Open position: Predoctoral Research Coordinator

May 2022

Job Description Summary

DevLab@Penn and the Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) seek outstanding candidates for predoctoral research coordinator positions to work with us on research projects in international development.

DevLab@Penn and CASI seek to provide hands-on research experience to early career researchers, and particularly encourage applications from recent graduates with a strong desire to attend a top global PhD program in the social sciences. We welcome applicants from a wide variety of research backgrounds, and do not require a particular country focus or expertise (including on India). Successful candidates will work on DevLab@Penn and/or CASI research projects, receive mentorship from Penn faculty, and will have the opportunity to enroll in classes while at Penn. This is a one-year term position with the possibility of renewal for a second year, contingent upon continued funding.

We particularly encourage individuals from low- and lower-middle-income countries to apply for this role.

Interested candidates, please apply here

Job Description

DevLab@Penn connects social scientists at Penn who work in international development with the community of development practitioners. The Lab works directly with donors (such as USAID and the World Bank) and implementing NGOs (like Internews and CARE International) on research opportunities, the promotion of evaluable programming, and on impact evaluations themselves. CASI’s key goals are to nurture a new generation of scholars of India across disciplines and to provide a forum for dialogue among the academic, business, and foreign policy communities. Both CASI and DevLab@Penn are cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary, and interested in pushing the boundary between the academic and policy worlds. Our projects cover a broad range–from carefully designed field experiments to the application of machine learning to big data, and we welcome applicants with a diverse range of skills, training and experience.


Successful candidates will directly support ongoing DevLab@Penn and CASI research projects by carrying out a wide range of critical research tasks, including: statistical and econometric analyses, qualitative research, cleaning and analyzing data, drafting research reports and academic papers, conducting background research and literature reviews, identifying and obtaining secondary data, coding survey questionnaires, and managing field activities. Independent thinking, a strong understanding of social sciences, an ability to manage workflows on multiple projects, and self-motivation are highly valued.

This is a challenging opportunity for an early-career professional who is passionate about social science research and has a strong desire to expand and deepen skills in social science research and quantitative data analysis. You will work closely with Professors Erik Wibbels, Tariq Thachil, and/or Guy Grossman who will provide supervision on research and offer mentorship on academic development more broadly. You will also be encouraged to be an active part of Penn’s thriving development research community, by taking part in regular seminars, workshops, and related activities. We anticipate that the successful candidate would work in this position for 1 or 2 years, before going on to graduate programs or careers in Political Science, Public Policy, Economics or another social science.


Required qualifications:

  • BA/BS in Political Science, Economics, or another quantitative social science and 1-2 year of experience is required
  • At least passing knowledge of statistical software such as STATA, SPSS, Python or R;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to produce clear and compelling written materials geared towards technical and non-technical audiences
  • Self-directed, intrinsically motivated; capacity to manage work independently and organize workflows across multiple projects.
  • Working proficiency in written and spoken English.
  • Enthusiasm for a fast-paced, energetic work environment

Preferred qualifications:

  • Previous experience as a research analyst or conducting independent research.
  • Familiarity with causal inference and inferential statistics a plus, but not required.
  • Strong interest in pursuing an academic career in the social sciences.
  • Experience living and working in low- and lower-middle-income countries

Note: There is no firm deadline for this role. We encourage submitting an application as soon as possible. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Candidates should upload a resume/CV (including the names of at least 2 references), as well as a cover letter as part of their application.

Visa sponsorship is available for this position.


Interested candidates, please apply here