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Group Leader, Resilient Communications

Date: Jan 1, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 6698 



We are currently seeking qualified applicants for Resilient Communications Group Lead within our Geographic Data Science Section.  The group leader position affords the unique opportunity to lead a group of talented R&D professionals and establish them as a premier R&D organization by setting a vision, developing a research strategy to achieve that vision, and enabling true impact on critical national security missions through a team-based approach and commitment to excellence. The Resilient Communications Research Group conducts research in broad-spectrum RF communication protocols, embedded systems technology, software-defined radios, and cognitive radio development, utilizing machine learning to provide secure communication techniques. Additionally, the group is growing an emerging capability in small satellite systems with an emphasis on downlink communications. Working closely with research groups across the Section and Division, the team conducts research on behalf of a variety of government sponsors focused on energy and infrastructure as well as defense, intelligence, and climate security issues.




Provide Research and Development (R&D) leadership to the group that strategically advances science and technology consistent with ORNL’s science culture and aspiration to be the world’s premier R&D institution.


The R&D Group Leader brings together a group of peers with the primary goals of pursuing global scientific leadership in their field, developing a group strategy to develop a world-class capability, nurturing ORNL’s culture among group members, and continuing to build and scale-up 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 Resilient Communications Group resides within the Geospatial Data and Human Security Division of the National Security Sciences Directorate, responsible for conducting research and development to confront some of the nation’s most difficult security challenges.  Our directorate houses S&T leadership in cybersecurity and cyber-physical resiliency, data analytics, geospatial science and technology, nuclear nonproliferation, and high-performance computing for sensitive national security missions. 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 and Responsibilities


  • Serve as immediate supervisor for staff members in group.
  • Ensure ORNL Scientists/engineers continue to be recognized leaders in their area of technical expertise.
  • Initiate, lead and perform independent and impactful R&D on an ongoing basis as evidenced by, for example, innovative S&T delivered to sponsors, successful proposals, S&T presentations, professional community engagement, inventions/patents/copyrights, publications as appropriate, etc.
  • Develop a vision and implement a cohesive group research strategy to ensure the success of new and ongoing research projects to position the group for future success in the field of resilient and secure communications.
  • Develop and implement plans to exploit new opportunities and/or expand existing efforts.
  • Assist staff in setting performance goals consistent with the group’s strategy and members’ long-term career goals. Provide feedback to address performance issues in a timely manner.
  • Provide relevant input to assist the R&D Section Head with staff development while providing direct and impactful guidance to staff on regular basis.
  • Attract a quality, diverse pool of top 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.
  • Encourage staff to “think and dream big,” take appropriate risks in their work, and develop skills that will enable them to pursue new ideas, scientific passions, and research programs.
  • 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 Requirements


  • Ph.D. with a minimum of 6 years relevant experience, a M.S. with a minimum of 12 years experience, or a B.S. with 15 years of experience and a focus on engineering, computer science, physics, mathematics, natural sciences, or related discipline.
  • A proven track record of scholarship (e.g., publications, patents, copyrights, etc.).
  • At least 2 years of experience developing software and/or hardware related to resilient communications systems.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a demonstrated leadership ability and a strong commitment to a teaming environment. 
  • Strong written and oral communication skills. 


Preferred Qualifications


  • Previous hands-on experience in communication systems, cognitive radio, digital signal processing, wireless system security, or waveform and protocol development projects.
  • Direct experience with software development best practices including, but not limited to: Agile development; version control using Git/GitFlow or similar system; and project management via systems like JIRA, Asana, TeamPulse, etc.
  • Programming skills in C, C++, Python, and GNU Radio experience with a demonstrated ability to use design patterns and software engineering best practices for secure, scalable, reliable, rapid implementation.
  • Extensive experience with Software Defined Radio systems.
  • Experience with communication protocol development, signal analysis, and machine learning.
  • Prior work in small satellite communications systems.
  • Experience working for or collaborating with DOE National Laboratories, academic institutions, other research organizations and the private sector.
  • Highly motivated to learn new topics and skills and develop innovative products for our customers


Our Commitment to Diversity


As we strive to become the world’s premier research institution in the sciences and technologies that underpin critical national security missions, we are committed to creating an inclusive environment that highly values a diverse workforce.  We recognize that a breadth of perspectives, insights, and experiences are necessary to drive the level of innovation and discovery that is mission-critical to national security sciences.  Our commitment extends beyond our workforce to the next generation of researchers with STEM education outreach that seeks to engage a diverse range of students.


Special Requirement


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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville