View job on Handshake

Requisition Id 7889 


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 a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Location Intelligence Group in the Geospatial Science and Human Security Division (GSHSD), National Security Sciences Directorate (NSSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


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, human mobility modeling, spatial data, and geosocial 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, land use, populations, as well as the patterns of life among them. The group’s dynamic content portfolio addresses the timely need to broaden research in network spatialization, activity-based analysis, transformation, human mobility modeling, semantic web ontology, temporal dynamics to describe the landscape and patterns of activity within it, using novel and non-traditional techniques.


The research in human mobility modeling has been continuously evolving for the past two decades, with an initial emphasis on developing theoretical models such as random walk and Levy flight. Recently, with the widespread availability of telemetric data (e.g., GPS footprints, mac traps, network logs), there is an unparalleled opportunity to model data-driven human mobility patterns at very fine scales in both space and time. Accurate modeling of human mobility has applications in many areas such as epidemiology, urban planning, disaster recovery, humanitarian missions, network protocol optimization, and the various aspects of national security. The precision and accuracy of human mobility modeling rely heavily on the availability of high-quality input data layers such as population, land use, temporal dynamics, and points of interest, among others. Human mobility modeling has two aspects – understanding and characterizing real-world mobility patterns of specific populations and places and using that understanding to develop models to generate synthetic representations of real-world mobility. This position seeks to drive the fundamental research and development in the science of both these areas to support the establishment and growth of a human mobility R&D portfolio. Researchers are expected to support human mobility programs, innovate and invent new scientific methodologies for human mobility in these areas and beyond through research in human behavior, multi-scale land-use modeling, trajectory analysis, agent-based simulations, spatially explicit and geography-cognizant artificial intelligence, routing, conflating social-physical spaces, geographic information retrieval, and semantic web, among others.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop novel capabilities and competencies in human mobility modeling research and development
  • Lead and support publications of scientific artifacts (publications, patents, invention disclosures, software applications, and software repositories) to share innovative research with the science community
  • Support approaches to generate population-scale agent-based microsimulations at very fine space-time resolution
  • Work with GSHS researchers, as well as internal and external project sponsors, to capture, understand, integrate, and implement their requirements
  • Detection and analysis of trajectory data noise and anomalies
  • Support development of platforms for spatialization, visualization, and analysis of human mobility information
  • Development of approaches pertinent to geosocial sensing and urban dynamics application


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in computer science, engineering, GIScience, geography, social sciences, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Candidates must have demonstrated good academic standing, and the ability to conduct independent and significant research
  • Working knowledge of agent-based microsimulation, trajectory data analysis, data visualization, and data analysis
  • Experience with C/C++, Java, Python, R, and other similar languages for data manipulation, exploration, graph analysis, and statistical analysis
  • Written and verbal communication and demonstrated ability to work in interdisciplinary teams
  • Experience characterizing human mobility patterns and developing human mobility models.
  • Experience with digital trace data in exploring and developing intent-driven learning models based on socio-physical interactions
  • 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, GPS footprint, mac traps, and working with social media data
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


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


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.