Data Scientist

Full time

Employment Information

Purpose of the job:

The Innovation Lab at Human Rights First, created in 2019, houses the world’s first digital technology incubator dedicated solely to the advancement of human rights. The Innovation Lab develops products and services that leverage artificial intelligence and other new digital technologies to protect human rights and democracy. The Lab’s resources are currently being applied to assist modern war crimes investigations, protect the integrity of our elections, combat white nationalist extremism in the US, and document human rights violations at the US / Mexico border.

As a Data Scientist at Human Rights First, you will hold a pivotal role in leveraging and advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning to promote and extend human rights. Your responsibilities will involve designing and constructing sophisticated machine learning models, exploring uses and applications of AI, helping to extract meaningful and actionable data from diverse data streams, as well as refining and updating existing systems.

In order to thrive in this position, you must possess exceptional skills in statistics and programming, as well as a deep understanding of data science and software engineering principles. Your ultimate objective will be to explore the intersection of technology and human rights to create high impact applications that can multiply the efficacy of human rights defenders and practitioners around the world. Join us and be at the forefront of innovation at the intersection of technology and human rights.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions**):

  • Develop, train, and fine-tune machine learning and deep learning models for various applications, such as natural language processing, computer vision, recommendation systems, or predictive analytics.
  • Prepare and preprocess large datasets, including data cleaning, feature engineering, and handling missing values to ensure high-quality input for machine learning models.
  • Implement rigorous model evaluation techniques, including cross-validation, A/B testing, and performance metrics, to assess model accuracy and generalization.
  • Optimize model performance through hyperparameter tuning and experimentation to achieve the best possible results.
  • Deploy machine learning models into production environments, working closely with software engineering teams to ensure seamless integration.
  • Continuously monitor model performance and implement improvements as necessary, including staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in AI/ML research.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams, including data scientists, data engineers, product managers, and stakeholders, both internal and external, to translate project/program requirements into AI/ML solutions.
  • Ensure ethical considerations in AI/ML development, including fairness, transparency, and bias mitigation, aligning with best practices and regulations.
  • Create comprehensive documentation for models, code, and processes to facilitate knowledge sharing and maintainability.
  • Support Lab’s rapid response efforts in the face of abuses of technology to infringe on human rights, and other special projects
  • Support communication of HRF’s technology and innovation work – in particular to technical audiences - through project/product demos, creative content, videos, and presentations
  • Other duties as required.

Supervision Received:

The AI/ML Engineer will formally report to the Lab’s Technical Director for professional development and support. This role is for an experienced and semi-autonomous technologist with expert command of their role and responsibilities.

Qualifications & skills:


  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Computer Science, Machine Learning, Data Science, or certification/specialized program completion in equivalent area of study.
  • 2-5 years of relevant work experience in machine learning, including hands-on model development and deployment.
  • Proficiency in programming languages commonly used in AI/ML, such as Python and libraries/frameworks like TensorFlow, PyTorch, or scikit-learn.
  • Strong expertise in data preprocessing, data wrangling, and feature engineering to extract valuable insights from raw data.
  • Proven track record of building and fine-tuning machine learning models, including deep learning, and familiarity with neural network architectures.
  • Experience with deploying models to production environments using containerization (e.g., Docker) and orchestration tools (e.g., Kubernetes).
  • Understanding of ethical considerations in AI/ML, including bias mitigation, fairness, and interpretability.
  • Familiarity with relevant AI/ML tools and libraries, as well as version control systems like Git.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills to tackle complex AI/ML challenges.
  • Excellent communication skills to collaborate with cross-functional teams and convey technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders.
  • A commitment to staying updated with the latest developments in AI/ML through research, online courses, or conferences.
  • Deep interest in the intersection of emerging technology, human rights, and democracy
  • Ability to make decisions in a changing environment and anticipate future needs
  • Self-motivated individual must be able to work collaboratively in fast paced team environment with competing priorities
  • Deals with confidential information and/or issues using discretion and judgment.


  • Experience and passion in human rights, democracy and/or social justice fields
  • Understanding of development styles (test, event, type driven development, etc)

Please include resume, cover letter, and project or case study demonstrating analysis of data, use of machine learning or modern AI technologies.

Human Rights First is committed to recruiting, retaining, and developing staff from a diversity of backgrounds, including members of racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, people of all nationalities, and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. We believe that a diverse staff and an inclusive work environment that welcomes a range of perspectives make us stronger and more effective.


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