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How to Apply

Qualified applicants must electronically submit:

  1. Cover letter describing their scholarly activities and outlining their research interests using UMETRICS data
  2. Current CV
  3. Two examples of scholarly work 
  4. Letters from three professional references who can speak knowledgeably about scholarly work

All materials must be submitted via e-mail to  

Job Summary

The Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS) invites applications for two Postdoctoral Research Fellows. These one-year fellowships are funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of a grant to develop and support the research community using the IRIS UMETRICS dataset (Universities: Measuring the EffecTs of Research on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Science).

IRIS is an IRB-approved data repository that collects, integrates, warehouses, and makes available both restricted and publicly available data on the social and economic impact of academic research and training. It is part of the Innovation, Networks, and Knowledge (INK) program at the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan. ISR is the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization and conducts some of the most widely-cited and influential social science research in the world.

IRIS ingests member university administrative data related to research awards and student academic data into a highly protected data enclave environment and makeslinkages to Census Bureau data and other datasets, allowing IRIS to then generate reports demonstrating the career trajectory of research staff, vendor spending, as well as other measures of impact. In addition, IRIS makes these combined datasets available for research purposes, allowing approved investigators to access de-identified data in a virtual data enclave.

IRIS core files are based on administrative data drawn directly from the sponsored projects, procurement, and human resources data systems on each IRIS university’s campus. These data are useful for analyzing the social and economic effects of research investments, the scientific production function, the career outcomes and earnings of doctoral students and trainees, and questions pertaining to the science and engineering workforce and the STEM pipeline, among many other possible topics. See for more information.


The focus of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowships will be developing and pursuing novel research using the UMETRICS dataset, which is described in more detail on the IRIS website at  Fellows will be expected to design and pursue their own projects alone or in collaboration with other researchers.

IRIS Fellows will devote 80% effort to define, develop, and lead research projects utilizing the IRIS UMETRICS research data under the guidance of Jason Owen-Smith, IRIS Executive Director and Professor of Sociology. This may also include coordinating and supervising the work of doctoral student research assistants, and opportunities to travel and/or present on research. The remaining 20% effort will be allocated to furthering IRIS’ objectives, which may include but are not limited to:

1) contributing to the annual research data release through data linkage work or other research products;

2) developing evidence-based communications in response to current events using the IRIS UMETRICS data to highlight the public value of research;

3) developing elements of new reporting products for IRIS member universities or other stakeholders such as AAU or APLU or other activities devised by the fellows in collaboration with IRIS faculty and staff.

Applicants must have successfully completed a dissertation defense and earned a Ph.D. before beginning the fellowship. Fellows will be part of the IRIS research team and will report directly to IRIS Executive Director Jason Owen-Smith.

Required Qualifications*

  • Ph.D. in Economics, Education, Information Science, Management, Public Policy, Sociology, Statistics, or a related field
  • Knowledge or experience with the linkage and analysis of large-scale data sets

Desired Qualifications*

  • Knowledge or experience with SQL and relational databases

Additional Information

Anticipated Start Date:

On or about January 1, 2020 (negotiable). Consideration of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the position is filled.

Employment Conditions:

Applicants are expected to work on premise at the IRIS offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which are located in the Institute for Social Research on the University of Michigan campus. Occasional travel to attend research group meetings or conferences may be required.

Salary and Benefits:

This is a one-year appointment with a $60,000 stipend.

University of Michigan benefits include twenty-two (22) days of paid vacation annually in addition to time off during University holidays observed during the appointment period, and up to three (3) weeks of paid absence for personal illness, childbirth (if not eligible for maternity (childbirth) leave), childcare, injury, and family care. A description of postdoctoral research fellow benefits at the University of Michigan is available here:


The Institute for Social Research (ISR) 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


U-M EEO/AA Statement

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