Postdoctoral Associate

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The Minnesota Population Center (MPC, www.pop.umn.edu ) is seeking a post-doctoral associate with interest and expertise in the long-term impact of education on later-life cognitive functioning and impairment. The post-doctoral associate will assist in designing and implementing data collection protocols for a national panel study currently focused on cognitive functioning impairment; monitoring data quality; and collaborating to produce new research on the relationship between education and cognitive functioning and impairment at midlife across diverse sub-populations in the United States.

The project on which the post-doctoral associate would work brings together an interdisciplinary team of leading neurologists, neuropsychologists, sociologists, education scientists, and survey methodologists who will design protocols to re-contact all ≈25,500 surviving members the High School & Beyond (HSB) cohort—a nationally representative random sample of Americans first interviewed in high school in 1980—and use the resulting data to conduct transformative analyses of the effects of education on cognitive function and risk for cognitive impairment at midlife. The project has four main goals:
  • Estimate the effects of (a) adolescent cognitive and non-cognitive skills, (b) secondary school course taking and college field of study, and (c) other school structures and social environments on cognitive functioning at midlife;
  • Assess the degree to which racial/ethnic differences in those aspects of education explain racial/ethnic disparities in midlife cognitive functioning;
  • Assess the economic and occupational mediators of the relationship between education and midlife cognitive functioning; and
  • Assess the degree to which race/ethnicity and genetic risk factors moderate the effects of education on midlife cognitive functioning.

  • To gather the data required to pursue these goals, the project will conduct an internet/phone survey and gather genetic material via a mail-back saliva kit.

    The ideal candidate for this position will have background in cognitive aging, neuropsychology, social epidemiology, and/or survey research methods and will have interests in disparities in cognitive and health outcomes. The successful candidate will report to project director Dr. John Robert (“Rob”) Warren, who is Director of MPC and Professor of Sociology.

    Housed in the University of Minnesota's Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation (ISRDI), the MPC is a hub for interdisciplinary population research. Its members include more than 100 faculty, research staff, and student affiliates from two dozen academic units across ten colleges in the University. Established in 2000 and funded by NIH, MPC cultivates innovative population research by providing a stimulating environment for interdisciplinary exchange, a vibrant and growing population training program, and generous research support services designed to develop and nurture promising areas of new population research. Research and training at the MPC are characterized by a focus on four core substantive areas: population health and health systems; population mobility and spatial demography; reproductive and sexual health; and work, family, and time.

    RESPONSIBILITIES

    The post-doctoral associate will assist Dr. Warren and his colleagues in refining the fieldwork protocols; developing survey instruments; coordinating work across the research team; and monitoring data quality in the pre-test and production phases of fieldwork. Once preliminary and then final data are in hand, the post-doctoral associate will assist Dr. Warren and his colleagues in accomplishing the analytic goals outlined above and producing scholarly publications collaboratively with the research team.

    At MPC, the post-doctoral associate will be embedded within a rich intellectual environment; will receive formal and informal professional development opportunities; and will be mentored to facilitate a transition to an independent research career by developing analytic, writing, and other research skills.

    This post-doctoral appointment is for one year with possible renewal (contingent on satisfactory performance and continued funding) for additional year(s).

    QUALIFICATIONS

    Qualifications include 1) a doctoral degree in social epidemiology, neuropsychology, or a related and relevant field; 2) research expertise and interests related to the early life (e.g., economic, educational) factors that impact cognitive functioning and impairment later in life; 3) strong quantitative analysis skills and expertise in statistical software (e.g., Stata, R); 4) excellent data management skills; 5) strong verbal and written skills in English; 6) experience fostering an inclusive environment and appreciation of differences in the workplace.

    APPLICATION PROCEDURE

    Please apply using the University of Minnesota’s online employment system humanresources.umn.edu/jobs and search job opening ID 328561 or follow this direct link: https://hr.myu.umn.edu/jobs/ext/328561 . Application requirements include a curriculum vitae, names and addresses of three references, a writing sample (e.g. a first-authored article), and a cover letter describing expertise and qualifications, research interests, and career plans. Please include in the cover letter when you are available to start and clearly describe your expertise and experience related to this project. The position will remain open until filled. Questions concerning the application process may be addressed to Mia Riza, HR Generalist, at isrdi-jobs@umn.edu.

    **Priority review of applications will begin February 22, 2019.**

    Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.