A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Unconventional Weapons and Technologies Researcher


JOB OPPORTUNITY: Unconventional Weapons and Technologies Researcher

June 17, 2013

Position Announcement:
Unconventional Weapons and Technologies Researcher
(University Rank: Faculty Research Assistant) The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) is now hiring 1-2 researchers to work at START's headquarters at the University of Maryland, College Park. This is a full-time position, with an initial term of approximately 6 months (starting no later than the end of July 2013). After the initial term, there is no guarantee of continued employment, but a follow-on position could be possible dependent on hire performance and new project funding. Responsibilities: START's Special Projects Division (SPD) consists of a number of relatively short-term and intense research projects on various aspects of terrorism and counter-terrorism, including a specialized research program on unconventional terrorism. The Unconventional Weapons and Technologies (UWT) Researcher(s) will be responsible for performing a variety of basic research tasks related to UWT, i.e. non-state actors' use or attempted use of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) weapons and other emerging technologies, including identifying and summarizing sources, coding data and implementing data quality control processes, analysis, preparing reports (performing qualitative and/or quantitative analysis, writing, proof-reading, formatting), and preparing and delivering presentations. The UWT Researcher will be responsible for supervising small teams of 1-5 hourly research assistants and/or interns for some of these tasks. The projects the UWT Researcher(s) will be working on focus on the following research areas:

  • Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) acquisition and use by non-state actors, including targeting preferences
  • CBRN smuggling and proliferation threats
  • Foreign and domestic counter-CBRN terrorism technologies, operations and policies, especially along U.S. borders
  • Local-level risk assessments of CBRN threat from non-state adversaries
  • Technological innovation by non-state actors
  • Technical and practical knowledge requirements of weapons technologies

Special Projects uses a multi-method analytical approach, including:

  • Qualitative case study methods, especially process tracing
  • Quantitative data collection and analysis, including both basic and advanced statistics
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Elicitations and surveys
  • Red teaming
  • Formal modeling
  • Agent-based modeling

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline
  • At least one year of prior terrorism-related research
  • Substantive knowledge within two or more of the UWT research areas above
  • Training and/or experience with one or more research methodologies
  • Familiarity with terrorism and counterterrorism literature
  • Ability to effectively supervise undergraduate and/or graduate research assistants and interns
  • Ability to handle pressure and meet deliverable deadlines
  • Flexibility to switch topic areas and tasking as projects require

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Graduate degree in relevant discipline and/or 2+ years of relevant research experience
  • Substantive expertise within at least one of the Special Projects research areas above
  • Experience with data quality control procedures
  • Experience producing qualitative case studies
  • Superior writing and presentation abilities
  • Familiarity with nonproliferation issues and the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture (GNDA)

Additional Considerations:

  • Substantive knowledge or expertise within terrorism-related research areas other than those listed above
  • Substantive knowledge or expertise in CBRN-related natural science fields, e.g. chemistry, biology, virology, nuclear physics

The annual salary for this position will be in the range of $35,000 to $45,000 (depending on education and experience), plus full University of Maryland benefits (as explained at http://uhr.umd.edu/benefits/benefits-at-a-glance/). The person selected for this position will work on site at START's headquarters on campus at the University of Maryland, College Park, and will report to one of the SPD Project Managers. Applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Candidates are encouraged to apply by June 24, 2013 for best consideration. Please submit a cover letter, resume/CV, two-page writing sample and three references to jsawyer@start.umd.edu with "UWT Researcher" as the subject line. The University of Maryland, College Park, actively subscribes to a policy of equal employment opportunity, and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of race, age, gender, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, national origin, or political affiliation. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply.