Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Job description

Illinois: Chicago

13760 Urban Crime Labs

About the Unit
The University of Chicago Crime Lab is a faculty-driven research center that tries to improve social conditions in American cities by partnering closely with local, state and federal government agencies to carry out the highest-quality scientific studies. The Lab is led by Jens Ludwig and Harold Pollack of the University of Chicago, Jonathan Guryan of Northwestern University and Pat Sharkey of New York University, and carries out research projects in collaboration with a national network of leading experts in fields such as economics, public policy, sociology, behavioral science, and computer science. Examples of some of our past projects include: several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of behavioral science interventions to reduce crime and dropout in Chicago (Heller, Shah, Guryan, Ludwig, Mullainathan and Pollack, 2017, Quarterly Journal of Economics), the results of which were cited by the Washington Post as one inspiration for President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative; a RCT of a large-scale summer jobs programs for disadvantaged youth in Chicago (Heller, 2015, Science), which has helped inform Mayor Rahm Emanuel's anti-violence initiatives; and a study that highlights the potential for improving the criminal justice system using machine learning methods, but also the new social science-type challenges that arise in exporting those tools to policy applications (Kleinberg, Lakkaraju, Leskovec, Ludwig and Mullainathan, 2018, Quarterly Journal of Economics), which has led to a partnership with New York City government to build a new citywide system to help judges make bail decisions. We have a full-time staff of nearly 70 in offices located in downtown Chicago (across from city hall) and New York City (also across from city hall), which includes PhD-level research directors, data scientists, and program managers. We are funded by research grants from foundations such as the Arnold, Joyce, MacArthur, McCormick, and Pritzker foundations, federal government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, US Department of Education and US Department of Justice, private individuals, and the University of Chicago itself. Previous Crime Lab projects have been featured in national news outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, PBS News Hour, and National Public Radio. The Crime Lab is part of the University of Chicago's Urban Labs, a set of highly synergistic labs focused on undertaking inquiry and having impact on five areas of urban life: crime, education, health, poverty, and energy & environment ( We also are able to capitalize on the unique intellectual environment of the larger University of Chicago academic community, which has been one of the world's leading research universities since its founding in 1890 by John D. Rockefeller with over 90 former students and faculty having been recipients of the Nobel Prize.

Job Information

Job Summary:

The University of Chicago Crime Lab is seeking a full-time one- or two-year postdoctoral research fellow who has demonstrated research interest in topics related to criminal justice reform. Postdocs will report to Crime Lab Faculty Director Jens Ludwig and are expected to productively carry out self-directed research and contribute to the larger intellectual community of the Crime Lab by, for example, interacting with Crime Lab research staff and senior faculty members at the University of Chicago and elsewhere. There may also be possibilities for interested postdoctoral research fellows to take on leadership roles for selected research projects with government agency partners.

  • This position can be based in either Chicago, IL or New York City.
  • Though the position is relatively new, recent fellows have moved on to tenure-track faculty positions at top-tier research universities such as the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan.

  • Productively carry out self-directed research.
  • Contribute to the larger intellectual community of the Crime Lab by, for example, interacting with Crime Lab research staff and senior faculty members at the University of Chicago and elsewhere.

  • Strategic leadership skills required.
  • Supervisory skills required.
  • Advanced knowledge in relevant scientific field required.
  • Advanced knowledge of research techniques or methods required.
  • Knowledge of regulatory policies and procedures required.
  • Analytical skills required.
  • Problem-solving skills required.
  • Attention to detail required.
  • Organizational skills required.
  • Verbal and written communication skills required.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team required.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office required.
  • Knowledge of content areas – Crime and Education – strongly preferred.

Additional Requirements

Education, Experience or Certifications:

  • Advanced degree required in public policy, economics, criminology, education, statistics, computer science, or other relevant field with substantial policy and research experience.

  • The successful candidate will have expertise in research design, methods, and evaluation of research projects in the area of criminal justice or education policy or related area of social policy and an interest in finding and testing innovative solutions to urban problems. Preference will be given to those who have demonstrated interest in topics related to criminal justice reform, and previous experience working with interdisciplinary research teams and agency and community stakeholders.

Required Documents:
  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • Writing Sample
  • Reference Contact Information

NOTE: When applying, all required documents MUST be uploaded under the Resume/CV section of the application

Benefit Eligibility

Pay Frequency

Pay Range
Depends on Qualifications

Scheduled Weekly Hours


Job is Exempt?

Drug Test Required?

Does this position require incumbent to operate a vehicle on the job?

Health Screen Required?

Posting Date

Remove from Posting On or Before

Posting Statement:

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

Full time

About Us
The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

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Job No:
Posted: 11/22/2018
Application Due: 1/10/2019
Work Type: