Inequality in America Initiative 2021-22 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Cambridge, Massachusetts (US)
06 Oct 2020
End of advertisement period
20 Nov 2020
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Sociology
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Inequality in America Initiative 2021-22 Postdoctoral Fellowship

School    Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Department/Area    Division of Social Science

Position Description    
Social and economic inequality are urgent problems for our society, with implications for a range of outcomes from economic growth and political stability to crime, public health, family wellbeing, and social trust. The Inequality in America Initiative seeks applications from recent doctoral (or equivalent) degree recipients interested in joining an interdisciplinary network of Harvard researchers who are working to address the multiple challenges of inequality. 

This postdoctoral training program is intended to seed new research directions; facilitate collaboration and mentorship across disciplines; develop new leaders in the study of inequality who can publish at the highest level, reach the widest audience, and impact policy.

Expectations and Conditions

  • Each fellow is expected to pursue original research and, in particular, to make substantial progress on new work that is significantly distinct from the dissertation. Fellows are expected to complete a working paper that represents a new line of research by the end of the second year. Each fellow will have an opportunity during the fellowship period to convene a manuscript workshop inviting 2-4 outside scholars to review and comment on their research in progress.
  • Fellows are expected to be in residence* at Harvard for the duration of the fellowship, with the exception of the summer months. Fellows who need to be off-site for longer than two weeks during regular term time must seek approval from the program director.
  • The fellows will co-organize a research workshop that will convene IAI affiliates on a monthly basis for the purpose of presenting and discussing work in progress. Each fellow will present in the workshop at least once per year.
  • Fellows are expected to participate in the activities of the Inequality in America Initiative, including but not limited to the research workshop.
  • Fellows may be able to extend the postdoctoral fellowship to a non-stipendiary third year, subject to approval of the program director and conditional on the fellow securing funding, potentially through teaching at Harvard.

The Award
The fellowship is a two-year postdoctoral training program, with an optional third year conditional on program director approval and independent funding. The salary is $68,000/year plus fringe benefits, including health insurance eligibility.

The award will include office space* and up to $17,500 for research expenses across the two years, including computer equipment and travel*. We also provide up to $3000 toward relocation expenses (total includes withheld taxes, per US law) and $3000 toward a manuscript workshop in the second year.

The program director will pair each fellow with two Harvard faculty mentors, including one from outside the fellow’s primary discipline. Over 50 Harvard faculty are affiliated with the initiative, participating in one or more of five major research clusters:

  • Mobility and Migration
  • Science, Technology, Education, and Health
  • Work, Family, and Opportunity
  • Governance, Citizenship, and Social Justice
  • America Inequality, Globally

See more at https://inequalityinamerica.fas.harvard.edu.

Applicants should indicate on their applications the research cluster that seems most relevant to their work, as this will aid us in identifying appropriate mentors. (Applicants do not need to identify mentors themselves.) Fellows will have ample opportunity and encouragement to make connections with faculty from across the initiative.

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard is currently operating primarily remotely, and most personnel work from home and do not have access to their offices; furthermore, Harvard currently prohibits most business travel. We do not know when normal operations will resume, but benefits such as office space and a travel budget will be available only at that time.

Basic Qualifications    
Applicants to the 2021-22 program must have received a doctorate or terminal degree in April 2018 or later; those applicants without a doctorate or terminal degree must demonstrate that they will receive such a degree no later than August 2021.

Additional Qualifications    
HARVARD candidates: Those who received terminal degrees from Harvard and postdocs currently working at Harvard are eligible for the fellowship provided their research plans take them in new directions that are significantly distinct from their doctoral research and that are intended to forge new connections within the University. Harvard candidates should not propose to continue to work with the same professors or lab groups with whom they are currently associated. No candidate should propose to work extensively with his or her thesis advisor.

The application must include the following:

  1. A CV
  2. A 2- to 4-page (<2000 words) research statement that includes a brief description of your dissertation research and a more detailed proposal for the project you will pursue during the fellowship, including an explanation of its importance and potential impact and how it connects with the goals of the program and your own long-term plans.
  3. One chapter- or article-length writing sample (no more than 25 pages). The writing sample may be published or unpublished, but should relate to your proposed topic and be clearly identified (i.e., please provide full citation information).
  4. Three letters of recommendation.

Applications, excluding letters of recommendation, must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST, Friday, November 20th, 2020. 

Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation must be received no later than 11:59 PM EST, Friday, December 4th, 2020.

Please give your reference providers plenty of advance notice regarding the letter deadline. Note that they will not be able to upload their letters until you have submitted your application, at which point they will receive a system-generated email message with instructions. (If you submit your application on 11/20, your references will have only 2 weeks, including the Thanksgiving holidays, to upload their letters.)

Please make sure you have supplied current and accurate email addresses for your references, and please monitor your application to make sure the letters have been submitted. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we simply do not have time to track down missing letters.

You may use Interfolio. Interfolio provides you with a unique email address for each letter of recommendation. You need to obtain that address from Interfolio and enter it in the section of your application that requests your reference provider’s email address. (Once again, please double-check this email address for accuracy.) Complete instructions are available at the Interfolio Help Center (http://product-help.interfolio.com/m/27438/l/266289-confidential-letter-uploads-to-online-application-systems).

Contact Information    
Jennifer Shephard
FAS Social Science Division
University Hall 3 South
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138

Contact Email    jmsheph@fas.harvard.edu

Equal Opportunity Employer    
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability unrelated to job requirements, genetic information, military service, or other protected status. Minorities and women are especially encouraged to apply.

Minimum Number of References Required    3
Maximum Number of References Allowed    3