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Research for Intelligence & Security Challenges

Summer Internship for Hard Security Problems 

May 30 – August 4, 2023

The Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS) at the University of Maryland, College Park, is seeking faculty mentors to provide technical support for its summer internship program, Research for Intelligence & Security Challenges (RISC). This exciting 10-week paid program will pair students with mentors from UMD, INSURE consortium members, and other top universities. Those teams work in collaboration with sponsors from the Department of Defense (DOD) and Intelligence Community (IC) communities. Participating students are considered for security clearance sponsorship and then have the potential opportunity to be considered for continued work through the academic year or future employment with ARLIS or the US government.

ARLIS and RISC are seeking faculty technical mentors who would be able to supervise small teams of senior undergraduate and graduate students working in the following areas:

  • Computer Science, Information Science & Engineering: AI/ML algorithmic development, HCI, data science, data and knowledge engineering, media analysis and forensics, software engineering, systems engineering, supply chain analysis, information systems design, GIS;
  • Mathematics and Statistics: Data analytics, quantitative modeling, experimental design, graph analytics, data visualization;
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences: anthropology, human geography (e.g., pattern of life and mobility modeling), cognitive/neuroscience & psychology, criminal justice, teamwork, and group dynamics, communications, disinformation, and misinformation;
  • Languages and Linguistics: languages of interest to global security including but not limited to Mandarin, Russian, Farsi, Korean, and Arabic;
  • Data/Library Science: Data curation, tagging, metadata, repositories, social media analytics;
  • Additional topics may include Measurement and evaluation of learning outcomes, environmental modeling and remote sensing, human factors, and regulatory public policy.

While specific topics are in development, the missions supported are likely to include geospatial analysis, human geography, disinformation, insider risk, and critical technology protection. These projects are typically closely tied to mission areas and data sources from sponsoring U.S. government agencies. As a result, only U.S. citizens are considered for both the student population and the cadre of faculty mentors.

Depending on the project and mutual interest in extended collaboration, faculty mentors may also be considered for security clearance sponsorship.

More details are in the attached..


U.S. citizens holding full time tenure-track or professional-track faculty appointments at accredited universities will be considered for technical mentor roles.

Mentors can be funded at up to one month of summer effort (~30%). If this level of effort is not feasible due to other commitments, we may consider joint mentorship by faculty with postdocs or senior Ph.D. students taking the lead. This will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

To apply

Please email the following:

  1. Your CV (NSF biosketch format preferred but others accepted)
  2. A short note including: 
    • Your disciplinary focus (referencing the topic areas above);
    • Past work and current interest in tackling research for intelligence and security challenges; and
    • Anything else in your background that could be helpful for the planning committee to know
  3. A ranked list of preferred topics.

Best considered submissions will be sent before Friday, 4/21/2023.


Technical faculty mentors are paid one month of summer salary based on the rate established at their home institution. 

To minimize contracting delays, non-UMD faculty are expected to be funded through consulting agreements, though -- at institutions with four or more technical mentors -- formal subcontracts can be considered.

Given the virtual platform, housing accommodations, transportation, and food allowances are not provided. However, for those local to the DC area, part-time physical campus workspace can be provided as required.

    Anticipated Schedule

    Milestone or activity Date or time period
    ARLIS selects student participants Mid March
    ARLIS collects all project ideas from agency partners Mid March
    Finalize projects, assign mentors + students to projects Mid-March to Mid-April
    Faculty mentors attend RISC mentor planning meeting April 21
    Faculty mentors develop project progress plans: milestones, products, data sources, etc.

    Each mentor/project will be paired with a U.S. Government point of contact to help
    translate the proposed problem into a discrete project doable in 10 weeks.
    April 14 – May 30
    Faculty mentors attend the program kickoff event May 30
    Faculty mentors meet with students: weekly check-in and updates with teams; bi-weekly murder boards Approximately 1 day per week,
    May 30 –  August 4
    Optional but encouraged: bi-weekly lunch seminars May 30 –  August 4
    Faculty members attend student team final presentations Week of July 31