Research Area Specialist Associate

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How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter describing your interest in the position and relevant experience, a CV/resume and two references we may contact. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.


The Food and Addiction Science and Treatment (FAST) lab in the University of Michigan Department of Psychology is seeking a full-time Research Coordinator position for a NIDA-funded research project. The aim of this research is to understand how ultra-processed foods impact reward-functioning, mood, and well-being using cutting-edge technology (e.g., neuroimaging, continuous glucose monitoring, ecological momentary assessment) and experimental designs with human subjects. Employees will receive training on these scientific methods.

The ideal start date would be January 2023, although the timing may be negotiable. The Research Coordinator will work under the supervision of Dr. Ashley Gearhardt. They will join a team of graduate and undergraduate researchers and have opportunities to collaborate on numerous research projects focused on the impact of ultra-processed foods on mental health and well-being.

The Research Coordinator will oversee many different research-related activities, including but not limited to the recruitment of participants, overseeing neuroimaging and mobile technology research, engagement with institutional review boards, and supervision of research assistants. The application is for a one-year position that is renewable, contingent on performance and continued grant funding. This position is suitable for candidates interested in growing a competitive research record for preparation for graduate school in psychology or in related fields of neuroscience, public health, or social work. The Research Coordinator will have opportunities to develop methodological, statistical, and writing skills and will have the opportunity to earn authorship on peer-reviewed papers.

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.


  • Research Duties:

    • Work independently to oversee the day-to-day operation of the PI's NIDA-funded study on ultra-processed food, including contributing to study design, implementation and analysis; assist in the development and conducting of novel behavioral protocols designed to look at stress and reward responses

    • Preparing and running study participants

    • Prepare progress reports for research funders

    • Building and maintaining infrastructure - Recruitment of participants, data maintenance, communication with other relevant labs across the county (Brown, Pennington Biomedical, and Oregon Research Institute) and internationally (the University of Tasmania). This individual will help assist with communication among this team of international scientists

    • Assisting with human research subject recruitment, scheduling, and testing according to established lab protocols, or as an assistant to graduate students; This individual will assist in the development of targeted recruitment materials, screen participants' data for meeting inclusion/exclusion criteria, schedule longitudinal periods of data collection and ensure participants are retained across the data collection period. This role will also oversee the collection of data biological and behavioral data collected both in real-time and in experimental protocols

    • Engagement with institutional human subjects review boards; This role will assist with tracking any changes to protocols, any adverse events, and any unexpected events and will report them to the human subjects review board in a timely manner to ensure the highest ethical practices in research 

    • Maintain records of research processes

  • Administrative Duties:

    • Purchase research supplies and equipment

    • Report on grant spending and contribute to budgeting

    • Process participant incentives

    • Other administrative duties as assigned

  • Mentoring Duties:

    • Recruit and train research assistants

    • Supervise research assistants and scaffold the development of research skills

    • Provide research and career support for research assistants

    • Supervising/Training new lab members, including undergraduate Assistants in Research, on research and coding protocols in the lab

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor's degree in psychology or another relevant discipline, including at least two years of undergraduate coursework

  • 1-3 years of experience conducting research, particularly with human subjects

  • Strong organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills, both oral and written

Desired Qualifications*

  • Experience carrying a research project through from conceptualization to reporting

  • Knowledge of survey platforms (e.g., Qualtrics, Redcap)

  • Experience collecting, managing, and analyzing data

  • Supervisory experience is preferred

  • Willingness to travel to various on and off-campus locations for purposes of the research study

Additional Information

  • Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled

  • This position is term-limited to one year with the possibility of renewal. The aim is to renew the position for at least 2 years (and potentially up to 4 years), as the role will require large amounts of training. Preference will be given to candidates that are interested in a multi-year commitment.

  • The exact start date is flexible but would ideally be in January 2023

  • This is an in-person obligation that requires residence in Southeast Michigan (remote working days will be available)

  • This position is benefits-eligible and includes paid vacation time

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitments to serve the diverse people of Michigan, fulfill the College’s Guiding Principles, and sustain the excellence of LSA.

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 are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Contact Information

Please contact Jacob Foster ( if you have any questions about this position.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days. The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening 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.

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 one booster when eligible, are required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all campuses, including Michigan Medicine.  This includes those working remotely and temporary workers.   More information on this new policy is available on the U-M Health Response website or the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint websites.