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How to Apply

A cover letter is required and should be submitted as the first page of an application package, preceding your resume. The letter should address your interest in this specific position and outline your training, skills and experience as directly related to this fellowship. Also attach at least one paper for which you are the lead author; copies of or links to samples of other writing (such as web articles, op-eds or short essays) you may have done for general audiences; and contact information for three references. Letters of reference are not required but may be requested after our initial screening of applicants.  

Job Summary

The University of Michigan Energy Institute (UMEI) collaborates with the Institute for Social Research (ISR) on a quarterly survey of Americans' attitudes on energy. Fielded as a rider on ISR's Surveys of Consumers, source of the widely reported Index of Consumer Sentiment, the U-M Energy Survey generates timely data on consumer perceptions and concerns about the affordability, reliability and environmental impact of energy; see Now in its fifth year, the U-M Energy Survey has generated a unique time series of data that presents an opportunity for expanded research and analysis on topics of high interest to the public, policymakers and businesses involved in energy production, distribution and use as well as related environmental issues.

The U-M Energy Institute is offering a research fellowship for a postdoctoral social scientist to work with Energy Survey researchers and faculty advisors on analyzing and interpreting energy survey data, other consumer survey data and economic data. The research fellow will write reports, short posts for the Energy Survey website and journal articles, as well as make presentations at conferences and other forums based on the findings. The fellow will also be encouraged to initiate original research on energy- related behavioral topics, joining a research team that includes expertise on energy, consumer attitudes, survey methodology and data analysis. 


Postdoctoral fellows are required to be in residence full-time for the duration of the appointment.  Per University of Michigan guidelines, fellows are given a one-year renewable appointment contingent on performance and continued funding. The fellow will work with the survey director to carry out data analysis, interpretation and reporting, involving the following tasks:

  • Analyze and interpret U-M Energy Survey data in conjunction with other data from the U-M Surveys of Consumers and related survey, energy and economic data from other sources.
  • Write reports, papers for peer-reviewed journals, and short articles for the web, and make presentations on the research and its significance.
  • Propose and carry out additional original research, which may include comparing Energy Survey data to other consumer economics and energy data, developing new survey questions, and applying complementary social science research tools.
  • Engage other research fellows, faculty and students performing similar work in allied U-M social science units, e.g., by participating in informal seminars to share research-in-progress or helping plan workshops or guest speaker series on consumer issues related to energy and sustainability.
  • Develop and write proposals for new social science research related to energy-related consumer attitudes and behavior in alignment with the fellow's scholarly interests. 

Required Qualifications*

  • Recently completed Ph.D. in a relevant social science discipline such as behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, sociology or survey methodology.
  • Outstanding, written and verbal communication skills, including an ability to communicate scientific concepts clearly to both academic and public audiences.  
  • Demonstrated ability to write and lead the authorship of peer-reviewed quality papers, reports and conference presentations.  
  • Expertise in survey methodology, survey database management and quantitative analysis.
  • The ability to work with minimum supervision, including analysis design, careful scholarship and original thinking. 

Desired Qualifications*

  • Knowledge of U.S. consumer attitudes, economic behavior, energy and environmental issues.
  • Expertise in SAS; the U-M Surveys of Consumers and Energy Survey databases are maintained using SAS and so experience with or an ability to quickly learn this software is crucial for the job. 

Additional Information

About the UMEI and ISR

The demand for economically and environmentally sound energy solutions is urgent and global. At the Energy Institute, we build on the University of Michigan’s strong energy research heritage at the heart of the nation’s automotive and manufacturing industries to develop and integrate science, technology and policy solutions to pressing energy challenges.

The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research pursues a scientific mission to plan and conduct rigorous social science research; disseminate the findings of this research and train future generations of social scientists. Because organizational diversity is closely linked to the ability to carry out our scientific mission, we strive to foster an environment that enables a diverse set of scientists, staff and students to contribute their full potential to help achieve excellence.

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. This job may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.