Human Factors Principal Researcher (Hybrid/Relo Available)

Rockville , MD
Nov 29, 2022
Nov 30, 2022
Full Time
Westat is an employee-owned corporation providing research services to agencies of the U.S. Government, as well as businesses, foundations, and state and local governments. Westat's research, technical, and administrative staff of more than 2,000 is located at our headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, near Washington, DC.

Westat is committed to building a diverse workforce and a culture of inclusivity, belonging and equity for all. We believe that our greatest strength draws on the different backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and experiences of our employees.

Westat's Center for Transportation & Safety Research is seeking a Human Factors Principal Researcher to be a subject matter expert and direct a multidisciplinary team of experienced researchers who are building on the current state of transportation safety knowledge and supporting our clients' mission of maintaining safer roads and saving lives. Clients include federal, state, and local governments, as well as nonprofit, foundations, and vehicle manufacturers.

The Transportation team works collaboratively with Westat's clients to implement innovative research designs that explore a variety transportation and safety challenges including occupant protection, child safety, driver behavior and autonomous vehicles, driver distraction, situational awareness, vehicle technology and safety implications, pedestrian safety, and travel behavior. Westat research studies employ a wide range of novel and inventive approaches including in-laboratory testing, Level 2 autonomous and instrumented vehicles, multi-modal surveys, focus groups, driving simulators, observational surveys, test track, and on-road studies. 

This is a full time position with flexibility for telework arrangement and a great benefits package.
In this role you will work with other team members to develop and execute a strategic plan growth in the area of human factors and transportation and expand Westat business opportunities. You will provide insight and guidance at all stages of research study design, data collection and management, analysis, and report writing. 

Job Responsibilities include: 
•    Expanding the line of business in the area of human factors and transportation 
•    Serving as principal investigator and co-principal investigator capacities on multiple studies, including management of project budgets and schedules
•    Client relationship management supporting current clients and developing relationships with potential clients 
•    Leading proposal development and working with other team members to develop winning proposals
•    Conceptualizing, designing and conducting research studies using driving simulator, laboratory settings, test track, observational surveys, and on-road settings
•    Developing and executing focus groups, interviews, surveys, and field studies 
•    Designing data collection plans and guiding the creation of data collection instruments and protocols
•    Conducting reviews of research literature and synthesizing findings 
•    Developing analysis plans, including video coding, quality control review, and conducting analysis 
•    Writing technical reports and articles for peer-reviewed journals and professional conferences
•    Mentoring and supervising junior and mid-level staff

Basic Qualifications:
•    Ph.D in human factors, experimental psychology, biomechanical engineering or social science related field and at least 15 years of progressive experience with human factors research in transportation, safety, or related fields
•    Established history of working with federal clients in the area of transportation, safety and/or human factors.
•    Demonstrated business development acumen leading proposal initiatives with federal clients.
•    Record of publications and presentations related to Human Factors, Transportation, and/or Safety.

Preferred Qualifications:
•    Experience directing and managing multiple research studies in a laboratory environment as well as using driving simulator, and on-road settings for road user and driver behavior.
•    Experience with statistical analysis, including R, SAS, or similar statistical analysis software
•    Demonstrated experience with quantitative and qualitative research methods. Understands descriptive and inferential statistical analysis

Minimum Qualifications: 
•    Excellent communication skills, client-focused, detail-oriented, effective time management and organizational skills
•    Possession of a driver's license and a driving record in good standing
•    Exercise good judgment and possess strong supervisory, problem solving, communication, organization, and documentation skills

This position requires occasional travel and work on weekends and/or evenings.

Examples of Recent Work

Using electronic devices while driving: Legislation and enforcement implications Transportation Research Board.

Automated driving systems' communication of intent with shared road users

Impact of information on consumer understanding of a partially automated driving system .

Salesperson knowledge of teen-specific vehicle safety features, Traffic Injury Prevention,

Reducing child restraint misuse: National survey of awareness and use of inspection stations: Traffic Injury Prevention: Vol 21, No 7 (

Westat offers a well-rounded and comprehensive benefits program focused on wellness and work/life balance. Eligible employees may participate in:
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Vacation Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Holiday Leave
  • Professional Development
  • Health Advocate
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Short Term Disability Insurance
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Life and AD&D Insurance
  • Critical Illness Insurance
  • Supplemental Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Health Savings Account


Protecting the health and safety of our employees and survey participants is a top priority for Westat. As a federal government contractor, Westat will require Westat staff, regardless of work location, to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 upon hire and to follow all safety protocols, subject to approved accommodations under applicable law.

Westat is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or any other protected status under applicable law.

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