Research Area Specialist Associate

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How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline your skills and related experience.


The Monitoring the Future (MTF) project is searching for a Research Area Specialist Associate. MTF is a large ongoing national study of American youth, and is one of the largest studies within the Survey Research Center at the Institute for Social Research (ISR). Supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and ongoing continuously since 1975, MTF has collected data from well over a million respondents. The data are organized into hundreds of datasets with a variety of complex structures, including both cross-sectional and longitudinal. The products of this study are many: they include annual monographs, scholarly papers, books, presentations, press releases, web-based information, workshops, and archived data. To learn more about the MTF study, go to:

This data management position will provide support primarily for the Data Dissemination and Data Processing teams. This position will be responsible for processing numerous public- and restricted-use data and documentation files annually that are archived within the National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program (NAHDAP) for use by external researchers. The person in this position will also be the liaison with NAHDAP and other external users of the MTF data. Other responsibilities include assisting with quality control for other staff members who process other project data and documentation files, monitoring the study mailbox and responding to users' questions related to accessing and using the data, and training others in the use of MTF data. The successful candidate will be someone who takes pride in managing data, shows initiative for discovering and implementing ways to improve processing efficiency, is collaborative and willing to learn about MTF data and how it is used, and supports our goal of sharing well-curated data with other researchers.


45%       Using SAS, data management of 15-20 annual Monitoring the Future data files for archiving with the National Addiction & HIV Data Archive Program (NAHDAP). Data management tasks include, but are not limited to: DATA and PROC step processing for cleaning and recoding data for end-users; documentation of processing steps; improving efficiency of processing and procedures; and communicating issues and updates with relevant staff.

30%       Provide quality control assistance to other project staff who manage the project's data files. Collaborate with colleagues to detect potential issues in these data before they reach end-users. Contribute as needed to the production, maintenance, and documentation of these files and processes.

15%       Project liaison with NAHDAP and other users of MTF public- and restricted-use data using email, video, and in-person meetings. Respond in a timely matter to requests for information from the study mailboxes.

10%      Participate in study dissemination activities including, but not limited to: preparation and revisions of study documentation for internal and external data users (using MS Access, Word, and Excel), and workshop and training preparation and presentations (including use of MS PowerPoint and Canvas Course Manager).

Required Qualifications*

  • A Bachelor's degree in a recognized field of science or learning which is directly related to the duties of this position, along with 1-3 years of relevant experience.
  • SAS experience, 1-3 years, is a requirement of this position.
  • Experience with databases such as Microsoft Access.
  • Basic knowledge of statistics, including descriptive statistics and regression.
  • Motivated and attentive to detail.
  • Ability to quickly master new processes, procedures, and computer programs.
  • Ability to work successfully in both a team environment and independently, in-person and remotely.
  • Ability to work on multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Advanced experience with SAS, including SQL programming, macro coding, arrays, and do-loops.
  • Experience using UNIX/Linux for data analysis, data management, and batch file processing.
  • Working knowledge of Canvas Course Manager.
  • Ability to understand highly complex data and information about the data, including complex sample design issues and longitudinal data.
  • Excellent time management skills.

Work Locations

This position will be on-site at the University of Michigan offices in Ann Arbor, with flexible scheduling and remote opportunities made available within our overall Center policies. If relocation is required, we will allow for reasonable time and flexibility to make necessary arrangements.

Additional Information

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.


In addition to a career filled with purpose and opportunity, U-M offers a comprehensive benefits package to help you stay well, protect yourself and your family, and plan for a secure future. Benefits include generous time off; retirement plan with two-for-one matching contributions after the first year; many choices for comprehensive health insurance; life insurance; long-term disability coverage; and flexible spending accounts for healthcare and dependent care expenses. Learn more about U-M benefits.

Application Deadline

Institute for Social Research job openings are posted for a minimum of fourteen (14) calendar days. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled any time after the minimum posting period has ended. Salary is dependent upon qualifications and experience of selected candidate. 

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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

U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters when eligible, are required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all campuses, including Michigan Medicine.  This includes those working remotely.   More information on this new policy is available on the Campus Blueprint website or the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint websites.