TPP/IDSS Postdoctoral Associate

Technology and Policy Program Postdoctoral Associate: Research and Policy Engagement

MIT’s Technology and Policy Program (TPP) and Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) seeks candidates for two Postdoctoral Associate (PDA) positions starting in 2019, to join a new initiative bridging technology-policy research and policy engagement. Applications will be accepted through April 22, 2019.

The PDAs will join researchers and students in the inaugural cohort of TPP’s Research and Policy Engagement Initiative, an effort which will launch in September 2019. TPP’s Research and Policy Engagement Initiative focuses on research and stakeholder engagement to address policy challenges in selected focal areas centered around specific research domains.

This will be a one-year appointment beginning on September 1, 2019, with the possibility of renewal for a second year based upon satisfactory performance.

TPP’s Research and Policy Engagement Initiative has two complementary goals. First, it aims to help bring scientific and technical knowledge to bear to inform solutions to complex policy problems, bridging the design and conduct of research at MIT with communities of practice. Second, it aims to create an intellectual community of researchers who can learn, apply, and contribute to developing best practices in bridging knowledge to action on societal challenges, across experiences in different research domains.

The ideal PDA candidates will have a strong interdisciplinary research agenda, a demonstrated track record of policy engagement on complex societal challenges, and an interest in working across domains to identify new insights about methods and practices for research that informs policy decision-making.

Candidates can find the application process at the MIT jobs site (, req# 17239, and it is also appended below. The cohort of Research and Policy Engagement Initiative participants will be announced in May 2019.

POSTDOCTORAL ASSOCIATE (PDA) in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), working with the Technology and Policy Program (TPP) on policy-relevant research and bridging knowledge to policy action. The position will involve (i) conducting research that aims to inform solutions to complex policy-relevant problems in selected research domains, and (ii) developing new insights and best practices in bringing knowledge to action on societal challenges. Engagement with stakeholder and policy communities will be a core part of the research process. The two areas of focus for 2019-2020 in which we seek postdoctoral candidates are (1)  Internet Policy and Cybersecurity and (2) Sustainability, pollution, and global health.

Internet Policy and Cybersecurity: Together with MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative, this area focuses on the technical and policy aspects of security issues as they relate to the communication networks and software systems affecting global society and the economy. Multidisciplinary areas of interest include: the encryption debate, accountability, securing core economic and social infrastructure, measuring cyber risk, cryptography, data sharing, securing the Internet of Things, and developing secure communication channels between ISPs and users.

Sustainability, Pollution, and Global Health: This area focuses on the challenges of providing information for decision-making to promote human well-being in the context of pollutant-related health damages.  Environmental factors such as air and water pollution are major contributors to disease burden worldwide. Multidisciplinary areas of interest include (but are not limited to): pollutant data analysis for policy design and evaluation on multiple scales;  interactions of climate policy with urban and regional pollution control; interactions between sustainable development goals on environment and health; and research to better understand human, technical, and environmental systems in the context of materials use.

Specific duties will include:

  • Conducting problem-focused research in one of the two core policy-relevant areas (Internet Policy and Cybersecurity or Sustainability, Pollution, and Global Health)
  • Leading policy engagement efforts in the domain, which may include organizing a policy-focused workshop, arranging seminars, engaging with individual stakeholders, or writing policy briefs
  • Contributing to research in technology-policy, focusing on best practices on conducting policy-relevant research across domains
  • Organizing and guiding Master’s students in the Technology and Policy Program in research engagement efforts
  • Collaborating with other entities and researchers across MIT, including the MIT International Policy Laboratory, on research, outreach, and education efforts in the selected area

This will be a one-year appointment beginning on September 1, 2019 or a later mutually agreed upon date, with the possibility of renewal for a second year based upon satisfactory performance.

REQUIREMENTS: Ph.D. (expected or obtained) in an area of relevance to one of the selected core areas/research domains; strong analytical and written communication skills, ability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary environment, and commitment to participating in collaborative TPP/IDSS activities.

In addition to applying online (cover letter and CV), please submit the following documents in .pdf format to :

  • A brief (<2 page) research statement which outlines a potential research project of interest within one of the two focal areas for 2019-2020, describes its policy relevance, and identifies mechanisms and opportunities to involve stakeholders in co-producing research,
  • Two letters of support, one of which can speak specifically to experience with stakeholder communities or policy engagement, and
  • Suggestions for MIT faculty who are doing work that intersects with your research interests and might be potential collaborating mentors.

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