Research Specialist A

7 days left

Pennsylvania, United States
13 May 2020
End of advertisement period
11 Aug 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Job Description Summary

The Jenkins Lab at the University of Pennsylvania seeks a Research Specialist to begin in Summer or Fall 2020 (start date flexible). The Research Specialists will work closely with the Principal Investigator and other lab personnel to contribute technical expertise to all aspects of the lab's research.

Job Description


The Jenkins Lab studies the cognitive and neural bases of social and economic behavior using a range of approaches including functional brain imaging (fMRI), computational modeling, natural language processing, and laboratory and online experiments. Research Specialists will work closely with the Principal Investigator and other lab personnel to contribute technical expertise to all aspects of the lab's research, including [i] designing and programming behavioral and fMRI experiments, [ii] using computational modeling and other approaches to analyze behavioral, fMRI, and text data, [iii] developing laboratory pipelines for data analysis and storage, including advancing the lab's efforts toward open, reproducible science, and [iv] assisting in recruiting, training, and mentoring students in the lab. The Research Specialist will also have ongoing opportunities to engage with the Psychology Department and the broader intellectual community at the University of Pennsylvania. Competitive applicants will have superb technical abilities and an interest in applying those abilities to questions about the mind and brain in an interdisciplinary, collaborative research environment. 


Qualified applicants will have a bachelor’s degree or higher in cognitive science, computer science, economics, linguistics, mathematics, neuroscience, psychology, statistics, or a related field and 0-1 year of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Competence in at least one programming environment is essential; proficiency in MATLAB, Python, javascript, and/or R is especially desirable. Previous research experience is highly desirable. Experience with fMRI data analysis (e.g., SPM) and/or Natural Language Processing (e.g., word embeddings) is highly desirable but not required and can be learned on the job. Competitive applicants will be highly motivated, have excellent organizational and problem-solving skills, and show a high level of attention to detail. A two-year commitment is preferred. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

The ideal candidate(s) will contribute creatively to the lab’s research program, resulting in opportunities to present research at conferences and co-author manuscripts resulting from the research. This position is especially well suited to individuals interested in pursuing an academic or industry career in one of the fields mentioned above. Visit for more information. 

Please include your current resume/CV along with a brief cover letter outlining:

(i) your background, including any past research experience
(ii) an honest assessment of your competencies in statistics, computational modeling, and programming 
(iii) the basis of your interest in joining our lab
(iv) your current sense of what you hope to do after working in the lab
(v) one or two ideas that currently excite you (on whatever topic you wish)
(vi) the names of 2-3 individuals who could be contacted to provide a letter of recommendation, if needed, including the capacity in which they know you You are welcome to include other elements you believe would be useful as we consider your application (e.g., links to code, manuscripts on which you are a co-author).

Job Location - City, State

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School

School of Arts and Sciences

Pay Range

$35,568.00 - $57,600.00

Affirmative Action Statement 

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements 

Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

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