Research Scientist, NLP (ETS)

Job Description:

ETS’s Research & Development division has an opening for a Natural Language Processing, speech, or spoken dialog systems Research Scientist in the Learning and Assessment Foundations and Innovations (LAFI) Center.

About the LAFI Center:

You will join a team in the LAFI Center, collaborating with other researchers to explore ways to assess and improve speech and literacy skills and conduct research that will inform personalized learning solutions. The center also collaborates with a dedicated team of researchers who study ways to improve English language learning and assessment, with a heavy emphasis on language learners in foreign/international settings. Both teams have access to large amounts of student data that are available for analysis, building new models and capabilities, and refining automated language processing and related AI applications.

What you’ll do:

You will work as a team member on foundational research designed to make scientific advances in the field and on applied research that informs the development of practical classroom solutions.

Your responsibilities:

  • Research, develop and evaluate novel speech and text processing algorithms for educational applications.
  • Take responsibility for conceptualizing, proposing, obtaining funding for, and directing projects in the area of expertise and interest and in alignment with ETS priorities. Projects may include (1) foundational and applied research projects, (2) development of tools and research prototypes that make use of speech and NLP technologies. As a new hire, you will initially focus on supporting ongoing projects, with an opportunity to develop own research agenda as you gain experience and familiarity with ETS mission and priorities and with the field of language technology for education.
  • Document and disseminate the results of research and/or development projects through an emerging collection of publications and presentations. Publication includes peer-reviewed journals, peer-reviewed conference proceedings, patents, books and book chapters, and other media. Presentation may be at international, national, or regional conferences, client meetings, and ETS seminars.

Why ETS?

ETS believes in the life-changing power of learning. For more than 70 years, the vision of what’s possible when all people can improve their lives through education has driven our commitment to quality, equity and fairness. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores tens of millions of tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments. But we are so much more than the tests we deliver. With our mission to advance quality and equity in education in mind, we also deliver groundbreaking research and learning solutions to help a broad spectrum of stakeholders understand what’s possible and identify the steps to get there. ETS’s staff members are passionate about using their wide-ranging expertise to improve teaching and learning.

Experience and Skills

What you’ll bring to ETS:


A Ph.D. in Engineering, Computer Science, Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics, or a similar area, with a focus on speech or spoken dialog systems preferred.

A strong candidate will have developed and published state-of-the-art NLP methods in their area of expertise and have strong software engineering skills.


  • Research and/or development experience in speech or language processing is required. Rank will be commensurate with experience.
  • Practical expertise with NLP systems and fluency in at least one major programming language (e.g., Python or Java). Some experience with web programming (e.g., JavaScript, Node.js) is a plus.
  • Experience with state-of-the-art NLP systems and methodologies such as transformer neural networks (BERT, RoBERTa) is a plus.
  • Research experience with English language learner data is a plus.

COVID-19 Requirements
ETS requires all new hires to either certify that they have been fully vaccinated or request and obtain an exemption due to medical or religious reasons by their start date.

EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer of Women and Minorities.

EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer of protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities.

EDUCATIONAL TESTING SERVICE is a Drug-free workplace.

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