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CMS Firmware Engineer

Requisition Number:



Boulder, Colorado

Employment Type:

Research Faculty



Posting Close Date:


Date Posted:


Job Summary

The University of Colorado experimental High Energy Physics group has an available position for a Research Scientist to work with the CMS experiment at the LHC. The CU CMS group is involved in a broad range of activities including detector and electronics R&D directed toward the planned upgrades of the experiment over the next decade. The current opening is to work on the Phase 2 upgrade of the trigger and data acquisition system for the High Luminosity LHC upgrade. The successful applicant will contribute to the group's effort implementing particle reconstruction algorithms in firmware.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

The CMS Trigger electronics group at CU is led by professors Kevin Stenson and Keith Ulmer, collaborating with postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate research assistants. The CMS experiment is designed to search for new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, and was one of two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to discover the Higgs boson in 2012. 

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

The successful candidate will contribute to the development of a hardware trigger based on the CMS silicon tracker. The trigger system consists of ATCA boards communicating with high speed optical fibers and using FPGA processors. The candidate will contribute to the design, implementation, testing, construction and operation of the trigger system, including logic implemented in firmware and software modeling and monitoring tools.

What You Should Know

This position could be filled by a qualified/experienced electronics engineer with an interest in joining a scientific research project, or by a hardware-oriented physicist who wishes to pursue a career in detector systems development. The successful candidate will be hired as either a Professional Research Assistant or a Research Associate, with the latter appropriate for a candidate with a PhD. Both titles imply a career research position without a fixed term, subject to availability of funding. The successful candidate will be based in either Boulder, Colorado, or the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, subject to the interests and expertise of the candidate. Travel to Boulder/CERN, Fermilab, and other collaborating institutions should be expected.

What We Can Offer

Annual salary for the position will be in the range $65,000 - $95,000, depending on the successful candidate's qualifications and experience. 


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

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What We Require

Bachelor's degree with significant post-degree experience.

What You Will Need

  • Experience in FPGA firmware development and simulation (Verilog and/or VHDL).
  • Experience operating and maintaining hardware with state-of-the-art FPGAs.
  • Strong analytical skills as applied to solving engineering problems.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with other engineers and physicists as well as students and postdoctoral researchers.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • Ph.D. in physics or electrical engineering.
  • Experience with high-speed optical links.
  • Experience with FPGA frameworks and integrating algorithms.
  • Experience with Xilinx Vivado high level synthesis (HLS) tools.
  • Experience with modern particle detectors and data analysis techniques.
  • Experience with detector simulations and trigger algorithm development.
  • Ability to design and implement online DAQ and detector monitoring systems.

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:
  1. Resume/CV
  2. Cover Letter
  3. Statement Describing Research Related Goals: Statement describing technical and research experience. 
During the application process, you will need to enter contact information for three references and we will request letters of recommendation and additional materials if needed, as the search progresses. 

Full consideration is ensured for applications submitted by March 31, 2021, and review of applications will continue until the position is filled.

Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs.

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Boulder Campus Human Resources

Posting Contact Email: