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R&D Associate - Anti-Disinformation Research Scientist

Date: Sep 21, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 7453 


The Geospatial Science and Human Security Division (GSHSD) is seeking an R&D Scientist within the Location Intelligence group. This position is within the Division’s Human Dynamics section and part of the National Security Science Directorate. The Location Intelligence Group performs ground-breaking research into place-based knowledge extraction, narrative analysis, and geosocial data discovery. Leveraging primarily “non-traditional” geospatial data sources such as volunteered geographic information (VGI), internet of things (IoT) data, and telemetered sensor sources, and harmonizing with commercial and open data sources, the Location Intelligence group delivers novel approaches and technologies for describing places, points of interest, events, activities, and populations, as well as the patterns of interaction among the three. The group’s dynamic content portfolio addresses the timely need to broaden research in disinformation detection, counter-messaging, network spatialization, narrative analysis and transformation, trust and influence, and falsehood detection to describe the landscape and patterns of activity within it, using novel and non-traditional data and theoretical techniques.  Given the evolution of the toxic electronic conversations and information warfare counterstrategies, ORNL is seeking a researcher to lead the development of spatial analysis tools to assess networks of disinformation-spreaders and messaging relating to national security issues. This research will focus on geographies targeted by identified disinformation campaigns, the associated rates and types of falsehood, contextualizing propagation of misinformation in specific geographies, and the detection and efficacy assessment of counter-messaging strategies. The R&D Scientist will collaborate with other scientists in developing transformative technologies that address these themes, including qualitative and quantitative techniques, disinformation codebooks, and messaging and propagation models.


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 breadth of perspectives, insights, and experiences is necessary to drive the level of innovation and discovery 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.


Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Scalable detection and counter-information development tools that assist in identifying and labeling harmful material that includes misinformation, disinformation, falsehood, etc.
  • Modeling how disinformation flows and its impact on various aspects of national, human, and energy security
  • Develop tools and scripts to support disinformation detection models and network spreading.
  • Support development of platforms for spatialization, visualization, and analysis using location information
  • Lead and support publications of scientific artifacts (publications, patents, invention disclosure, software tools, and packages) to share innovative research with the community.
  • Regularly organize and attend conferences, participate in panels, broaden industry and academic engagements.
  • Design and develop tools, methods, and approaches for modeling and generating various disinformation networks, spreading, counter analysis, and impact measured through qualitative and quantitative analysis.
  • Design and develop tools and methods based on mixed-method research to effectively create and disseminate counter-narratives, healthy conversation, and data annotation techniques.
  • Generative models relating to influence tactics, privacy-preservation, and disinformation networks also support future predictions, network promulgation, and capturing regional differences. 
  • Development of approaches pertinent to misinformation and disinformation campaigns must ideally be detected before they turn into a global phenomenon.


Basic Requirements

  • Ph.D. in computer science, engineering, social sciences, linguistics, or related fields.
  • Experience performing research in relevant fields such as network science, privacy-preservation, computational social science, geography, or related fields.
  • Proficiency in national language processing, text processing, machine learning, data visualization, and data analysis, including working with open-source or commercial geospatial tools such as ArcGIS, QGIS, and PostGIS.
  • Experience with Python, R, and/or other similar languages for data manipulation, exploration, graph analysis, and statistical analysis.
  • Knowledge of network spatialization, narrative spread, orienting reflex, and cyber deception concepts.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and demonstrated ability to work in interdisciplinary teams.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience developing and delivering end-to-end ML/NLP/DL solutions that provide value to the sponsored R&D into narrative detection, public health, or national security.
  • Experience developing computational and machine learning methods to exploit large unstructured and structured open-source datasets.
  • Experience with digital trace data in exploring and developing intent-driven machine learning models based on online-social communication.
  • Experience in developing theoretical and data-driven approaches for narrative analysis and transformation.
  • Experience working with version control systems such as Git.
  • Experience with database technologies such as MySQL and ElasticSearch to store, analyze, and manipulate data.
  • Experience in statistics, socioeconomics, computational social sciences, activity and event data, and working with social media data.
  • Knowledge of information spread phenomena, including statistical patterns, complex networks, well-known attack networks, region-specific predictions of resiliency, and disinformation percolation.



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.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

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