Overview: Why Apply?

Research assistantships in the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory (NDSSL) are open to students at all academic levels, providing a variety of opportunities for aspiring scholars and future practitioners.

Researchers collaborate in NDSSL office

Make a real impact. Our student researchers participate in all the laboratory’s project activities—work that’s fundamentally transforming the way we understand the world. As part of the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech, we study vast networks of interaction among biological, social, and physical systems. Our research has a wide range of applications, from assessing the potential impact of natural disasters, to informing effective policy responses to public health crises, to harnessing social network data to analyze the spread of attitudes and behaviors.

Diversify your expertise. Our students work in teams, closely supported by peers and supervised by our expert faculty. Your colleagues and mentors will be thought leaders in a wide variety of fields including computer science, bioinformatics, physics, mathematics, statistics, social sciences, and public health.

Prepare for your career. In today’s job market, experience and a well-rounded skill set are invaluable assets. By the time they graduate, our students are prepared for success in both the public and private sectors. NDSSL alumni have established their careers at a variety of high-profile institutions such as the Department of Defense, Department of Health, Bloomberg, and Amazon.

Requirements: Skills for Success

NDSSL assistantships span a wide range of research activities, so application requirements may vary significantly depending on our current openings. However, there are a number of core qualifications that will increase a candidate’s chances for consideration in our current recruitment efforts.

NDSSL student research assistant group photo

Core Qualifications

  • Have an academic background in the theory and practice of computing as it relates to one or more of the following areas: computer science, statistics, mathematics, economics, sociology, public health, systems science, complex systems and infrastructures
  • Demonstrate basic programming competency in one or more modern languages, such as C++, Python, or Java
  • Display necessary qualities for working both independently and within a diverse team structure: high motivation, good communication skills, strong work ethic
  • Be driven to lead one or more technical reports and publications in high-quality international conferences and peer-reviewed journals
  • Currently enrolled Bachelors, Masters, and PhD students must be able to commit a minimal number of hours per week to their assistantships. This requirement will vary depending on the student's academic level and the time of year. Graduate students, for example, may work up to 20 hours per week during the Spring and Fall semesters, and up to 40 hours a week during breaks if not taking classes

Strong, motivated candidates who do not currently meet these qualifications may still be considered for our open positions—supplementary training will be provided upon hire.

Find out if NDSSL is a good fit for you. To inquire about your suitability for our assistantship positions, email us a copy or your CV along with a brief statement summarizing how your research interests fit within NDSSL’s seven focus areas.

Apply: Current Openings

Undergraduate Research and Programmatic work in NDSSL for Academic Year 2016-17

NDSSL is seeking undergraduate students to assist in research and programmatic work. The responsibilities fulfilled by these positions will range from basic research, to modeling, data collection, and the development of high-performance computing applications for these processes.

Depending on their background and qualifications, these undergraduate students will assist in data collection and/or the development of computing tools to support the construction of synthetic populations—data resources supporting our large, agent-based computer simulation models.


The qualifications listed below will increase a candidate’s chances of selection in this application process. Strong, motivated candidates without this knowledge will still be considered, receiving supplementary training if hired.

  • Competency in foreign languages such as French, Arabic, and Spanish which can be applied to NDSSL data collection work
  • Experience with one or more programming languages such as Java, Python, or C++
  • A basic understanding of the Linux computing environment and how to create and edit text files which can be applied toward both data collection and tool development

Submit Your Application

To apply for this position, visit our online application portal and follow the on-screen instructions to submit the following information:

  • A PDF copy of your CV
  • A PDF copy of your cover letter
  • A brief statement explaining how your academic background matches the requirements of this position.

The deadline for application is August 24, 2016. Selected candidates will be invited to follow-up interviews by Friday, August 26.

If you have questions about the application process, please contact us via email or by phone at (540) 231-8252.

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