Special Assistant to the Director- Carnegie Mellon Institute for Security and Technology (CMIST)

Office of the Provost and The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Special Assistant to the Director- Carnegie Mellon Institute for Security and Technology (CMIST)

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is launching a major new initiative, the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Security and Technology or CMIST. CMIST is a university-wide initiative devoted to the wise development, use, and governance of new and emerging technologies that are changing the national and international security landscape. As part of this forward-looking enterprise, the Director of CMIST seeks a Special Assistant to help advance cutting-edge, policy-relevant research that analyzes the risks and benefits of emerging technologies in war and peace.

This is an outstanding opportunity to become part of a new, interdisciplinary research think tank that will combine Carnegie Mellon University’s existing strengths in AI, cybersecurity, block chain, robotics, and other technologies, with scholarship focused on international relations, political science, security studies, ethics, law, and policy. For this position, we seek an intellectually agile, high-energy individual with strong interest and some experience in both national and international security, on the one hand, and emerging technologies, on the other.


Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) bold new initiative in national and international security and emerging technologies is uniquely poised to take advantage of the university’s distinctive strengths in computer science and engineering and its unique tradition of collaborative, cross-university, cross-disciplinary research. CMU is ranked in the top five universities in the U.S. in Computer Science and in Engineering. It is ranked #1 in the subfields of artificial intelligence, computer engineering, cybersecurity, information systems, and software engineering. It has leading research institutes in areas such as robotics, machine learning, natural language technologies, human-computer interaction, engineering and public policy, and public policy and management--all designed to reach across disciplinary boundaries to solve key problems and address the highest-priority challenges facing humanity.

Carnegie Mellon University

Formally established in 1967, CMU is a dynamic R1 institution that has an exceptional impact on the world. Despite its relative youth, Carnegie Mellon consistently ranks in the top 25 US national universities. CMU is a global, research-intensive university with more than 14,000 students, more than 110,000 living alumni, approximately 5,000 faculty and staff, and over 100 research centers. It is a place of creativity, entrepreneurship, pragmatism, and ambition, with a tradition of strategically focusing its efforts and resources in areas where it can lead, then pursuing those areas with startling intensity. The Carnegie Mellon Institute for Security and Technology is just such a strategic undertaking.

The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Carnegie Mellon University’s home for the study of humanities and social science, Dietrich College is the academic home for this new interdisciplinary institute, which includes established graduate and undergraduate programs in international relations and political science. Dietrich College also houses world-class interdisciplinary programs in areas such as rhetoric; second language acquisition, statistics, and data science; cognitive and social psychology; neuroscience; philosophy of science, logic and computation; and behavioral economics.

Pittsburgh’s Cultural Dynamism and Technology Hub

The city of Pittsburgh is a vibrant hub of technology and creative thinking. Some 177,000 people work in Pittsburgh’s tech-related industries, and the city continues to attract top entrepreneurs, especially in robotics and software engineering. Google, Uber, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and a wide range of other major tech companies are all here, and there is also a lively ecosystem of tech start-ups with Carnegie Mellon roots, such as Duolingo, IAM Robotics, DataSquid, or AbiliLife, among many others. This is a place of energy, entrepreneurship, and community spirit.

Consistently ranked among the most affordable places to live, the city of Pittsburgh is also well known for its culture. Carnegie Mellon University boasts the top drama and theatre arts school in the country, whose alumni include Holly Hunter, Billy Porter, Judith Light, Ted Danson, and Zachary Quinto. Outstanding drama performances are staged at the University and throughout the city, supported by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. World-class museums include the Carnegie Science Center, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performs at Heinz Hall, and t here are nineteen branches of Andrew Carnegie’s famous public library. The city has a wonderful zoo and aquarium, and there is no more enthusiastic sports town than Pittsburgh, whose residents root for the Steelers, the Penguins, and the Pirates with unparalleled devotion.


The Director of the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Security and Technology seeks a special assistant with the ability to support research and administrative efforts in security and technology at the Institute. This position involves doing analytical research, writing, and editing on emerging technologies and national and international security. The special assistant will support the director and the institute in a range of research and administrative activities that may vary over time, including writing under deadline, helping to host senior visitors, occasionally traveling (especially between Washington and Pittsburgh) and organizing, supporting, and staffing major events. CMIST has locations in both Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. A fast-paced job, this position will afford the opportunity to learn and absorb new skills, to burnish the individual’s network and knowledge of emerging technologies, at a university that is at the cutting edge in developing them.


  • Bachelor’s degree or higher, in a relevant field.
  • Two years of relevant work experience, including internships or other analytical work.
  • Outstanding writing skills, including excellent grammar, spelling, self-editing and fact-checking
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Exceptional research skills, including the ability to track down sources (online or physical), do fact-checking, conduct interviews, deal with publishers, call key sources.
  • Experience with copyediting and reviewing long publications.
  • Eagerness to learn and a quick study in areas that are new.
  • Prior academic or professional experience writing and researching in a relevant field (e.g., security studies, political science, international relations, military innovation, the history of technology, emerging technologies, engineering, robotics, biotech, computer science or other related areas).
  • Conscientious work ethic and an ability to work collaboratively in a fast-paced environment.
  • Strong organizational, multitasking and time management skills, including the ability to juggle multiple projects.
  • Willingness to undertake a range of administrative tasks, if and as required.
  • Discretion and the ability to maintain confidentiality; trustworthiness.
  • Successful background check.
  • Legal right to work in the United States.
  • Master’s degree in a relevant area of study. (e.g., security studies, political science, international relations, military innovation, the history of technology, emerging technologies, engineering, robotics, biotech, computer science or other related areas).
  • Experience interacting with senior leaders--military, academic, corporate, or policymakers.
  • Project management experience.
  • Publications in well-known and relevant outlets.
  • Training and experience in data analysis and visualization.
  • Federal government, think tank, or military experience.
Additional Information
  • Willingness to work at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and/or out of the CMIST office in Washington, DC.
  • Some flexible remote work will be permitted, as mutually agreed with the director.
  • You should be able to travel both domestically and internationally and be willing to work outside of normal business hours as needed.

Applications should be submitted electronically. They should include the following:
  • A one-page cover letter explaining the candidate’s interest in the position.
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • Up to two writing samples.
  • Names, positions, and telephone numbers of two references willing to speak to relevant qualifications and experience.

Pittsburgh, PA

Job Function


Position Type

Staff – Regular

Full Time/Part time

Full time

Pay Basis


More Information:
  • Please visit Why Carnegie Mellon to learn more about becoming part of an institution inspiring innovations that change the world.

  • Click here to view a listing of employee benefits

  • Carnegie Mellon University is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Veteran .

  • Statement of Assurance

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