Job Location: Flexible, Sofia preferred
Employment Type: Full-Time
Seniority Level: Associate
Job Category: Staff


The DFRLab is seeking to hire an open-source researcher to track foreign information manipulation and interference trends in Bulgaria, with a particular focus on disinformation arising from Russia’s war against Ukraine. Our ideal candidate will be an early-career researcher with a demonstrated passion for both qualitative and quantitative study of internet trends and a desire to share their knowledge with an international platform and audience.

The Research Assistant will join a fluid, collaborative, internationally distributed research team. They will work with the DFRLab’s globally distributed staff and broader Atlantic Council expert community to achieve project goals. They will also help build and manage a network of international and local partners to coordinate research activities and conduct trainings on research methods to foster information resilience throughout the region.

We are currently hiring for an immediate start.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until a candidate has been selected for this position. The DFRLab is deeply committed to diversity. We strongly encourage people from any region, women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, new parents, single parents, people with disabilities, veterans, and people of various educational backgrounds to apply.

The recruitment process will entail multiple conversations with DFRLab staff. The first interview will be with members of the DFRLab team who have relevant substantive expertise, while the second will be with staff who would manage or directly coordinate with the candidate. Candidates who advance to the final review stage should expect to complete a writing exercise in English. All documents uploaded as part of the application should be named in the following format: “SURNAME-First Name-Resume” and “SURNAME-First Name-CL.”

Note that this is a six-month position. While the DFRLab strives to invest in and retain our researchers, we cannot guarantee renewal or extension of this position.   

Job Location

Residence in Southeastern Europe (either within or near Sofia) is preferred. While we do not require the Research Assistant to be based in a particular country, the security implications of each candidate’s current country of residence will be taken into consideration.


  • Conduct open-source investigative research into Bulgaria’s information environment, with a particular focus on narratives arising from Russia’s war against Ukraine;
  • Gather and analyze relevant narrative data;
  • Help build and manage a community committed to better understanding the role of online disinformation in the region;
  • Act as liaison for local media and research partners;
  • Conduct trainings and capacity building on investigative skills;
  • Conduct briefings for government and civil society on research outcomes;
  • Identify and pursue additional research cases and topics; and
  • Assist with broader team reporting, as needed.


  • Fluency in English and Bulgarian;
  • Proficiency in Russian and other regional languages strongly preferred; 
  • Excellent research writing skills in English in both long (e.g., report-length) and short (e.g., newspaper article) formats;
  • Experience and passion for open-source research methodologies;
  • Able to work independently on project outputs;
  • Professional experience interacting with civil society groups and/or government officials;
  • Willingness to work on a Central or Eastern European timezone, regardless of home base;
  • Willingness to travel internationally;
  • Knowledge of the Bulgarian political landscape; and
  • Demonstrated interest in the overlap between international relations, human rights, journalism, technology trends, social media, and online information environments.

Bonus Qualifications

  • Previous publication history, either in Bulgarian or international press;
  • Experience in running research trainings or instruction;
  • Experience in specific open-source research methodologies, including but not limited to:
    • satellite imagery analysis;
    • identifying weapon systems;
    • geolocation techniques; and
    • social media monitoring;
  • Proficiency with data analysis platforms and scripting languages (e.g., Microsoft Excel, Python, R); and
  • Demonstrated passion for both qualitative and quantitative research methods (if you have a Github or digital project you’re proud of, be sure to include a link!).

Explore the Program

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news, documenting human rights abuses, and building digital resilience worldwide.

Please note: The Atlantic Council is an Equal Opportunity Employer. In accordance with Federal civil rights law and District of Columbia civil rights regulations and policies, the Atlantic Council does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, protected veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristics covered by applicable law. The Atlantic Council provides reasonable accommodation for all qualified applicants needing assistance, employees whose disability, sincere religious belief, or other protected characteristics are protected by law, and bases all employment decisions on qualifications, merit, and business need. The Atlantic Council believes that equity and inclusion amongst our team members are critical to our success as a global organization, and seeks to recruit, develop, and advance the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool. Eligibility to work in the United Stated is confirmed with E-Verify; employment at the Atlantic Council is eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

All Atlantic Council employees are required to adhere to the Atlantic Council’s vaccination policy. All Atlantic Council employees must be fully vaccinated and boosted, and they must submit proof of both vaccination and COVID-19 booster shot on their first day of employment. Prospective or new employees may seek an exemption to the vaccination requirement through human resources and must have an approved exemption prior to the start of their employment.