IEOR - Designing a More Efficient World

Postdoctoral Research Associate at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign iSchool

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Employer: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign iSchool – School of Information Sciences

Expires: 04/07/2020

Postdoctoral Research AssociateSchool of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana- ChampaignThe University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit Primary Position Function/Summary: The School of Information Sciences/ the iSchool at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites applications for the position of a Post- Doctoral Research Associate in Dr. Jana Diesner’s research group. The PostDoc will work on two projects:First, on a project titled “Reliable Extraction of Emergency Response Networks from Text Data and Benchmarking with National Emergency Response Guidelines” (project description below). This project is funded by CIRI (Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and is conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard.Second, on assisting Dr. Diesner in developing strategic Data Science Initiatives that involve education, research, and outreach at the School of Information Sciences at Illinois. This includes assistance with developing or refining proposals, and with developing, organizing and implementing cross-disciplinary offerings for undergraduate and graduate students and related mentoring plans.Description of CIRI/ DHS project: During disasters, people are increasingly turning to social networks to communicate about challenges they face in affected areas. These networks can provide information about the effectiveness of current disaster response efforts and published guidelines; however, these complex, large-scale, socio-technical systems do not readily lend themselves to analysis or evaluation. This can make it difficult to identify the ad hoc human networks built and utilized during the recovery process, thereby further complicating attempts to compare actual relief efforts against national guidelines. Without this data, recommendations for improvement of disaster response policy may be uninformed, and result in the loss of opportunities to increase the effectiveness and resilience of these efforts. In this project, we leverage methods and theories from natural language processing (NLP) and social network analysis to extract multi-modal networks that represent emergency response efforts based on large-scale text data. From this, we develop a classification schema for link labeling and for further inference tasks. We use these data to compare findings with current national disaster response guidelines to determine if efforts and results on the ground align with given policies. This project also contributes to the comprehensive assessment of semantic network construction methods, the systematic identification of the sensitivity of graphs to NLP methods, and the development of best practices for constructing reliable semantic networks for practical applications in the domain of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.Statement of duties:·      Conduct high quality research in the general area of computational social science using mixed-methods approaches that includes NLP and social network analysis.·      Collaborate with graduate students.·      Supervise small and interdisciplinary teams that involve graduate and undergraduate students.·      Prepare and publish research findings in journals and at national, state and regional conferences.·      Work with Dr. Diesner’s group to translate research outcomes into training and education.Qualifications:Candidates should have a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline (e.g., computer science, computational social science, data science) and evidence of conducting research related to the specified projects. Applicants should have published in at least one of the areas of NLP, network analysis, or computational social science. Domain expertise in crisis informatics or humanitarian assistance and disaster response is highly desirable, but not required.The position is a full-time appointment (100%) for an initial period of 12 months. Salary will be commensurate with experience.Proposed start date: may start as soon as possible after the offer is accepted.Application process: To apply for this position, please send your cover letter, CV, up to three related publications, and the name and contact information for two references to Jana Diesner ( Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. For any questions and more information about this position, please contact Jana Diesner ( date for applications: Monday, April 7th, 2020 (11:55 pm AoE)The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.