Open Position: PDRI Postdoctoral Fellowship


The Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI) at the University of Pennsylvania invites applications for a postdoctoral fellowship during the 2022-2023 academic year. The initial appointment is for one year with the possibility for renewal up to 3 years given joint interest and performance. The expectation for the ideal candidate would be a minimum of two years.

Established in 2020, the Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI) brings together faculty and graduate students from seven schools across campus who have interests in international development, writ large. PDRI seeks to foster inter-disciplinary research by harnessing the extensive experience of its affiliates in both basic social science and program evaluation, drawing upon diverse disciplinary perspectives. Under the directorship of Prof. Guy Grossman (Political Science, School of Arts and Sciences) and Prof. Harsha Thirumurthy (Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine), PDRI serves as a launchpad for pursuing extramurally-funded research that includes, but is not limited to, collaborations with international NGOs, local NGOs, and government agencies while serving as an intellectual community for Penn faculty and graduate students conducting research in developing country settings.

The principal job of the postdoctoral fellow will be to help design and execute new studies, and conduct rigorous quantitative analyses using advanced causal inference methods, and contribute to manuscripts. Studies will be focused on selected topics in international development, especially in governance, migration, and health-related topics, and may include both field experiments as well as secondary data analyses. The postdoctoral fellow will be involved in all aspects of the research, including data analysis and writing (policy reports and academic papers). Additional responsibilities include facilitating regular PDRI seminars and helping to organize annual research convenings. While the majority of the postdoctoral fellow’s time will be dedicated to collaborative projects (about 60-75% of their time), there will also be time set aside for pursuing their own research. The position does not entail any teaching.

Applications are welcomed from social scientists with strong quantitative skills—political science, economics, public policy, computation sociology, and statistics are preferred—and research experience on topics in international development. Applicants must have received their Ph.D. (or equivalent) by summer 2022. The position pays a stipend of $53,760 plus benefits.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Strong understanding of causal inference methods;
  • 1-3 years of experience conducting empirical field research (including supervising data collection and cleaning activities at field sites);
  • Experience designing and implementing data collection instruments;
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills, with the ability to translate complex scientific findings into accessible, non-technical language;
  • Ability to work well with teams, and communicate effectively with colleagues and faculty;
  • Ability to interact with individuals at all levels in a fast-paced environment, with a high level of professionalism and confidentiality;
  • Experience working with decision-makers in multilateral, developing country government, and research institutions to identify promising academic research opportunities a plus

Applications will be reviewed starting January 15, 2022.  To receive full consideration, applications should be received by that date.


  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Research Statement
  3. Writing Sample
  4. List contact information for two Faculty Advisors who can write a Letter of Recommendation upon request

Apply Here

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

PDRI values interdisciplinary research, collaboration, and collegiality; is committed to promoting a culturally diverse intellectual community; and strongly encourages applications from women, minorities, and underrepresented communities. The University of Pennsylvania is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.  Candidates are considered for employment without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class. Questions or concerns about this should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, University of Pennsylvania, 421 Franklin Building, 3451 Walnut Street,  Philadelphia, PA 19104-6205; or (215) 898-6993 (Voice) or (215) 898-7803 (TDD).

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