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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Postdoctoral Research Fellow position at the UM School of Information

Postdoctoral Associate

University of Michigan School of Information

Salary: $50,500 per year, plus a complete and highly competitive benefits package

Term: One year renewable pending funding

Frequent travel: Up to 4-5 weeks per year in total will be required

Position Description

The postdoctoral associate will assist a 3.5-year research project entitled "Scaling Up: Introducing Commodity Governance into Community Earth Science Models." The goal of the project is to understand and promote well-functioning sociotechnical infrastructure for governance of community Earth system models (climate models). The project team includes a mix of social scientists, software developers, and Earth system scientists from the University of Michigan, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (Princeton), and the University of Colorado at Boulder. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Working with School of Information professors Paul Edwards and Mark Ackerman as well as independently, the postdoctoral associate will first conduct a sociotechnical analysis of existing governance practices within the target modeling projects. This includes (but is not limited to) interviews with and surveys of project members regarding governance structures; observation of project activities, including on-site visits; review of historical documents and events; and analysis of modeling work in theoretical context. Methods and theories will be drawn, as appropriate, from computer-supported cooperative work; human-computer interaction; organizational studies; science and technology studies; the history of infrastructure; and ethnography. In the second and third years of the project, as the software developers and climate modelers begin to build and implement prototype governance software, the postdoctoral associate will assist with implementation and evaluation.

The postdoc will be an equal member of the research team. S/he will be expected not only to assist with the research but to lead in recruiting participants, conducting interviews, coding interviews and field notes, and communicating with the rest of the project team. The postdoc will be expected to contribute substantially to publications resulting from the project, including acting as first author on some and as a secondary author on others.

The position will start June 1, 2010, or as soon thereafter as feasible by mutual agreement.


A Ph.D. degree in a relevant field, completed before the agreed start date.

The ideal candidate will be trained in some combination of ethnographic methods, science & technology studies, computer-supported collaborative work, and/or human-computer interaction. Some background in an Earth system science (climatology, oceanography, meteorology, etc.) or another physical science would be helpful, but is not required. Likewise, experience with NVivo or other qualitative data analysis software would be helpful, but is not required.

Professors Edwards and Ackerman will facilitate the postdoc's acquisition of any missing skills through coursework, independent reading, workshops, or individual tutorials.

How to apply

Candidates should submit the following materials electronically to Prof. Paul N. Edwards.

1) A statement of interest describing your relevant background and skills

2) A current curriculum vitae

3) Two publications or other writing samples

Email Prof. Edwards ( a single PDF file containing these documents.

In addition, please request that two reference letters be emailed to Professor Edwards. One of these letters should be from your doctoral advisor. These can also be submitted with the application materials.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.