Open Position: PDRI Data Scientist

March 2022

Job Description Summary

The Data Scientist will support the Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI) with data science applications for heavily data-driven projects. The Data Scientist will report directly to the PDRI academic directors.

Interested candidates, please apply here

Job Description

The Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI) brings together faculty and graduate students from seven schools across campus who have interests in international development, writ large. PDRI seeks to foster inter-disciplinary research by harnessing the extensive experience of its affiliates in both basic social science and program evaluation, drawing upon diverse disciplinary perspectives. PDRI serves as a launchpad for pursuing extramurally-funded research that includes, but is not limited to, collaborations with international NGOs, local NGOs, and government agencies while serving as an intellectual community for Penn faculty and graduate students conducting research in developing country settings.


The Data Scientist will work on data-driven PDRI projects through the application of advanced data science skills. The Data Scientist will be responsible for several distinct data-intensive tasks. For one, this includes collecting data using a variety of data extraction tools (e.g., web-scraping, API usage, data mining). It also includes data management (e.g., data cleaning and manipulation, including merging, transforming, and labeling data, training and predicting data). The Data Scientist will also be responsible for data visualization (creating figures, tables, maps and infographics for academic papers, policy briefs, as well as PDRI’s newsletters and website) and data analysis tasks (including geo-spatial analysis and statistical analysis), and report directly to the PDRI academic directors. The Data Scientist will also help to program surveys into survey software such as Qualtrics and Survey-to-Go.


Required qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Statistics or related field with 2 years of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience

  • Excellent data science and analytical skills, including advanced training and experience in statistical inference

  • Experience working with large datasets

  • Strong writing skills

  • Evidence of ability to take the initiative in solving practical research problems, ability to work independently, and to adjust to rapidly changing needs of researchers

  • The ideal candidate has strong coding fundamentals and wants to pursue a PhD in the social sciences

Preferred qualifications:

  • High level of proficiency working in the R environment (Python and/or Stata proficiency is not necessary, but a plus)

  • Ample experience with data management tasks such as merging, transformation, and visualization

  • Experience with GIS data (skills in spatial econometrics are a plus)

  • Experience with automated scraping of data from websites

  • Experience with impact evaluation projects involving randomized controlled trials (need not be in an academic setting)

  • Experience with advanced computational social sciences tools such as machine learning, text-as-data, and natural language processing

  • Knowledge of and experience with probability and statistics, research design, and causal inference

This is a two year term appointment with the possibility of renewal.

*For consideration, please submit a resume and the name of three references. Please also include an attachment with a link to a data science project you have completed. This could be a link to a GitHub repository, a class project, or an independent research project. You can upload multiple documents to the “Resume/CV” section.

The salary for this position is expected to be from $50,684 to $80,000.

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.

Interested candidates, please apply here