estimate personnel needs, and schedule and assign work to meet completion deadlines on assigned projects.
  • Report on virtual engineering status and plans including but not limited to capturing lessons learned, developing policies, guides, procedures and reports, and preparing and giving presentations.


Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor's degree (Masters or Ph.D. degree highly preferred) in Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, or a related field.
  • Professional experience, at least 15 years (inclusive of post-BS academic experience), preferably in a scientific or R&D environment.
  • A proven track record of leading the development of multi-physics engineering analysis for complex systems.
  • Demonstrated engineering or scientific leadership experience.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Design and implementation of large-scale, complex modeling and simulation environments.
  • Knowledge of precedents, principles, and best practices related to large scale modeling and simulation environments.
  • Technical competence in engineering (advanced thermal, electro-magnetic and mechanical modeling and analysis (both static and transient events)
  • Technical competence in multi-physics domain software integration and management.
  • Technical competence in business process modelling and workflows.
  • Ability to make decisions independently with limited supervisory assistance.
  • Ability to work and effectively communicate with a diverse group of researchers, engineers, and technicians.
  • Technical competence in fusion energy, high-vacuum, high heat-flux, and in-vacuum motion systems, is desired.
  • Technical competence in Product Lifecycle Management systems and Digital twins is desired.

Working Conditions:

  • Hybrid or primarily on-site work (mostly in office, with some field work) with occasional conference or review travel (1-2 weeks per year).
  • Some on-site presence is required to view/guide technical work, and to interact with the IT, engineering and research teams.

Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. EEO IS THE LAW

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. All PPPL employees are required to disclose any participation in a foreign government talent recruitment program and may be required to withdraw from such programs to remain employed under the DOE Contract.


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