Senior Research Specialist, Crime and Justice Policy Lab

Senior Research Specialist, Crime and Justice Policy Lab

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Senior Research Specialist, Crime and Justice Policy Lab

Job Profile Title
Research Specialist D

Job Description Summary
The Senior Research Specialist will serve as key staff on an externally-funded research project covering violence-prevention programs in two California cities—Stockton and Bakersfield. This project is being done in collaboration with the California Partnership for Safe Communities (CPSC) to look at outcomes of CPSC programs in the two cities. This position will also work with the Crime and Justice Policy Lab's Director on projects related to research on preventing gang and gun violence in Boston, Massachusetts.

Job Description

The University of Pennsylvania has the longest continuous program of research and teaching in criminology of any American university, with a rich history, strong traditions, and a distinguished group of alumni. Current faculty are highly regarded as teachers and researchers who represent a range of academic disciplines: psychology, sociology, economics, public policy, law, statistics, and criminology. All are professionally committed to even-handed science in service of the public good.

This position is working in the Crime and Justice Policy Lab (CJP), a research group within the Penn Department of Criminology. The mission of the CJP Lab is to apply rigorous methods of scientific research to improve public safety in disadvantaged communities, centering those communities in the design and execution of policy ideas, and ensuring that research and government policy is being done with communities rather than to communities. The end goal for our work is that citizens in Philadelphia and other major cities are able to enjoy safety and equitable treatment and outcomes in their day-to-day lives.


The Research Specialist will oversee the collection of criminal justice data and other government service data, including police call for service, arrest, incident, and officer data. The Research Specialist will prepare data bases, design statistical models, and execute analyses. Analysis work will be done at a complex level and will involve use of analysis programs including STATA, R, and ArcGIS. Beyond data acquisition, analysis and management, the research specialist will also have to be comfortable building relationships with government partners and working closely with partners in CPSC and in criminal justice agencies.

The Research Specialist will supervise graduate and undergraduate students in the collection of administrative and survey data to support the measurement of outcomes. Other responsibilities include the monitoring of intervention integrity via data analysis and discussions about project goals and progress with government partners, which could include activities such as police ride-alongs. The Research Specialist will also contribute to other projects at Penn as their interests and time allows. For any projects, the Research Specialist will collaborate with the Principal Investigators on the completion of statistical analyses and the writing of technical reports, scholarly journal articles, and policy briefs.


Master's degree in criminology, criminal justice, or closely-related social science discipline with 3 to 5 years of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience is required. PhD in criminology, criminal justice, or closely-related social science disciplines is preferred but not necessary (ABD candidates are welcome to apply). Prior experience in conducting social science research in police department settings and a solid knowledge of official police data systems is required. Strong database and statistical analysis skills are required, including ability to engage in complex analytic work on STATA and R. GIS mapping skills and knowledge of ArcGIS are also required. Demonstrated ability in writing high-quality academic reports and articles is required. This position may require extensive travel as it will involve working on project sites in both California and Massachusetts.

The expected salary for this position is $50,684 to $70,958.

Working Conditions
Office, Library, Computer Room

Physical Effort
Typically sitting at a desk or table

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
School of Arts and Sciences

Pay Range
$50,684.00 - $91,232.00

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of 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.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits

  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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