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Group Leader, Geospatial Software Engineering

Date: Mar 9, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9822 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. We are seeking applicants for the role of Group Lead in our Geoinformatics Engineering research and development (R&D) group. Group Leads are both science and people leaders at ORNL. They are responsible for setting a vision and developing a strategy for their research groups, managing and growing researchers and their outputs, and building a diverse and well-rounded team to deliver highly unique capabilities to sponsors. The Geoinformatics Engineering Group is within the Human Dynamics Section and Geospatial Science and Human Security Division at ORNL. The Group performs leading-edge system design and development, as well as research into novel computing architectures to support geospatial science needs across the division and the lab. Geoinformatics Engineering integrates cloud, on-premises, commodity, and custom computing environments to achieve highly reliable and performant systems. They design high-performance computing (HPC) environments to support unique national security mission needs, and they implement (and contribute to) the latest open source libraries to build scalable geospatial software stacks. The Human Dynamics Section develops data, models, and computational approaches utilizing Earth observation, measurement, statistics, and digital traces to provide insights into populations and their settlements, activities, and interactions with the environment, from local to global scales. The Geospatial Science and Human Security Division leads spatiotemporal R&D at ORNL, with teams of experts ranging from GeoAI to Geoinformatics. We work across ORNL to spatiotemporally integrate science domains to address challenges for energy security, national security, and human security.



Overall responsibility: provide R&D leadership within the Geoinformatics Engineering Group that strategically advances science and technology, builds upon ORNL’s science culture, and enables our aspiration to be the world’s premier R&D institution. The R&D Group Leader unites a group of peers with the primary goals of pursuing global scientific leadership in their field, developing a strategy to develop world class capabilities, nurturing ORNL’s culture among group members, and continuing to build individual excellence and impact in R&D. The R&D Group Leader reports to and works closely with the R&D Section Head to implement the group’s scientific vision; develops group members to enable their career advancement; establishes capabilities that enable programs to excel at the forefront of science and technology; performs R&D to advance the field of knowledge and/or technology in one’s respective specialty; sets, implements, and models standards for performance of work consistent with Environment, Safety, Security, Health, and Quality (ESH&Q) requirements and business rules; and ensures a diverse and inclusive work environment where every employee feels safe, heard, and appreciated—a workplace that sets an example for the broader community. The Geoinformatics Engineering Group resides within the National Security Sciences Directorate, responsible for conducting R&D to confront some of the nation’s most difficult security challenges–from natural disasters to adversarial threats.  Our directorate houses S&T leadership in geospatial science and technology, data analytics, high-performance computing for national security, secure and resilient communications, cybersecurity and cyber-physical resiliency, and nuclear nonproliferation. We draw on the Laboratory’s exceptional facilities and work closely with leading researchers in other areas at the Lab, such as nuclear and chemical sciences and engineering, applied materials, advanced manufacturing, biosecurity, transportation, and computing.  Our multi-disciplinary research teams are passionate about discovery and innovation as we create science-based solutions to complex security threats that put public safety, national defense, energy infrastructure, and the economy at risk.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Initiate, lead, and perform independent and impactful R&D on an ongoing basis as evidenced by innovative S&T delivered to sponsors, successful proposals, S&T presentations, professional community engagement, inventions/patents/copyrights, publications as appropriate, etc.
  • Provide S&T leadership and supervision for Geoinformatics Engineering Group staff members.
  • Ensure ORNL scientists and engineers continue to be recognized leaders in their areas of expertise.
  • Implement a cohesive group research strategy to build and grow research projects and expertise, to continually position the group for future success in the field of geospatial science.
  • Set staff performance goals consistent with the group’s strategy and members’ long-term career goals, and provide staff feedback on performance.
  • Provide relevant input to assist the R&D Section Head with staff development while providing direct and impactful guidance to staff on regular basis.
  • Assist division leadership to identify and seize opportunities for new research programs and adapt existing research programs to new sponsor needs.
  • Empower and inspire research staff to think big, take appropriate risks in their work, and develop new skills to support continued growth for both the individual and the group.
  • Continually recruit a high-quality and diverse pool of candidates, and hire staff members who are committed to world-class R&D and aspire to be the best in their field.
  • Lead by example by exercising scientific integrity in proposing, performing, and communicating research.
  • Lead by example to ensure all work is carried out safely, securely, and in compliance with ORNL policies, standards, and procedures.
  • Exemplify a commitment to excellence in research, operations, and community engagement, and work cooperatively to leverage scientific capabilities across ORNL.
  • Advance the reputation of the group members and standing of the group through establishing collaborations, professional society leadership and involvement, and organization of technical events.


Basic Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. with a minimum of 6 years relevant experience, a M.S. with a minimum of 12 years experiences, or a B.S. with 15 years of experience and a focus on geospatial science, computer science, electrical engineering, or a related discipline.
  • A proven track record of research output (e.g., publications, patents, copyrights, system/software artifacts, etc.).
  • At least 5 years of experience designing and implementing geospatial architectures, and leading a diversity of software engineering projects.
  • Experience working with and integrating cloud and on-premises computing environments, including AWS, GCP, Azure, and VMWare.
  • Experience working with a range of geospatial data types and database environments, including raster and vector data, satellite imagery, relational databases (e.g., PostgreSQL/PostGIS, etc.), NoSQL databases (e.g., MongoDB, HBase, etc.), and graph databases (e.g., Neo4J, etc.).
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience designing, developing, and leveraging APIs and service-oriented architectures, including deploying and maintaining OGC and Esri services.
  • Direct experience with software development best practices including, but not limited to: Agile development; DevOps workflows, version control using Git or similar system; and project management via systems like Jira, Asana, etc.
  • Experience leading diverse teams of researchers and engineers to achieve a common goal.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a demonstrated leadership ability and a strong commitment to a teaming environment.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills. 


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience developing and maintaining scalable hybrid (cloud and on-prem) computing environments to support the full data lifecycle.
  • Knowledge and familiarity with modern web visualization frameworks, including Javascript, NodeJS, Angular, React, etc.
  • Familiarity and comfort with one or more programming languages, such as Python, C/C++, R, Java, Rust, etc.
  • Familiarity and experience with high-performance computing (HPC) architectures, and/or Supercomputing architectures, including use case development and design criteria.
  • Familiarity and experience with edge computing architectures, including designing systems for low-bandwidth and intermittent connectivity.
  • Experience with hybrid/multi-cloud architectures.
  • Knowledge and experience designing and implementing scalable cloud-based web applications, including designing for serverless architectures.
  • Familiarity MLOps and knowledge of computing architectures to support scalable machine learning solutions.
  • Experience with big data architectures, such as Apache Spark and Hadoop.
  • Familiarity with Federal agency funded research programs and experience identifying, developing, establishing, and growing funded research projects/programs.
  • Experience working for or collaborating with DOE National Laboratories, academic institutions, other research organizations, and the private sector.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at


Special Requirements

Q or L clearance: This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

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ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

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