Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Program Manager

Massachusetts, United States
29 Jan 2019
End of advertisement period
26 Feb 2019
Contract Type
Full Time


Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Department of Economics - Opportunity Insights Institute

Position Description


The American Dream – the aspiration that all children should have opportunities to climb the economic ladder – is at risk. In the 1950s, more than 90% of American children grew up to earn more than their parents did. Today, only 50% of children do so.

The mission of the Opportunity Insights (OI) — a joint initiative of faculty at Stanford, Harvard, and Brown universities — is to revive the American dream. We seek to develop scalable policy solutions that will empower families to rise out of poverty and achieve better life outcomes. We do this by harnessing the power of big data through high quality research to learn from areas where the American Dream is still thriving. We study economic mobility through lenses such as education, neighborhood environments, and health to understand the drivers of economic opportunity in the country and give local policy-makers customized data and insights to help them craft effective policy solutions.

The project’s work to date has shaped policy discussions at the national and local level, with nearly a dozen of its studies covered on the front pages of major media outlets, such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and cited in congressional testimony and the President’s State of the Union addresses. This work has led to direct impacts on a broad range of decisions by local policy makers, ranging from school districts to housing authorities.

Our team, led by MacArthur “genius” award winner Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Nathan Hendren, consists of leaders from academia, policy, and management, supported by a staff of approximately 40 members who share a passion to revive the American Dream. We are now seeking a Research Program Manager (RPM), who will conduct and manage research studies on behalf of the Founding Directors and mentor a team of 12-15 predoctoral research fellows.



On behalf of the Founding Directors, oversee resource management within the research arm including creating workflows across and within multiple research projects in the lab to ensure efficient and effective deployment of pre-doctoral fellow effort.

  • Act as “technical liaison” between the research team at Opportunity Insights and the policy team, providing insight into the specific methodologies and techniques used in the research
  • Contribute to publications and present research findings to OI affiliates. As necessary, speak with current or potential funders to present and explain technical findings

Pre-doctoral Fellowship Program

  • Lead recruitment for and and oversee the work of 12-15 full-time pre-doctoral research assistants
  • Identify opportunities for pre-doctoral skill development within the scope of the research agenda
  • Mentor students in the responsible conduct of research; work in close partnership with faculty and collaborators to ensure data protocols and University policies are adhered to
  • Proactively manage competing priorities for pre-doctoral work

Research Oversight

  • Evaluate the merits of potential new data sources to understand how they might contribute to the larger research goals of the organization
  • Manage data acquisitions from various public and private organizations; contribute to the drafting of memoranda of understanding with project partners.
  • Interact with HUIT and Internal Review Boards as needed to ensure compliance with all data protocols and University policies

Basic Qualifications

  • PhD by appointment date
  • At least 5 years of econometric research experience.

Additional Qualifications

Specific job skills

  • Ability to effectively manage and coordinate projects and teams
  • Excellent analytic, organization and problem-solving skills - Strong analytical, management, leadership, communications, writing, and presentation skills.


  • Initiative
  • Confidence and enthusiasm
  • Strong work ethic
  • Collaborative team player (strong communication, conflict management, and listening skills; reliable and respectful)

Personal accountability for consistent application of processes and policies


Reports to Founding Director
Direct reports: ~15 pre-doctoral fellows

Special Instructions

Please note that this position is grant funded with funding secured through June 30, 2023. Positions are reviewed on a biannual basis.

Contact Information

Contact Mandy Ellenwood, Director of Administration and Finance for the Opportunity Insights Institute.

Contact Email


Equal Opportunity Employer

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law.