Research Assistant, Sub-Saharan Africa, Digital Forensic Research Lab
Job Details
South Africa - Cape Town, ZA
Bachelor Degree
Digital Forensic Research Lab

About DFRLab:

The Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) is a start-up incubated at the Atlantic Council. We’re different than most think tank teams, and we like it that way!


Join our fast-paced and truly global team, as we work to further the DFRLab’s mission:

To forge digital resilience at a time when humans are more interconnected than at any point in history, by building the world’s leading hub of digital forensic analysts tracking events in governance, technology, security, and where each intersect as they occur, as well as a network of #DigitalSherlocks;


To create a new model of expertise adapted for impact and real-world results;


To identify, expose, and explain disinformation where and when it occurs; to promote objective truth as a foundation of government for and by people; to protect democratic institutions and norms from those who would seek to undermine them in the digital engagement space.


The DFRLab is at the forefront of open-source research with a focus on governance, security, technology, media, and where each intersect. These unprecedented methods allow us to inform the public and policymakers on issues such as protracted conflicts, breaking crisis, and human rights violations in a uniquely human and tangible way.


We’re doing a different kind of research and creating new industry standards that account for a paradigm shift in the way humans connect with each other and consume information.


And we’re growing a digitally native publication to match that ambition.


This position is open in collaboration with Code for Africa and will be physically located at their offices in Cape Town, South Africa. Code for Africa is a network of non-partisan civic organizations that use open data and technology to build digital democracies across the African continent. With DFRLab, Code for Africa shares its mission to influence the future by generating new ideas and solutions for a better and safer world. 


The DFRLab is building a movement. We hope you’ll be a part of it.


Job Details: 


This role will play a key part in the expansion of the DFRLab’s extensive work across the African continent. You will monitor the regional information environment in order to produce public reporting focusing on disinformation narratives targeting domestic political processes, with a specific focus on identifying and exposing state-sponsored disinformation spreading across the region. Your research will be focused on, but not limited to, identifying and explaining the origin and spread of narratives around migration, elections, regional conflicts, as well as other issues pertaining specifically to the Sub-Saharan countries. You will work with both the DFRLab’s global team and Code for Africa experts to support your day-to-day activities. In addition to research, you will build and manage a broader network of international and local partners in order to coordinate research outputs and conduct capacity building to foster digital resilience throughout the region.


We are currently hiring for an immediate start-date. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will be accepted until a suitable candidate has been selected.


Job Responsibilities:


  • Conduct continuous open-source investigative research into the information environment and evolving disinformation trends throughout the Sub-Saharan region, with a particular focus on South Africa;
  • Produce at minimum two public-facing reports weekly on research topics;
  • Gather and analyze relevant narrative data;
  • 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 with local actors;
  • Conduct briefings for government officials and civil society on research outcomes;
  • Identify additional research avenues;
  • Assist broader reporting, as needed.
  • Must have a minimum of 3 years of relevant work experience;
  • Must be fluent in English;
  • Familiarity with major regional languages strongly preferred;
  • Must have experience and a passion for using open-source research methodologies;
  • Must have knowledge of the regional political landscape;
  • Must have excellent research and writing skills;
  • Must be a self-starter able to work independently on project outputs;
  • Must demonstrate proven interest in the overlap between international relations, human rights, journalism, technology trends, social media, and online information environments;
  • Must have a strong journalistic or research background;
  • Must work well with others and interact professionally with senior officials;
  • Must be detail-oriented and have the ability to work in a fast-paced environment;
  • Must be active on social media with a high degree of digital literacy;
  • Must be able to travel internationally.