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2022 CJARS Pre-Doctoral Research Assistant Recruitment

Pre-doctoral Research Assistant

**The posting for this position has now closed.**

Job Summary

The Criminal Justice Administrative Records System (CJARS) supports policy-relevant criminal justice research by providing high-quality educational and training experience to our growing team. We are seeking applications for a full-time Pre-doctoral Research Assistant to join our diverse community of researchers.

This position is posted as a term-limited regular staff position at the University of Michigan but is planned, within the framework of our team of rotating scientific experts-in-development, to serve as a Pre-Doctoral Research Assistant with particular focus on data science and statistics, with applications to economics and criminal justice research.  Within this framework, the successful candidate will help us build the next-generation criminal justice data infrastructure that will support evidence-based criminal justice policy-making and administration. The CJARS project is administered through a partnership between the Population Studies Center in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Joining the CJARS team will help you build skills in data management, data analysis, coding, research, and knowledge of the criminal justice system which will prepare you for continued graduate education or a career in research.

The ideal candidate will join CJARS in the summer of 2023.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

Under the direction of the project’s Principal Investigator (PI), the Pre-Doctoral Research Assistant will engage in a number of activities that support the continued development and expansion of the CJARS data infrastructure. CJARS Pre-Doctoral Research Assistants play a primary role in a broad range of data science activities, including:

  • Data management, processing, and harmonization;
  • Interpretation of data that has been collected from criminal justice agencies;
  • Data analysis to support the evaluation of the quality of harmonized records; and
  • Development of data visualizations and other statistical output.

In addition, CJARS Pre-Doctoral Research Assistants may also be involved in other project activities depending upon knowledge in other relevant areas, including:

  • Research: support various research projects and statistical reports by conducting reviews of current research, analyzing data, and writing summaries of research findings.
  • Software Development: develop, maintain, expand, and improve automation of currently existing web scraping infrastructure.

As a part of the CJARS team, you will be involved in efforts to revolutionize the criminal justice data landscape in the United States. This means that the selected candidate will need to possess the following:

  • The ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment with strong organizational skills, exceptional attention to detail, and the ability to exercise sound judgment.
  • Exceptional time management skills with a proven ability to multitask and prioritize to successfully complete projects on tight deadlines with little supervision.

Qualifications and Skills

Required Qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field with 0 to 1 year of relevant professional experience;
  • Proven ability to code using common statistical software programs, such as: Stata, R, SAS, Python, etc.;
  • Must be able to pass a federal background investigation to secure Special Sworn Status with the U.S. Census Bureau.

Desired Qualifications (preferred but not required):

  • Prior experience working in a research environment wrangling large datasets; and
  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of data science, probabilistic matching methods, or U.S. criminal justice research literature.

Additional Information

This is a two-year, term-limited position, ideal for candidates planning to apply to graduate programs in Economics, Public Policy, or other related fields. CJARS is an ideal environment for this because it opens up the cadre of resources available to employees of the Institute for Social Research. As an employee of ISR you will be able to take advantage of training and educational workshops, interact and network with faculty and staff, enroll in classes for credit at UM, and become a part of a diverse research community.

The Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to ground our research in varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning. For more about ISR’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, please click here.

Institute for Social Research job openings are posted for a minimum of fourteen (14) calendar days. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled any time after the minimum posting period has ended.


To Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration of this position.  The cover letter should indicate your starting availability, address your specific interest in the position, and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position. Please include all relevant qualifications in your resume.

Applicants are also required to submit a resume, example code written in one of the languages listed above, and a writing sample. All of your application materials—cover letter, resume, example code, and writing sample—should be combined into a single document and submitted with your application.