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How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration of this position and should be attached to the first page of your resume.  The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.  In addition, please include a brief writing sample and an unofficial undergraduate and graduate transcript, if applicable.

Job Summary

The Population Studies Center (PSC) in the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan invites applications for a full-time position of Research Area Specialist (Intermediate). The Research Area Specialist will help design, implement, and manage several large-scale social policy experiments. One experiment will test the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a skill-based intervention that is tied to a large-scale job training program; another tests a youth summer employment program. The position, which is grant funded, offers the opportunity to work directly with leading social policy researchers at Harvard University, Princeton University, and the University of Michigan, as well as a team of research analysts and student research assistants. This person will help shape the entire research process, including close collaboration with the research team’s partners in the public and nonprofit sectors. Preferred work location is Ann Arbor MI, though Cambridge MA, Princeton NJ might also be possible.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities
Under the direction of the project’s principal investigators (PIs), the Research Area Specialist will direct the design, implementation, data collection, and analysis process for the studies, including but not limited to: 

  • Participating in the study design and project launch and ongoing activities, in close collaboration with project’s PIs;
  • Implementing and supervising the randomization process;
  • Monitoring fidelity of implementation (on and off site);
  • Troubleshooting unforeseen challenges in research implementation;
  • Submit periodic project status reports to supervisor/PIs;
  • Establishing and managing strong relationships with project partners, including
  • administrators, vendors, contractors, and sub-awardees, among others;
  • Participating in the design of interview, survey, and assessment protocols;
  • Designing and modifying research methods;
  • Coordinating data acquisition from study partners and government agencies;
  • Managing data protocols and memorandums of understanding;
  • Overseeing project data security;
  • Interacting with research subjects;
  • Ensuring compliance with human subjects regulations as well as institutional, state, and federal regulatory policies, procedures, directives and mandates;
  • Coordinating grant applications and managing progress reports, as required by funding agencies in collaboration with the grants office;
  • Summarizing and analyzing study data and reporting results; 
  • Overseeing work of support staff, students and/or casuals; trains, schedules, and distributes work to students, casuals, and non-overtime-eligible employees;
  • Reviewing literature and contributing to other related projects as needed;
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Strong project management skills with exceptional attention to detail required.
  • Ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment required.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and ability to maintain positive relationships with various stakeholders required.
  • Strong time management skills with a proven ability to multitask and to prioritize to successfully complete projects on tight deadlines with little supervision.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to present data in a simple and straightforward way for non-technical audiences required.
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise sound judgment required.
  • Knowledge and understanding of research design and the job training research literature strongly preferred.

Required Qualifications*

A Bachelor’s degree and acquired knowledge of economics and statistics. Availability for occasional travel to research sites.  Candidates should have strong analytical, management, leadership, communications, writing, and presentation skills.  Experience with Stata or other statistical software.

Desired Qualifications*

A Master’s degree in public policy, education policy, or economics with two or more years of work experience is strongly preferred. Experience with organizational operations duties such as monitoring budgets, data management and IRB processes.

Additional Information

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to ground our research in varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.

This is a two-year position. If additional funding is received, the position may be extended.

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


U-M EEO/AA Statement

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