The DTRA Postdoctoral Scholars Program is hosted by the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI) at the Johns Hopkins University. This program supports the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in their Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) mission by recruiting, hiring, and placing postdoctoral scholars in the areas of DTRA’s nuclear technologies division: survivability, integration, detection, weapons effects, and assessment.

Current openings


The Nuclear Technologies DTRIAC Post-Doctoral Fellow performs research, development, and information analyses using nuclear testing archives supporting key U.S. nuclear deterrent missions. The position is located on Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, NM within the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Research and Development (RD) Directorate, Nuclear Technologies (NT) Department. The Defense Threat Reduction Information Analysis Center (DTRIAC) manages the DoD, DTRA, and U.S. government collection of nuclear testing scientific and technical information (STI), and provides subject matter expertise in nuclear deterrent missions. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will apply advanced library and data science machine learning techniques supporting the overall DTRIAC program.


  • Work with DTRA/RD-NTD management and leadership. Investigate technological methods of interest under guidance of the DTRIAC Program Manager.
  • Apply standard governmental management processes involving budget and general programmatics.
  • Develop a broad awareness of the historical nuclear testing and nuclear deterrent knowledge base, the U.S. nuclear deterrent community, and the current challenges impacting U.S. nuclear deterrent missions.
  • Assist in the development of research portfolios enabling operationally relevant methodologies, capabilities, or analyses applying the historical nuclear testing and nuclear deterrent knowledge bases to address current questions and challenges of U.S. nuclear deterrent missions.
  • Other duties and responsibilities as assigned.


Library Science, Data Science, Mathematics, Systems Engineering, Physical Sciences, Quantitative Biologist, Operations Research, Computer Science


The Nuclear and Radiological Threat Detection Post-Doctoral Fellow will support fundamental research and development in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Nuclear Technologies Department (NT) within the DTRA Research and Development Directorate (RD). The division directs state-of-the-art research on radiological (radiation) detection and radiographic imaging technologies to address critical warfighter needs and is the proud recipient of eight R&D 100 awards, a global recognition honoring revolutionary science and technology advancements.

The post-doctoral fellow will apply physics, engineering, and advanced computational techniques, such as machine learning and data science, to provide technical subject matter expertise supporting the development of new studies, sensors, modeling and simulation, and algorithms. The Post-Doctoral Fellow will work along with the Division Chief and research managers in the Nuclear Detection Division (RD-NTD) and will be assigned a science Mentor within RD-NTD.


  • Investigate scientific or technological areas of interest under guidance of a Mentor.
  • Advise the Government on methods to address sensor critical warfighter needs.
  • Learn program management processes and help the Government guide research investments.
  • Interact with operational military units to understand their needs, limitations, and potential concepts for employing new technologies.
  • Support the evaluation of technical proposals, research findings, and research topics.
  • Be flexible at learning and reviewing concepts beyond a narrow specialty.
  • Other duties and responsibilities may arise as the candidate’s experience matures.
  • Note that this position is focused on support of DTRA program management, and does not involve bench research


  • Knowledge in areas of radiation detection, physics, or engineering with a moderate understanding of the state-of-the-art in data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence and the application of those tools to scientific problems. Alternatively, the candidate may have a strong background in data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence with a moderate understanding of radiation detection, physics, or engineering.
  • Ability to work in a highly complex environment, both individually and as part of a team, while showing initiative to learn about new scientific disciplines, think about new ways to solve a problem, and get involved in projects.
  • Strong written and verbal communications.

Candidates must have a STEM Ph.D or equivalent in physics, engineering, computer science, mathematics, or a related area (students who will have degree conferred within six months are encouraged to apply).

• Candidate must be a US citizen.
• Candidates must be able to obtain a SECRET level security clearance.
• Candidates must pass a drug screen/background check
Location: Fort Belvoir, VA
(applicants must be willing to relocate to greater Washington, DC area).


A postdoctoral position with DTRA/RD-NTD offers technical skills and training relevant to federal program management and may lead to potential career opportunities such as:

  • Government Program Manager
  • Government Researcher
  • Advisory and Assistance Services (A&AS) or Systems Engineering Technical Advisory (SETA) contractor supporting federal agencies
  • Department of Defense or Department of Energy contract scientist/researcher


DTRA is currently seeking US Citizen candidates for a postdoctoral scholar position. The job location is in the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area.

The Scholars Program was designed to utilize mission-critical expertise possessed by highly qualified subject matter experts in DTRA’s mission to combat and respond to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation and use. The position will support research activities to improve methods for understanding the mathematical modeling of effects on critical infrastructure networks.

Candidates should have a Ph.D. or equivalent in mathematics, physics, or mathematical physics. Preferred skills may include PDEs/ODEs, numerical analysis, computational physics, FEM, FDM, CFD, Monte Carlo, pure mathematics, and/or mathematical physics.

Proficiency in the following areas are of interest:  PDE/ODE theory and/or mathematical physics. Candidates should be flexible and willing to learn/review new concepts beyond their specialty.

This is not primarily a bench research position within a lab, but is mostly focused on support of applied research and program/project creation and management/assessment. The following are emphasized: (1) depth of analytic thinking to identify critical research needs and opportunities; and, (2) follow-up assessment of investments in applied research efforts to foster success of the portfolio. The successful candidate will help implement new ideas into development of research tools, review proposals and scientific progress, and support funding oversight. Program success is achieved by increasing innovative knowledge needed for understanding nuclear weapon effects on infrastructure, followed by fostering transition of basic research to applied research and development.

The successful applicant must be a US citizen capable of obtaining a security clearance, and be willing to re-locate to the Washington DC metropolitan area. The appointment will be for a one-year period with a possibility of renewal. To apply, please submit a cover letter and CV or resume. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

Scholars will:

• Learn first-hand from operators in the field about state-of-the-art technology,
• Translate complex national security needs into basic research and development requirements,
• Provide technical programmatic oversight, and
• Actualize innovative ideas and solutions in CWMD mission space.

A unique postdoctoral experience

DTRA Postdoctoral Scholars serve a term of 1-3 years. During this time, they work directly with DTRA research and development program managers to support the CWMD mission. Divisions include nuclear technologies, CWMD technologies, data integration and analysis, chemical-biological sciences, and test science.

Preparing postdocs for the future

The goal of this postdoctoral program is to develop highly technical candidates into experts at providing technical, program management, and/or acquisition support to the government. A day in the life of a scholar includes reviewing white papers and proposals, attending conferences, supporting technical reviews and workshops, research requirement development, and programmatic support.

Postdoctoral scholars typically do not pursue their own research. Scholars guide and support the technical direction of extensive scientific research and development portfolios.

Eligibility requirements

  • Candidates must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Candidates must be able to obtain a SECRET level security clearance.
  • Candidates must have a doctoral degree
    (students who will have degree conferred within six months are encouraged to apply).
  • Location: Fort Belvoir, VA
    (applicants must be willing to relocate to greater Washington, DC area).

Apply today

Interested candidates should click here to apply.

Available disciplines

A successful candidate in the DTRA Postdoctoral Scholars Program will have a physical science or engineering doctoral degree. Available disciplines may include Nuclear Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Physics (Laser, Nuclear, Shock, Condensed Matter, Plasma, Atomic, Molecular, and Optical), Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Software Engineering, Modeling and Simulation, Statistics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Chemistry, and Radiation Detection, though other disciplines may be considered.

DTRA’s Nuclear Technologies Department

DTRA’s Nuclear Technologies research program traces back to the Manhattan Project.  Postdocs will support the department’s mission to research, develop, and transition nuclear weapons effects, survivability, detection, and monitoring capabilities to support and enable an effective nuclear deterrent.

Positions are available in the following NT department divisions:

  • Detection Technologies – Equip the joint force to detect, monitor, characterize, provide attribution, and operate effectively on the nuclear battlefield and defeat nuclear threat networks
  • Nuclear Weapons Effects – Deliver nuclear weapons effects applications that enable effective targeting of U.S. nuclear weapons and inform protection and response against adversary nuclear attacks 
  • Nuclear Survivability – Provide the technologies, standards, historical data, and testing capabilities to ensure that U.S. nuclear and conventional forces can survive and fight through adversary nuclear attacks
  • Nuclear Assessments – Develop the capability to test concepts, capabilities, and plans through rigorous assessment and wargaming to support nuclear requirements definition, operational planning and training. Manages the operation, sustainment, and improvements to the U.S. portion of the International Monitoring System
  • Nuclear Technologies Integration – Deliver integrated, cloud-ready, cross-cutting platform, applications, and data analysis AI-enhanced capabilities to support the full spectrum of nuclear operations, wargaming, and assessments