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Assistant Professor or Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (Space, Aerospace, and Hypersonics)

University of Central Florida

Job Description

Unleash Your Potential With Us

As a next-generation public research institution, we are an inclusive community of thinkers, doers, creators, innovators, healers, and leaders striving to shape the future and solve the world’s most challenging problems. No matter what your role is, when you join Knight Nation, you become an integral part of our mission to become a university for the future. You’ll be met with opportunities to connect and collaborate with uniquely talented faculty, staff, and students across 13 colleges and multiple campuses and regional locations. That means greater challenges to tackle, more meaningful opportunities to grow, and rewarding experiences that go beyond a paycheck.

The Opportunity

As a national and world leader in Space, Aerospace, and Hypersonics , the University of Central Florida (UCF) has established a center of excellence on this topic and is working to strengthen its research and education mission in this area.

As a part of this broad, university-wide strategic plan, the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) invites applicants for three (3) faculty positions at the rank of assistant professor (tenure-earning) or associate professor (tenured) with affiliated faculty status in the Florida Space Institute (FSI), and core faculty status in the Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER). As part of, or affiliated with, mission-focused centers or institutes such as FSI and CATER, these faculty members will be able to be part of large application/mission-focused proposals or projects in these two highly successful institutes/centers. The positions, the technical fields, and their tenure home departments are:

(1) Computational Fluid Dynamics: Hypersonic and supersonic reacting and aerodynamic compressible flows (Tenure home: Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering).

(2) Computational Fluid Dynamics: Computational flow/thermal/structural for Urban Air Mobility and Space Transport (Tenure home: Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering).

(3) Power and Propulsion: As related to small/CubeSat bus development, planetary surface mobility, and urban air mobility (Tenure home: Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering).

These positions have an anticipated start date of August 8, 2023. Each of these hires will be expected to strengthen MAE, FSI, and CATER and may include a combination of joint and secondary joint appointments. Both individual/interdisciplinary infrastructure and startup support will be provided with these new positions. The positions will carry a rank commensurate with the candidate’s prior experience and record.

The successful candidates will work at the intersection of the relevant research areas associated with the aforementioned themes. They will have research impact, as reflected in high-quality publications and the ability to build a funded and sustainable research program. We are looking for team players who can help bring together current campus efforts in space, aerospace, and hypersonics. Prior experiences as a full-time researcher at a national lab or large interdisciplinary research center are preferred.  

UCF is one of the nation’s largest universities with a diverse student body of approximately 70,000 students and has grown substantially in size, quality, diversity, and reputation. Today, the university offers more than 230 degree programs. In 2019, UCF was officially recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the US Department of Education and a "Green College" by the Princeton Review for our efforts in sustainability and environmental responsibility. UCF's students represent all 50 states and over 120 countries. UCF is in a centralized location that is 30 minutes to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando and 60 minutes to the beach. UCF has 16 sports teams, including football, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and 600+ cultural, academic, and social student clubs and organizations all led by faculty mentors. In addition, UCF has several associations for faculty and staff, among them the Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA), the Latino Faculty and Staff Association (LaFaSA), and the PRIDE Faculty and Staff Association. UCF received the 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine which recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The Florida Space Institute is a multi-disciplinary center for space-related activities aiming at facilitating and conducting leading-edge research in astrophysics and planetary sciences and is committed to supporting space education programs. FSI is composed of 25 researchers and over 20 affiliated faculty who support postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate students. FSI operates three (3) laboratories for planetary surface and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) research, as well as space instrumentation development and testing. In addition, they manage the Florida Space Grant for NASA as well as Florida’s Space Research Initiative (SRI) program. With the overarching mission of advancing space research, hardware development, and education, FSI is in a strategic position to lead and coordinate inter-disciplinary efforts to accelerate space-related activities at UCF.

Central Florida has been known to be the center of space activities. With NASA Kennedy Space Center less than an hour away from Orlando, several well-known companies such as Siemens Energy, Mitsubishi Power, and Lockheed Martin have their major headquarters in Orlando. Others such as Pratt & Whitney (Raytheon) and Northrop Grumman have their headquarters within easy drivable distances. All these companies share the same talent pools available in this region. In response to this unique locational opportunity, the Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER) was founded to focus on student training and research on turbo-machineries and associated energy systems for application in power generation, aviation, and space propulsion. CATER has 10 core faculty members from MAE at present, with a staff of 12 postdoctoral researchers and 75 doctoral students who brought in $7.9M of external funding and graduated 16 doctoral students in AY2021-2022. CATER has identified 7 thematic areas to expand and invest in. Several of those areas, such as space systems and hypersonics, are aligned with the focus of this search.

The Carnegie Foundation has classified UCF as an R1 Doctoral University for its high research activity and community engagement. This past fiscal year, UCF brought in nearly $205M. For the fifth consecutive year, UCF has been recognized among the nation’s most innovative universities according to U.S. News & World Report, while Kiplinger’s and The Princeton Review have ranked UCF as one of the nation’s best values for a college education. UCF has been the #1 supplier of aerospace and defense engineers seventh year on a row as published by aviation weekly.

UCF is an economic engine, attracting and supporting industries vital to the region’s future while providing students with real-world experiences that help them succeed after graduation. UCF’s Orlando location also puts it at the center of the Florida High Tech Corridor. The corridor has an excellent industrial base that includes software, defense, space, simulation and training, and a world-renowned entertainment industry. Adjacent to UCF is a thriving research park that conducts over $2 billion in funded research, hosting more than 100 high-technology companies and UCF’s School of Modeling, Simulation, and Training. UCF also has an accredited medical school which was established in 2006, and is a neighbor to the VA, Nemours, and the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center, all of which have a strong interest in sustainable energy systems research and demonstration. Great weather, easy access to the seashore, one of the largest convention centers in the nation, and one of the world’s best airports are just a few features that make Orlando an ideal location. We encourage you to learn more about UCF at http://www.ucf.edu/faculty .

Minimum Qualifications:

An earned Ph.D. from an accredited institution in an area appropriate to Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the time of appointment. The selected candidate must also have a record of high impact research related to energy systems, demonstrated by a strong scholarly and/or funding record.

To be eligible for appointment as a tenured associate professor upon hire, the selected candidate must have a demonstrated record of teaching, research, and service commensurate with a tenured faculty appointment at the rank of associate professor.

Preferred Qualifications:

Past work experiences in national lab and/or industry are desired.

A history of working with teams, especially teams that span multiple disciplines, is strongly preferred.

Additional Application Materials Required:

UCF requires all applications and supporting documents to be submitted electronically through the Human Resources website, www.ucf.edu/jobs/ . No paper or emailed applications or materials will be considered.

UCF has a diverse student body and community, and we are committed to meeting the needs of this community. Please tell us about your approach and experience, in the context of a faculty-student setting and as a colleague, meeting the needs of a diverse community.

In addition to the online application, interested candidates must attach the following materials to their application:

1) The above-mentioned diversity statement;

2) A cover letter;

3) A current curriculum vitae;

4) A teaching statement;

5) A research statement;

6) A list with contact information for three (3) professional references, including email addresses.

NOTE: Please have all application documents ready when applying so they can be attached at that time. Once the online submission process is finalized, the system does not allow applicants to submit additional documents later.

Review of applications will begin January 15, 2023 and continue until the positions are filled.

Questions regarding this search can be directed to Dr. Jay Kapat (Jayanta.kapat@ucf.edu ) and Dr. Kareem Ahmed (Kareem.Ahmed@ucf.edu ).

Special Instructions to the Applicants:


Job Close Date:

Open until filled

Note to applicants: Please keep in mind that a job posted as ‘Open until filled ’ may close at any time without notice. As such, we encourage you to submit your application and all required documentation as quickly as possible to ensure consideration for the posted position.

Are Benefits Important to You?

Working at UCF has its perks!  In addition to helping drive change and having a positive impact by supporting our students, staff, and faculty, UCF offers:

  • Benefit packages including medical, dental, vision, life insurance, healthcare flexible spending accounts, and an Employee Assistance Program.
  • Paid time off, including annual and sick leave and paid holidays.
  • Retirement savings options.
  • Employee discounts, including tickets to many Orlando area attractions.
  • Education assistance.
  • Flexible work environment.

And more…For more benefits information, go to ‘Prospective Employees’ on the UCF Human Resources website (https://hr.ucf.edu/ )

Who Are We?

Founded in 1963 to fuel the region’s talent pipeline and support the growing U.S. space program, UCF is built to make a better future for our students and society. It’s one of the reasons U.S. News & World Report ranks UCF among the nation’s top 20 most innovative colleges, while Forbes, Kiplinger , and The Princeton Review rank us a best-value university. UCF is one of 14 universities nationwide designated as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Research 1 university. With 13 colleges, including a fully accredited College of Medicine, UCF offers more than 220-degree programs between its main campus, downtown campus, hospitality campus, academic health sciences campus, and 11 UCF Connect centers located throughout the region. In addition, UCF extends its reach to communities in and beyond Central Florida by offering complete, online programs leading to bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, Ph.D.'s., certificates, and more.

The University of Central Florida is proud to be a smoke-free campus and an E-Verify employer. Unless explicitly stated on the job posting, it is UCF’s expectation that an employee of UCF will reside in Florida as of the date the employment begins.

Additional Requirements related to Research Positions

Pursuant to Florida State Statute 1010.35, prior to offering employment to certain individuals in research-related positions, UCF is required to conduct additional screening. Applicants subject to additional screening include any citizen of a foreign country who is not a permanent resident of the U.S., or who is a citizen or permanent resident but is affiliated with or has had at least 1 year of higher education, employment, or training in China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, North Korea, Syria, or Venezuela.

The additional screening requirements only apply to employment in research-related positions, including, but not limited to faculty positions (including employed visiting positions), graduate positions, individuals compensated by research grants or contract funds, postdoctoral scholar positions, and undergraduate positions.


College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) - Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE)

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Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

As an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, UCF encourages all qualified applicants to apply, including women, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and members of traditionally underrepresented populations. UCF's Equal Opportunity Statement can be viewed at  http://www.oie.ucf.edu/documents/PresidentsStatement.pdf.

As a Florida public university, UCF makes all application materials and selection procedures available to the public upon request.

The University of Central Florida is proud to be a smoke-free campus and an E-Verify employer.

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