Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Harvard Kennedy School faculty member Justin de Benedictis-Kessner seeks applications for a Postdoctoral Researcher for two years starting in summer 2024. The Postdoctoral Researcher will work on projects related to cities and other local governments in the new Local Politics Lab now being established at the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University with faculty director Justin de Benedictis-Kessner. The candidate will guide research activities on designated projects and give direction on research ideas, hone research questions, design and implement robust research analytic plans, analyze data, interpret results, and review and/or assist in writing academic research papers and writing public-facing research briefs. Projects may include work on elections using the American local elections database, surveys related to local politics and elections, and urban policy. The Postdoctoral Researcher will report to the Local Politics Lab faculty director and contribute to multiple ongoing research projects on local politics and policy, develop new projects in collaboration with the faculty director, and engage in their own independent research projects.


Position Responsibilities

  • Scope new research projects, conceptualize research design, and manage research project activities.
  • Conduct statistical and econometric analysis using R on administrative data sets and/or other incoming data, including cleaning data, conducting analysis, and presenting and visualizing the results in various formats (tables/graphs, etc).
  • Support and coordinate the design and implementation of online surveys.
  • Support research administration, including data use agreements, data safety requirements and IRB protocols.
  • Provide oversight of junior RAs (undergraduate and graduate students).
  • Support the code review process of other team members.


Basic Qualifications

PhD degree by the time of appointment and relevant academic research experience in local politics.


Additional Qualifications

  • Experience supporting the design and implementation of online surveys
  • Experience collecting data via web-scraping
  • Demonstrated experience in quantitative data analysis, including presenting data in various visual formats.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders including faculty, staff, city partners, and other researchers
  • Skill in overseeing multiple diverse academic and research-related activities simultaneously, delivering on commitments, and operating with speed, accuracy, and strong judgment
  • Demonstrated experience with project management and meeting project timelines across multiple projects and communicating with internal and external stakeholders in a productive, professional, and timely manner
  • Strong interpersonal skills and communication skills, including exceptional writing skills
  • Ability to work both independently and as a team member
  • Eagerness and ability to learn new skills quickly on the job
  • Experience working in the public sector, local politics or on public sector challenges.



Please submit a CV; a cover letter describing qualifications, a succinct description of research interests, and fit with the Local Politics Lab; at least one writing sample; and contact information for at least two faculty references who can be contacted by the Lab’s faculty director if needed.


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