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Postdoctoral Associate
Department of Communication in New York City, New York
Date Posted 02/19/2021
Admin-Other Administrative Positions
Employment Type
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position ID:Cornell -Department of Communication -CATLABMGR [#18146, WDR-00024914]
Position Title: 
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Ithaca, New York 14853, United States [map ]
Subject Areas: Communications / Communication Technology , Interpersonal Communication , Media Effects , Strategic Communication
Appl Deadline: (posted 2021/02/16, listed until 2021/04/16)
Position Description:  Apply    

Postdoctoral Associate

Department of Communication

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Cornell University



Do you wonder about the role of technology in society? Do you wish for better evidence and greater public influence on the future of our digital lives?

The Citizens and Technology Lab (CAT Lab), located in Cornell University’s Department of Communication, Ithaca, NY, is seeking a full-time Postdoctoral Associate to serve as Research Manager. In this position, the Postdoctoral Associate will oversee all aspects of our research collaborations with communities and external researchers.

CAT Lab, led by Dr. J. Nathan Matias, envisions a world where digital power is guided by evidence and accountable to the public. We work with communities to study the effects of technology on society and test ideas for social change online in the public interest. To achieve this mission, CAT Lab does industry-independent citizen science. Using open science software developed in-house, we collaborate with communities and movements to discover practical, replicable knowledge that contributes to science and is guided by the people affected by digital power. We practice full-cycle research, where participatory, qualitative research informs the theory and design of our field experiments.

The ideal candidate is someone excited about creating evidence that can make a difference in people's lives, and who has a dual passion for community organizing and scientific rigor. We are seeking a candidate who is curious to learn community perspectives and needs, will work to ensure that research delivers value to communities alongside any scientific contributions, and who can be motivated to complete individual research studies while also advancing long-term organizational processes.

This is a full-time, 12-month academic position. Reappointment for a second year (or even third year) is possible contingent on successful performance, funding, and available work. The target start date is April 1, 2021 (or earlier) but can be delayed if necessary. After three years and contingent on funding and performance, the Postdoctoral Associate will be eligible for promotion to Research Associate.


The Research Manager’s primary responsibility is to manage the overall portfolio of CAT Lab studies, in collaboration with the CAT Lab team. The Research Manager will also have opportunities to develop and lead individual research projects at the intersection of community goals and your own research interests. Responsibilities include:

       (20%) Managing relationships with online communities by developing new relationships, organizing events, and coordinating online conversations with communities on Reddit, Wikipedia, and other online networks

     (60%) Shepherding our concurrent studies through the research pipeline, including:

     Managing organizational processes for deciding what studies to conduct, together with communities and the CAT Lab team

     Coordinating communities, researchers, and the engineering team to develop study designs that bridge community goals and scientific goals

     Managing collaborations with external academic researchers

     Coordinating literature reviews

     Overseeing compliance with university research ethics requirements, legal privacy requirements, and community accountability processes

     Managing the fielding of individual CAT Lab studies (working with the PI, community liaisons, the engineering team, and translators)

     Coordinating the maintenance of study records

     Contributing to data analysis, as relevant

     Organizing report writing and coordinating community debriefings

     Representing community needs and perspectives throughout each project, as CAT Lab's main point of contact to communities

     Contributing to academic publications as relevant

     (20%) Managing research-related organizational processes:

     Creating and maintaining CAT Lab's overall research processes

     Contributing information about the research process to funder reports

     Contributing to research aspects of strategic planning and fundraising, in collaboration with the PI and Deputy Director

     Attend quarterly CAT Lab meetings at Cornell’s Ithaca location and Cornell Tech in New York City




     A Ph.D. in the behavioral sciences or an adjacent discipline (communication, psychology, sociology, information science, political science, education, economics, etc.)

     Familiarity with participatory and/or qualitative approaches to research or other relevant experience in community organizing

     Experience coordinating projects involving multiple stakeholders or organizations

     Familiarity with research in socio-technical contexts such as online platforms

     Strong writing skills

     Basic experience using statistical software for data analysis (We use R and Python, but these are not required.)


     Experience or familiarity with organizational processes used to develop new software or experience in projects that involved new software development

     Experience working in distributed teams from multiple cultures

     Prior experience with online communities or with social movements that organize online


All components of the application must be submitted through Academic Jobs Online: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/18146

For questions, contact Dr. J. Nathan Matias at nathan.matias@cornell.edu. We will begin reviewing applications immediately and continue reviewing until the position is filled. Special consideration will be given to applications received by March 5, 2021.

 Application Materials Required:

     cover letter

     curriculum vitae

     academic writing sample

     technology industry conflict of interest disclosure (example here )

     statement of contribution to diversity, equity, and inclusion

     contact information for three references


Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations.

Employment Assistance: If you require an accommodation for a disability in order to complete an employment application or to participate in the recruiting process, you are encouraged to contact Cornell University's Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity at voice (607) 255-3976, fax (607) 255-7481, or email at owdi@cornell.edu. For general questions about the position or the application process, please contact the Recruiter listed in the job posting. Applicants that do not have internet access are encouraged to visit your local library, or local Department of Labor. You may also visit the office of Workforce Recruitment and Retention Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to use a dedicated workstation to complete an online application. Notice to Applicants: Please read the required Notice to Applicants statement by clicking here. This notice contains important information about applying for a position at Cornell as well as some of your rights and responsibilities as an applicant. EEO Statement: Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.
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