Career Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in career opportunities with the University of Chicago Urban Labs! Urban Labs has a strong commitment to using science in service of cities to improve the quality of urban life. We regularly seek out passionate, data-oriented, public service minded individuals to join our team.

For more information on Urban Labs' career opportunities, culture and recruiting process, please see the frequently asked question section below.

Current Opportunities

Crime & Education Labs

  • Job Title: Research Assistant - Elementary School Teaching Intervention
  • Desired Start Date: 12.01.2021
  • Requisition Number: JR11321

This study depends crucially on a team of research assistants who will support teachers as they implement the program. Research assistant “coaches” will receive training and meet regularly with members of our research team to discuss ongoing program implementation. They will be responsible for supporting and guiding teachers and their students with incorporating CAL into a weekly routine of reinforcement and mastery. To do this, they will regularly meet and communicate with teachers to discuss goals, preferences, and plans. Coaches will be responsible for monitoring teachers’ weekly progress surveys and student progress using their CAL platform accounts to further support teachers’ effort to implement CAL in their classrooms and increase student time spent on and engagement with the platform. Coaches will also support teachers with drafting parent and student communications about student progress and goals.

  • Job Title: Research Director
  • Desired Start Date: TBC
  • Reporting to: Managing Director
  • Requisition Number: JR13726

The University of Chicago Crime and Education Lab is seeking a full-time Research Director to contribute scientific and intellectual leadership to the organization and our work. The primary role of the Research Director is to direct a portfolio of research projects in association with faculty members and research teams, focused on reducing crime and violence and improving education performance and attainment of other life outcomes for disadvantaged youth in addition to facilitating technical assistance work for government partners and strategic partners. In this role, the Research Director will provide scientific direction on all projects, ensure the rigor and quality of work, manage and mentor research and project staff, and help to set and contribute to organizational priorities. The Research Director will report to the Managing Director and work collaboratively with senior faculty members at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, other research directors, and with partner agencies. The Research Director will contribute to the scientific content of research proposals and will assist the M.D. and other faculty affiliates in supporting fundraising, dissemination, and policymaker outreach activities. The Research Director will also contribute to strategic conversations about which new projects and initiatives the Crime Lab and Education Lab should take on. Career advancement for research directors usually takes one of two paths increasingly ambitious project portfolios and leadership roles within the Crime Lab and Education Lab, or a faculty position elsewhere previous research directors have taken tenure track positions at institutions like Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Maryland.

About our Machine Learning Portfolio

The success of machine learning in the commercial sector raises the promising idea that the combination of machine learning and large administrative datasets can lead to similar benefits in the public sector. At the same time, machine learning is fundamentally different than the causal inference questions that have been the mainstay of empirical policy research, resulting in hesitation and uncertainty about how and when to use these new techniques. This uncertainty is compounded by concerns that use of historical data will result in tools that will perpetuate biases and aggravate problems, rather than solve them. The goal of both the Crime Lab and the Education Lab is to identify problems where machine learning can provide a significant social benefit1, and to solve the resulting conceptual challenges associated with the creation, evaluation, and deployment of predictive models. We believe that proper and judicious application of machine learning can yield the benefits of these techniques while mitigating harms, but that doing so will require careful thinking and new research at the intersection of computer science and the social sciences. We are particularly interested in novel approaches to prediction and evaluation in the presence of biased and censored data2, and in approaches to optimally combining the prediction from a machine learning algorithm with the expertise and private information of a human decision-maker.

Crime Lab offers a unique opportunity to work on these conceptual challenges in the context of problems faced by policy makers every day. We work with our partners to develop a project all the way from the basic research question to implementation and ultimate evaluation. Through this work, we hope to contribute to the development of best practices on how to effectively and responsibly implement predictive tools in public policy.

  • Job Title: Project Associate
  • Desired Start Date: 09.01.2021
  • Reporting to: Senior Research Manager
  • Requisition Number: JR12477

The University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab is seeking a Project Associate with strong project management skills. This position requires an individual who is able to work as part of small research teams running multiple projects concurrently. The position offers the opportunity to work directly with leading social policy researchers at the University of Chicago and government agency staff, as well as an experienced team of analysts, data scientists, administrative staff, and project managers.

  • Job Title: Research Director
  • Desired Start Date: TBC
  • Reporting to: Managing Director
  • Requisition Number: JR13592

The University of Chicago Crime and Education Lab is seeking a full-time Research Director to contribute scientific and intellectual leadership to the organization and our work. The primary role of the Research Director is to direct a portfolio of research projects in association with faculty members and research teams, focused on reducing crime and violence and improving education performance and attainment of other life outcomes for disadvantaged youth in addition to facilitating technical assistance work for government partners and strategic partners. In this role, the Research Director will provide scientific direction on all projects, ensure the rigor and quality of work, manage and mentor research and project staff, and help to set and contribute to organizational priorities. The Research Director will report to the Managing Director and work collaboratively with senior faculty members at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, other research directors, and with partner agencies. The Research Director will contribute to the scientific content of research proposals and will assist the M.D. and other faculty affiliates in supporting fundraising, dissemination, and policymaker outreach activities. The Research Director will also contribute to strategic conversations about which new projects and initiatives the Crime Lab and Education Lab should take on. Career advancement for research directors usually takes one of two paths increasingly ambitious project portfolios and leadership roles within the Crime Lab and Education Lab, or a faculty position elsewhere previous research directors have taken tenure track positions at institutions like Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Maryland.

  • Job Title: Data Acquisitions Manager
  • Desired Start Date: 11.16.2021
  • Reporting to: Director of Data Partnerships
  • Requisition Number: JR12953

The University of Chicago Crime & Education Labs are seeking a Data Acquisitions Manager to support the internal operations related to data acquisitions, management, stewardship and compliance. This person will work with Labs staff in processing data requests for research projects, and with external partners to coordinate communication regarding data sharing agreements. This individual will also be responsible for ongoing documentation and recordkeeping related to data maintained by Urban Labs, and reinforcing policies and procedures.   

  • Job Title: Research Analyst
  • Desired Start Date: TBC
  • Requisition Number: JR13904

The Harris School of Public Policy and Professor Oeindrila are recruiting research analysts with strong technical skills to work on a large-scale behavioral-science informed policing project. The project seeks to evaluate the impact of a new police training, that draws on novel concepts from the frontiers of behavioral science. The goal of the training is to improve officer decision-making in high-stakes situations. The training has been implemented in partnership with the Chicago Police Department. We are evaluating its effects through a randomized control trial that includes several thousand police officers. The evaluation utilizes cutting edge research analytics paired with large-scale, confidential administrative data. Our results will provide direct insight into policy strategies for reducing uses of force and adverse interactions between police officers and community members.

Successful candidates will have foundational skills in statistical modeling, and extensive experience with data analysis and managing large datasets. The Research Analysts will contribute to all facets of data cleaning and analysis, including statistical model development, coding and implementation. Analysts will work closely with Professor Dube and also have opportunities to work with a small research team comprised of behavioral scientists, other analysts and law enforcement officials.

The position is expected to begin immediately, and last for one year, with the possibility of an extension.

  • Job Title: Director of Public Affairs
  • Desired Start Date: TBC
  • Reporting to: Executive Director
  • Requisition Number: JR13784

The Director of Public Affairs works with the Executive Director, Faculty Director, and Leadership Team to identify and implement publicly facing opportunities and initiatives to enhance the impact of the Crime Lab and Education Lab’s work. The Director has primary responsibility for the external positioning of the Crime Lab and Education Lab brands, including having key input on messaging, media relations, and engagement of public, non-profit, and other partners, as well as management and implementation of the public affairs plans for the two Labs. The Director leads and manages the Public Affairs team, including internal staff partially and/or fully dedicated to public affairs and communications work as well as any external resources, and is the primary liaison with Harris School of Public Policy and University of Chicago communications, media relations, and civic engagement teams. The Director of Public Affairs reports to the Executive Director and is a part of the Leadership Team.

Health Lab

  • Job Title: Implementation Manager
  • Desired Start Date: 09.16.2021
  • Requisition Number: JR12799

The University of Chicago Health Lab is seeking an Implementation Manager to work on large-scale social policy research, data science, and program evaluation projects to support the development of effective policy interventions in the domain of 911 and alternative crisis response. The Implementation Manager will work to support a large-scale field-based program evaluation of alternative crisis response work in and around Chicago. This work is part of Health Lab’s larger 911 portfolio of projects, which includes a number of related projects in Chicago and several other cities nationwide.



The Implementation Manager will have the opportunity to manage various stakeholder relationships and contribute to all aspects of research design, methods, and evaluation of research projects. Duties will include travelling to observe field operations and program sites to monitor and assess program implementation, managing and facilitating communication between Health Lab and external stakeholders, managing the project’s data collection process, providing updates and feedback on study progress to internal and external partners, and assisting in drafting a variety of project-related writings. The ideal candidate will be organized and able to execute multiple project workstreams, including setting project timelines and meeting key milestones.



This position requires an individual who is able to work as a part of a small research team simultaneously running a variety of data and research collection endeavors. The position offers the opportunity to work directly with leading social policy researchers at the University of Chicago, partnering research, governmental agencies, community-based organizations, and advocates, as well as a team of administrative staff, project managers, and student research assistants. The Implementation Manager will also collaborate closely with the UChicago Urban Labs' partners in the public and nonprofit sectors.

Responsibilities


  • Manages day-to-day implementation of a large-scale policy research project based in Chicago, including primary and secondary research data collection, while ensuring fidelity to research ethics and study design.

  • Must be available for frequent, in-person site visits to partner sites in Chicago. All COVID-19 precautions will be taken.

  • Ensures that project deliverables are developed in a satisfactory and timely manner.

  • Manages multiple project aims simultaneously and meets tight deadlines.

  • Contributes to research design and coordinates implementation with program partners and collaborators in the public and nonprofit sectors.

  • Oversees quality control of data collection, including developing and maintaining the study’s research and dissemination processes.

  • Coordinates project development and deliverables among all internal and external partners.

  • Prepares IRB proposals, writing grant proposals and grant progress reports, and obtains research permission and data use agreements as needed.

  • Performs literature reviews and assists in writing, proofreading, and fact-checking academic papers, reports, and presentations.

  • Prepares research summaries for memos, spreadsheets, and presentations targeting both technical and non-technical audiences, including policymakers, academic researchers, and other stakeholders.

  • Facilitates integration of community feedback into research process and generated products.

  • Applies research principles and relevant subject matter knowledge relevant to administer a research project. With a moderate level of direction, manages lab and/or research-related duties and tasks. Helps develop, design and conduct research projects according to plan.

  • Supports data collection and analytical needs of research projects. Conducts literature reviews and helps write reports and manuscripts. Ensures project compliance with different policies, procedures, directives, and mandates.

  • Takes responsibility for the following non-laboratory duties: transcribing and coding data; developing data collection instruments; presenting research; and recruiting and scheduling research subjects. Acquires higher-level skills and knowledge in the process.

  • Supervised other staff as needed.

  • Performs other related work as needed.



Minimum Qualifications

Education:

Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

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Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

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Certifications:

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Preferred Qualifications

Education:


  • Master's degree in criminal justice, economics, sociology, public health, public policy or another relevant field.

  • Will consider applicants with equivalent lived experience.


Experience:


  • Experience gained in school counts towards requirement.

  • Managing complex projects with numerous stakeholders.

  • Experience working with large and complex datasets.

  • Experience in qualitative research and analysis.

  • Collecting and managing qualitative and quantitative datasets.

  • Working on field experiments and/or randomized controlled trials.

  • Working with law enforcement, public health, or in emergency response.

  • Coursework in policy analysis.

Preferred Competencies


  • Strong interest in social policy.

  • Previous program management experience including demonstrated success navigating various stakeholder interests to produce a common goal.

  • Demonstrated capacity to work independently in an organized, detailed manner, while maintaining a collaborative team environment. Self-starter with ability to take initiative to move projects forward.

  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and the ability to develop and maintain positive relationships with a broad array of partners.

  • Strong time management skills with a proven ability to multitask and to prioritize activities to successfully complete projects on tight deadlines with little supervision.

  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.

  • Demonstrated ability to exercise sound judgment.

  • Knowledge and understanding of urban policy, social policy, criminal justice policy, and 911/ crisis response.

Working Conditions


  • This role will be both outdoors and indoors. The role will require travel to partner sites and field observations. Some of the work will also be performed on phone, Zoom, email, and other digital formats.

  • Requires the ability to work independently and virtually with teams for periods of eight (8) hours or more.

Application Documents


  • Resume (required)

  • Cover letter (required)

  • Writing sample (required)

  • Transcript (preferred)

Inclusive Economy Lab

  • Job Title: Project Manager
  • Desired Start Date: TBC
  • Requisition Number: JR12020

The UChicago Inclusive Economy Lab is seeking a Project Manager to support large-scale social policy experiments designed to test the effectiveness of poverty interventions. The position offers the opportunity to work directly with leading social policy researchers at the University of Chicago, as well as a team of administrative staff, other project managers, research analysts, and student research assistants. The Project Manager will also collaborate closely with the UChicago Inclusive Economy Lab’s partners in the public and nonprofit sectors.

  • Job Title: Project Associate
  • Desired Start Date: TBC
  • Requisition Number: JR10956

The University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab is seeking a Project Associate with strong technical skills to support large-scale social policy research projects. This person will work on a portfolio of projects studying the effectiveness of various kinds of income supports. This position requires an individual who is able to work as part of a small research teams running multiple projects concurrently while working directly with leading social policy researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Illinois, as well as an experienced team of data scientists, administrative staff, and project managers.

  • Job Title: Research Analyst
  • Desired Start Date: TBC
  • Requisition Number: JR11525

The Research Analyst performs analysis assignments related to scientific research projects. This role informs experimental designs and descriptive analyses for partners, carrying out analysis steps as specified by the Principal Investigator in conjunction with more senior analyst staff. This role is also responsible for managing intern staff in select analyses ,supports the creation of reporting materials, including producing data visualizations, drafting language for reports, papers, and presentations for partners or academic publications.

  • Job Title: Communications Manager
  • Desired Start Date: 10.28.2021
  • Requisition Number: JR13516

The Communications Manager will play a key role with the Inclusive Economy Lab to manage and develop an internal and external communications strategy for the organization. The position reports to and works closely with the Executive Director driving communications efforts cross-departmentally.

The Communications Manager will be responsible for all digital content creation, management of the editorial/communications calendar, and managing the organization’s Social Media presence. The successful candidate must be able to communicate effectively with a diverse range of stakeholders.

  • Job Title: Research Associate
  • Desired Start Date: 07.01.2022

Our Focus

Founded in 2015, The University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab (formerly the Poverty Lab) conducts rigorous research that expands economic opportunity for those harmed by discrimination, disinvestment, and segregation. We partner with policymakers, community-based organizations and others to identify their most urgent and pressing challenges, co-generate evidence about what works, and translate findings into policy changes that end intergenerational poverty. One of five Urban Labs based at the Harris School of Public Policy, the Inclusive Economy Lab is led by Pritzker Director Marianne Bertrand, the Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics in the Booth School of Business.

The Inclusive Economy Lab studies programs and policies that aim to expand economic opportunity in order to understand how well they work. By identifying barriers to social mobility and racial equity and highlighting the programs and policies that have the most positive impact, our work creates greater economic opportunity in cities. We specialize in evaluating programs with the potential to improve lives in four main areas:


  • College and Career Success

  • Housing Stability

  • Financial Security

  • Quality Jobs

Our Values

Conduct science in service of citiesWe feel a sense of urgency to do research that improves people’s lives. We select projects that lead to solutions for policy, practice, and increased investments on the ground.  Our research is rigorous and informed by the historic and current contexts that shape urban residents’ lives.

Foster lasting relationshipsWe collaborate with policymakers, practitioners, and people with lived experience to understand multiple perspectives and figure out what works.

Elevate equity & inclusionWe aim to hire people with a range of personal and professional backgrounds, skillsets, and identities. We expand access to evaluation for a broad range of organizations and we conduct work that affirms the dignity of all people. 

Check our privilegeWe recognize the power and privilege we have as members of the University of Chicago. We practice humility and recognize that expertise comes in many forms and there are limits to our own. 

Embrace a growth mindsetWe invest in our people and develop our skills and content knowledge together. We work respectfully as a team to achieve our shared goals

The Role

The Harris School of Public Policy is seeking a full-time Research Associate to provide scientific and intellectual leadership for the University of Chicago’s Inclusive Economy Lab. The Research Associate, in partnership with senior faculty members at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, will build and provide scientific direction for a portfolio of applied research projects in one of the following areas: housing stability, financial security, or quality jobs. This is a non-tenure track position. There are no teaching responsibilities. The appointment will be for an initial three-year, renewable appointment.  The anticipated start date for the position will be July 1, 2022.

Responsibilities:


  • Develop and direct a portfolio of applied research projects focused on housing stability, financial security, or quality jobs.

  • Manage and mentor research and project staff, providing scientific direction and ensuring the rigor and quality of all work.

  • Contribute to strategic conversations about which new projects and initiatives the Inclusive Economy Lab should take on.

  • Work collaboratively with practitioners and policy makers to develop and implement applied research projects.

  • Contribute to the scientific content of research proposals.

  • Disseminate research findings to both research and practitioner/policy maker audiences.

  • Serve as a member of the Inclusive Economy Lab’s leadership team.

Education, Experience, and Certifications:


  • Applicants must have a Ph.D. in public policy, economics, statistics, computer science, or other relevant field.

  • At least two years of experience leading applied research projects.

  • Preference will be given to those with proven experience working with interdisciplinary research teams and agency and community stakeholders.

  • Expertise in all aspects of the research design, methods, and evaluation of research projects in the area of labor economics/social policy required.

  • Expertise in machine learning preferred.

  • Interest in finding and testing innovative solutions to social problems.

  • Content expertise in housing stability, financial security, or quality jobs required.


  • Ability to engage thoughtfully with issues related to race, identity, and equity and work across difference required.

  • Demonstrated experience working with communities that have experienced segregation and disinvestment preferred.


  • First generation college students and those with lived experience in communities experiencing poverty and disinvestment are encouraged to apply.

Required Documents:


  • CV/resume

  • Cover letter

  • Writing sample

  • Research statement

  • Contact information for 3 references 

To apply for this position, candidates must submit their application and required materials through the University of Chicago's Interfolio academic job board at: apply.interfolio.com/99380. Review of applications will begin on December 22, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled.

FAQs

For our three most common research roles--Project Associate, Research Manager, and Research Analyst--please refer to the responsibilities outlined below:

  • Project Associates support large-scale social policy research projects designed to test the effectiveness of promising interventions by supporting a Research Manager or Research Analyst.
  • Research Managers work directly with leading social science researchers, local policymakers, frontline practitioners, and a dedicated team of research analysts, data scientists, and administrative staff to implement ambitious field experiments.
  • Research Analysts apply a variety of statistical modeling and data techniques to datasets in real-world settings, and contribute to all facets of data collection & cleaning, model development, analysis, and interpretation of results.

Urban Labs also hires for other positions in research, IT, and operations. We encourage you to view opportunities below.

You may be asked to submit multiple documents, including a Cover Letter, Writing Sample, and Unofficial Transcripts from the highest degree program received. Please see the job description for the exact documents required for that job. All materials should be submitted to the Workday system. Refer to the job requisition number on the job description to apply to the correct position.

All of our positions require a cover letter. In the cover letter, we encourage you to elaborate on your relevant achievements and describe your interest in the position.

We appreciate your interest in Urban Labs and look forward to reviewing your application. Due to the high-volume of applications that we receive, although we try, we may not be able to respond to all individual inquires.

Urban Labs employees are committed to creating a collaborative, high energy office that is open and welcoming to individuals of all backgrounds and life experiences, and prioritize developing a workforce that is as diverse as the city in which we work.

While we are affiliated with the University of Chicago, we are not located in Hyde Park. We have an office in downtown Chicago, which allows us to work more closely with our public sector partners.

In addition, Urban Labs also has an office in New York City that focuses on Crime and Education work. The New York Office works in close collaboration with the Crime and Education Labs in Chicago.

Urban Labs is a set of highly collaborative Labs and as such, we all work together towards a common mission of science in service of cities.

If you have questions about the Workday Application System, click here.

If you have specific questions that were not answered in our above frequently asked questions section, please contact us at urbanlabs@uchicago.edu Thanks!

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